25 Social Distancing Hacks to Maintain Mental Health
Within a matter of weeks, a global pandemic has turned our world upside. The novel coronavirus has launched us into an uncertain period of social distancing and quarantining. Schools, gyms, movie theaters, and restaurants have closed across the country to lessen the spread of coronavirus. No matter who you are, these new changes have impacted everyone on a personal level.
At the Phoenix Recovery Center, we understand the fear and concern for those already struggling with mental health issues. New governmental guidelines make it difficult to receive the resources and social support you need due to social isolation. Whether you are suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental health illness, staying quarantined inside your house can feel confining and further exacerbate symptoms. Finding ways to relieve stress and connect with others is paramount to staying healthy during quarantine.
Recently, people across the globe have been offering access to free resources such as virtual tours, home workouts, online lectures, and much more. For all those looking for ways to improve or maintain mental health, we have created a list of 25 social distancing hacks to keep busy. Learn what social distancing is, how it’s different from social isolation, and how we can make the most of this time.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is the practice of keeping physical distance between you and other people to stop the spread of a disease. Staying at least 6 feet away from others lowers your chances of contracting illnesses, such as Covid-19. The point of social distancing is to limit the number of large groups coming together and contributing to community spread. This is an effort to help “flatten the curve” to lower pressure on the healthcare systems and keep our communities healthy. If someone has recently been in any area of high-risk, government officials will often ask individuals to self-quarantine to limit physical contact with others for at least 14 days.
Examples of social distancing include:
How is Social Isolation Different from Social Distancing?
Social isolation is an extreme form of social distancing often used to ensure that there is no violation in keeping your distance from others . Social isolation is best thought of as a quarantine in a secluded location for an extended period of time.
For individuals who have received a “stay-at-home” or quarantine order, they might be struggling to find connection amidst complete social isolation. However, thanks to the internet, smartphones, and web cameras, we can stay well connected to our family, friends, and even society.
Furthermore, we can combat complete social isolation by being aware of those in need. We can reach out to those who might be feeling lonely or afraid. Use FaceTime or Skype to stay connected with people on a regular basis such as close family members and friends.
As we provide a list of resources, we hope that these recommendations will help to lessen the impact of social isolation and help you feel a little more connected to the world around you.
1. Take a Tour of Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland
Explore one of Ireland’s top attractions and walk through the Blarney Castle gardens as you take in the beauty of this 600 year old majestic castle.
2. View the Sunset off the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Through a virtual tour, experience the beauty of Moher’s unique sunset views.
3. Experience the National Parks Virtual Tour
Bring the outdoors into your home during quarantine! Observe some of the most beautiful national parks including the picturquse rainforest of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and others on this virtual tour.
4. Observe some of the World’s Most Elegant Theaters
From Palais Garnier to Carnegie Hall, see what it would be like to be sitting and observing the distinguished architecture and design of these classic buildings.
Free high-culture entertainment every night! The Metropolitan Opera will stream a free performance every night that will start at 7:30 p.m. EST.
6. Experience the Magic of Disney through Disney World and Disneyland Virtual Tours
Using Disney’s recent street view upload, walk the pavement of Disney World and Disneyland with Google Maps. Reminisce on the happy memory or get excited for the future adventures to come.
7. Hop on a Virtual Roller Coaster Ride
The Coaster View has recorded various rides from theme parks all over the US. Enjoy classic Disneyland rides or fast pace Six Flags coasters. Whatever your speed, there’s a virtual roller coaster for you.
8. Check Out the Live Streaming of Monterey Bay Aquarium in California
Missing the days at the Aquarium? We have the solution. Watch the live stream of colorful fish or funny penguins from the comfort of your bed or couch. Turn your home into an aquarium by setting up different exhibits on all your devices.
9. Attend the Guggenheim Museum with a Free Virtual Tour
Walk through the museum’s collection of fine art and architecture with Google’s street view features.
10. Travel to the Taj Mahal with Google’s Arts & Culture Section
See high resolution views of New Delhi’s Taj Mahal in India. After you are finishe, jump over to Paris to take a look at the Eiffel Tower.
11. Discover the Hidden Mysteries of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Explore the Smithsonian with a 360 degree view of its exhibits.
12. Enjoy the San Diego Zoo with Live and Archived Videos of the Enclosures
Stream videos of koalas, apes, pandas, penguins, and other creatures from the comfort of your own home.
13. Experience an Interactive Tour of the British Museum in London
Learn about ancient civilizations as you virtually view and interact with exhibits in the British Museum.
14. Stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, London
Use Google’s Street View feature to pace the beautiful groual of the Royal Botanic Garden.
15. Participate in NASA’s Mission Control Simulation
Using NASA’s free Space Center Huston app, learn and explore the mission control center. You can also take some astronaut selfies while you’re at it.
16. Watch Free Streaming Service
Quarantine = time to binge watch your favorite TV show! A number of streaming services are offering free trial periods during this time. Check out the list below.
Sling TV is offering a new “SLING free experience” with free access to a number of channels and programs
Stream Showtime service for 30 days—free of charge
Try Amazon Prime for 30 days with free two-day shipping and full access to the prime video library.
Access Netflix for a month at no cost. Connect with your friends and watch movie together on netflixparty.com
Get 30 days free of Hulu streaming
Stream a month of free service for Sundance Now
For all the basketball fans, NBA League Pass is free until April 22
NFL Game Pass is free until May 31
Disney+ has a 7-day free trial
17. Take a Free Ivy League Course
Quarantine doesn’t have to mean that you stop learning and growing. Take this time to learn more about a subject that interests you. Colleges such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale are offering close to 500 free courses.
18. Read or Listen to your Favorite Books
Escape to new lands with fiction or evaluate your own habit with a good non-fiction book on Audible’s 30-day free trial. This trial provides you with three book titles in your 30 day period.
19. Watch a Course on Best Practices for Remote Working
Losing focus and determination working from home? Linkedin is offering a free 16-video course on setting yourself up for success when working from home.
20. Learn a New Board Game
Board games are a great way to connect with others and exercise your brain. Try out some IOS board games if you are looking for a digital replacement.
Maybe you are not doing much all day, but you may still be building up stress and anxiety from social isolation. Try one of the free meditation apps to connect with yourself and the present moment.
22. Start an Indoor Garden
Check out the different plants that will grow during your time in quarantine. Bring the fresh greens of the outdoors into your home. Gardening is a great way to focus on the simple things of life.
23. Participate in a Home Workout
The gyms are closed and you’re wondering where all your hard earned progress will go during this quarantine. Check out these free resources for sweating at home.
Join on-demand and at home training sessions with the Peloton app. Enjoy a 90-day free trial of yoga class, strength training, toning and more (No bike or equipment necessary)
The Daily Burn is offering a 60-day free trial period with live streaming of classes.
Download the Tone it Up app and get free access now until April 13th. Select from hundred of workouts taught by trainers Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn
24. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
You don’t need to go to a salon to treat yourself. Create a calming oasis, put on a soothing face mask, paint your nails, or take a bubble bath to treat yourself.
25. Write in your Journal
Putting pen to paper is a great exercise for working through anxiety or depression. Take the time to record your thoughts and feelings. Future generations might be interested to read your entries on the 2020 quarantine.