The Importance of Keeping Your Mind Active

April 20, 2020
Where I live, we are starting the fifth week of "sheltering-at-home." In many places in the world, it's been much, much longer.

We have never been sequestered before as a result of a virus. We have had rough flu seasons before, but nothing like this -- something novel. Unknown. Dangerous.

Also confining. Isolating.

This week in Texas, many are relieved that some of the restrictions will be lifted. Although schools have to be closed for the rest of the year, our state parks re-opened so families can have outings, as long as the 6-foot rule is adhered to. And more loosening is coming.

While some are screaming that we need to keep things shut down, I have to disagree. States have to do this based on what is best for their citizens and in regards to where the virus is most prevalent. We need to get the economy going again. People who can go back to work should be able to under more supervised cleanliness and safety. Some people need to go back to work to earn that paycheck to pay the bills.

But more important than the economy, people have to have the ability to begin getting out safely. We are made for community and connection. We are also happiest when productive and mobile.

Much of the sheltering-in-place mandate is going to continue for many areas of the country. Even with some restrictions lifted, we can still stay in a funk. To fight against this, it is necessary to stay physically active, but even as important is to be mindfully active! Even though I get to stay home and already have a daily and weekly schedule, I knew it would be even more important to stick with it while being sequestered. With no group activities or friend gatherings, I realized that I had to keep my mind engaged.

If you are feeling confined and depressed, ask yourself these questions:

Am I sticking to a schedule?
Am I exercising in some way every day?
Am I getting Vitamin D?
Am I drinking enough water?
Am I eating a balanced diet? Am I staying away from junk foods?
Am I doing something creative each day?
Am I doing something educational each day?
Am I taking self-care? Am I staying away from my vices?

Are you getting exercise and Vitamin D?
Take a peaceful walk this week on a local trail.
We have this extra time, whether we wanted it or not. We have time to slow down and do some self-care. Connect with a long-distance friend. Learn a new skill. Work on that entrepreneurial idea. Keeping our mind active -- having a mission -- can help us to stay positive and away from self-pity. As a person with clinical depression, I know that keeping my mind productive is good medicine that suppresses thoughts from traveling to places where it should not.

If you feel as though you haven't kept your mind active enough during this lockdown, you can do a restart today! Why not make a list of at least 10 things that you have wanted to learn or do that you can begin this week?

Here is a sample list:

1. Write a letter to an elderly relative or a long-distance friend.
2. Learn a new social media app or a new feature on one of your current social media apps.
3. Learn a new computer skill: Adobe Photoshop, Excel, etc.
4. Take an online class to learn something new. Try iTunes U or The Great Courses Plus, which offers a free trial.
5. Read a book in a different genre than you usually read.
6. Find a YouTube video that shows you how to fix something in your home that you haven't gotten around to fixing.
7. Start a neighborhood campaign to collect food for your local food bank, or masks to deliver to the elderly.
8. Create a Spotify playlist of your favorite songs from a particular decade.
9.  Go through some old photos, scanning them with a photo scan app on your phone.  Share some with those friends or family members in the pictures.
10.  Join an online Bible study or exercise group.

Notice that I didn't list family activities, but activities for you. Even if you work from home, you need to take time out for yourself. Make use of this extra time, but when life is back to normal, don't give up on your "me time" and your new activity! You may be surprised at what can happen from your lockdown projects or interests.

What items will you add to your Top 10 list for this week? How have you spent your extra time this past month? Share them in the comments!

4 comments:

  1. I actually haven't missed not be able to go out. Hubby is getting lots of yard work and gardening done. I've been busy sewing and reorganizing and of courst lots of baking with our Great granddaughter. I may need to roll to the grocery store with all the cookies I've been eating when our granddaughter allows us back shopping 🤣

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  2. Solid advice! I'm hopeful our Michigan governor will lift some of the more stringent protocols placed on us here. For instance, right now sale of garden seeds and plants, and house paint is forbidden, as is hiring landscape services such as lawn mowing.

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  3. I'm not suffering from locked down as I'm an introvert and retired. I had been busy taking my mother to doctor's appointments as she came down with shingles in early Feb. It's been a long haul so I'm glad to have this down time, not having to go anywhere. You give good advice. I'm taking an online class with Caroline Myss and my husband is taking an online permaculture class. Both at reduced costs - a good thing.
    I'm afraid for your country when the restrictions are lifted. I'm afraid for my relatives living there. Most of them in NYC. Hoping everyone keeping safe.

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  4. I have still been getting out on drives and some very social-distance-off-the-beaten-path places. These help, a lot. I will be watching Texas and some of the other states loosening restrictions to see how things go as far as the spread of Covid19. It is really the only way we can learn how loosening restrictions will actually work.

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