Across the U.S., people have been ordered to “Stay at Home” or “Shelter in Place” for their own safety and the safety of our communities. For many, our routine outlets for stress relief and entertainment are unavailable: nail salons, libraries, coffee shops, gyms, and restaurants are not an option. Thankfully, as we combine technology with creativity we find there are a number of low-cost alternatives to help reduce stress and maintain “normal” during this abnormal time.
Keep in Touch: Communicating with others can be a great way to relieve stress and stay connected. Video-conferencing tools such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Webex, Facebook video chat, Facetime, and Zoom all provide a way for adults to check-in with friends, family, and co-workers remotely. Most of these services are available for free to in-home (non-business) users. While It may seem that when you don’t leave the house, there is little to say, this is a great time to share the small things.
Since our office began working from home three weeks ago, our staff has had virtual happy hours and brunches, and online coffee meetings with colleagues. By saving the time required to get to these events and the associated costs, we may have had more “contact” with friends and family since we began our social distancing.
Many people are even visiting their friends and family in virtual worlds to play games like Animal Crossing and Settlers of Catan. You can even play card games and Pictionary online for free with a group of friends to keep weekly game nights alive.
It is no secret that staying at home can be isolating. Meditation apps such as Simple Habit and Headspace provide an opportunity for a moment of mindfulness and both have offerings that are available at no or low cost so you can see if these apps are for you. Just five minutes a day of mindful breathing can reduce stress, increase focus, and improve sleeping habits.
If meditation isn’t your thing, there are apps to keep track of your wellbeing and health goals. The Streaks app is a to-do list that helps you track and keep up good habits such as brushing your teeth, taking your vitamins, or drinking water. Reflectly is a journaling app that tracks your mood and daily reflections. Peloton is offering free access to their fitness app, no bike or treadmill required, for 90 days! Most smartphones have native applications to track your steps and activity level that are already available to you. Last weekend, I tracked my steps while cleaning and sanitizing my house – 7,861 steps.
For a more creative way to manage stress and anxiety, apps such as Colorfy or Recolor allow users to create beautiful designs and even share them in an online forum. You could even pass the time by learning a new language using Duolingo.
Listening to music or podcasts is another fun way to relax your mind. There are a variety of free streaming apps including Castbox, Spotify, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, and TuneIn. Several music artists have had to cancel their concerts due to the restrictions created by the coronavirus. Thankfully, many have partnered with Global Citizen as part of their “Together at Home” concert series. Artists such as John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes have been live-streaming concerts on their Instagram accounts. On April 18th, Global Citizen, with the help of Lady Gaga, will orchestrate an event to benefit healthcare workers. This event will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert along with appearances by several celebrities such as Billie Eilish, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, and Edris Elba. We have enjoyed concerts from Red Rocks on YouTube and living room dance parties with DNice – Club Quarantine on Instagram.
We are lucky to live during a time when technology can keep us connected to those we love and safe, while also giving us a much-needed and low-cost break from reality. Like most people, we are working to make the best of a truly unique situation and we will continue to share additional information, both practical and legal, as it becomes available to us.
Stay home, if you are able. We are doing our part to help keep our community safe by working from home.
During this uncertain time, please remember that we are continuing to serve our clients by offering virtual meetings, mediations, and consultations from our satellite offices – at home. Like you, we are working to maintain normal during this abnormal time.