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Suggested Activities while practicing

social distancing

There are lots of things you can do to remain active and connected while practicing social distancing! Have a look here for some ideas about ways to practice gratitude, things to do outside the house, ways to connect with others, pleasant activities to do at home, ways to build mastery and a sense of accomplishment at home, and ideas for avoiding emotional triggers. 

One of the things we think is *most important* during this time is to find things to be grateful for each day – to notice something that brought you a sense of peace, connection, calm, or relief. It's important to take these things in and use them to help you be a bit more resilient. Having gratitude doesn't mean that you are all of a sudden not stressed or that your anxiety is unwarranted - it's just a way to remind yourself that some things ARE good or least ok, even with all the difficulties. Here are some examples of things the TAP clinicians have noted as points of gratitude over the last several months:

  • Getting to spend time with family

  • Noticing the goodness in people who are doing what they can to help others

  • Watching some of the incredible acts of community and connection that have emerged from the the Roedean School's rendition of Hallelujah. Wow!!!

  • Feeling grateful that the grocery store employees keep going to work

  • Feeling a sense of awe and wonder for the heroes on the healthcare front lines who are sacrificing so much

  • Not having a commute

  • Having more time to exercise

  • Getting to wear PJ pants during telehealth sessions! 😊

  • Getting to hang out with my dog during the day (but I’ve also learned how lazy the dog is!)

  • Worrying less about certain things – priorities have become clearer

  • Doing other things with my non-work time than looking at social media. After 8-10 hours staring at a screen during the work day, that’s the last thing I want to do after hours! I’m reading more and getting tasks done around my house that have been on my “to do” list for ages.

  • I’ve talked to some friends I haven’t made time to connect with in a while

  • Realizing how much I appreciate my colleagues – even if it means only seeing each other for five minutes between appointments

  • I’m working from home and juggling child care with other family members who are also working from home. I’ve had to find ways to concentrate to get things done with all the distractions. I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy listening to music while I write or do other tasks, and I’ve discovered some great Pandora stations!

  • This has all forced me to think creatively, to stretch my limits, to find another gear.

  • My family has discovered new and old board games

  • Thankful for open spaces and being able to go outside

  • My dog and cat…they are good for distraction and self-soothing!

  • I have really enjoyed spending time with my husband, who is even goofier than I realized

  • Grateful to live near fabulous healthcare systems and to know people who work in or are working toward working in the healthcare system

  • Increased gratitude for small businesses that build our community

  • Connecting with our community in new ways: family FaceTimes, talking with friends via Zoom, talking with our neighbors out on the porch, neighborhood morning bootcamp

  • Watching my daughter experience new foods and experience the world around her

  • Increased connection with friends and family by talking about anxieties 

  • Intentionally finding joyful moments each day

  • Laundry is not piling up!

  • Increased likelihood that my husband and I will witness our daughter's first steps!

  • More time to cook

  • More time for arts and crafts

  • Trying new activities virtually (e.g., virtual dinner parties!)


Ideas for things to do outside of the house (guidelines on this could change at any time, so stay up to date on your local guidelines!)

  • Have a picnic outside

  • Go for a walk in your neighborhood or on a trail that is still open

  • Pick up food from a drive through

  • Go for a bike ride

  • Do an outside home improvement project – plant flowers, mow the grass, clean off your porch

  • Watch a sunrise or sunset

  • Camp in the backyard

  • Go for a drive…maybe with the windows down, maybe with the music up loud…

  • Sing out the windows with your neighbors

    • Find some inspiration here

Ideas for connecting to others…social distancing guidelines may apply!

  • Online party with friends on FaceTime, Skype, etc. Watch a movie, cook a meal together, play a board game. Try Jackbox games for something new!

  • Do yoga with a friend outside

  • Picnic outside with family or friends

  • Contact a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while

  • Find creative ways to provide practical or emotional support to others…volunteer, pick up groceries for a neighbor, donate to the local food pantry, help kids who depend on school lunches

  • Mindfully spend time with pets – go on a walk, give them a bath or massage

  • Play socially connected online video games

  • Reddit

  • Support your local businesses – get takeout, order something online, buy a gift card, send a note of thanks to the people you interact with regularly whose businesses may have suffered during the pandemic (e.g., your hairdresser or barber, coffee shop owner, servers)

  • Use social media if it serves you well

  • Use to watch a Netflix show with friends or family

  • Bake something for a friend or neighbor and leave it on their doorstep

  • Write postcards or letters to friends


Ideas for pleasant things to do at home

  • Read GOOD NEWS!

  • Take a virtual tour of a museum

  • Attend an online concert on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube…

  • Read a book

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation; consider getting a membership to something like Headspace or 10% Happier.

  • Listen to music

  • Play music

  • Do puzzles

  • Do art

  • Learn a new hobby, or practice an old hobby

  • Watch a makeup or cooking tutorial (youtube has scads of them!)

  • Make a new recipe

  • Use Duolingo or another app to learn a new language

  • Camp indoors – build a fort, or sleep in a sleeping bag in your living room

  • Paint a room or wall a new color

  • Dye your hair

  • Adult coloring books!      

  • Peruse Pinterest

  • Watch DBT videos on Youtube

  • Watch TED talks


Ideas for building a sense of mastery and accomplishment at home

  • Create a schedule for yourself (or for your kids!) to keep you partially on target for when life gets back to pre-COVID functioning

  • Clean out a closet or drawer

  • Organize that area of your home that you keep meaning to organize

  • Find things in your house to donate

  • Create a different emotion than whatever you are feeling by watching a video, show, or movie that makes you feel something different than whatever you are feeling now

  • Rearrange the furniture

  • Work on photo albums (digital or real life), baby books, etc.

  • Paint a piece of furniture

  • Clean out the garage

  • Wash your car   

  • Stretch – work on your flexibility!


Ideas for managing emotional triggers

  • Delete apps on your phone that tend to cause distress (e.g., news apps, social media)

  • Temporarily hide friends on social media who post things that you find distressing or triggering

  • Only check the news 1-2 times per day. Limit the number of minutes you spend reading the news. Be very thoughtful about the news sources you choose.

  • Talk about things other than COVID with your friends or family. You may need to tell people you are actively working on talking about things other than the pandemic.

  • Turn off news alerts on your phone

  • Take breaks from technology altogether!

Cultivating gratitude
Things to do outside
Connecting with others
Pleasant activities at home
Building mastery
Managing triggers
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