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Welcoming Recreation for All

13 Creative Quarantine Activities to Shift your #StayAtHome Mindset

Photo by Benjamin Combs

A lot of us at home are spending more time on social media, watching Netflix and getting some rest that has been seriously needed for awhile.

While we are all for a little rest & relaxation, we also want to take some time to make sure that we’re all working on taking care of ourselves - especially when it comes to our physical and emotional health.

As we’ve mentioned in our #ShiftWithSocialDistance campaign, we at Shifting Gears are all choosing to see this time as a new beginning. A time to hit the “reset button'', connect more deeply with the world and people around you socially, and to take on life with a new mindset. And, because one of our biggest barriers today is figuring out how to safely get outside or exercise, we want to share some ideas we’ve come up with to help you overcome this barrier of physical distance!

Shifting your mindset can mean a number of things. It can be taking more solo walks at a nearby park, starting a new workout routine with a housemate or reconnecting with friends from your past over the phone or social media. Our favorite part about Shifting with Social Distance is that you get to choose how you are doing it and what barriers you personally want to break down to improve and grow.

So, without further-ado, here are our top 13 Creative Quarantine Activities to feed the mind, body and soul, rather than fan the flame of boredom:

1. Form a virtual “Workout Pod” and keep each other accountable. Gather some friends (virtually, of course), download your favorite running or biking app and start sharing those routes and distances with your “Workout Pod”! Screenshot your results and share them in your group chat with friends in order to hold each other accountable on workout days. (Pro Tip: Some apps like the Nike Run Club app will even allow you to share your route with other friends who also have the app, so you can cheer each other on and watch each other's progress from a safe distance! MapMyRide, a GPS cycling app by Under Armor, allows you to download saved favorite routes and set goals with other friends using the app).

2. Garden with your neighbors! You know, those humans you always wave at when unloading the groceries or mowing the lawn but haven’t really had the chance to fully connect with yet. Whip out the wheelbarrows, mix up a couple cocktails (or crack a couple beers since this is Brewingham) and start exercising that Green Thumb! Exchange tips and tricks with one another and enjoy the start of a new friendship. Just think - your plants will grow up together. Pretty adorable, right? (Pro Tip: Get out the barbecues and start cooking! It’d be like having a neighborhood cookout together… but separate).

3. Form a "Mental Health Pod". Similar to idea #1, but for your mental health! It can be hard if you are living alone or feeling isolated during this time - but, there are ways to combat this. Start a group chat with those friends you feel comfortable and safe around and start sharing! Pick a painting to do together on a video chat, share the progress you’ve been making on a puzzle, bake a traditional family meal and share your recipe with the Pod to see how close others can get their version to yours, etc. Share how these small activities are taking care of you and your mental health on a daily basis and track what brings you the most joy. At the very least, you’re giving your brain a break from scrolling through main social media platforms and finding out what other activities make you happy! (Pro Tip: Virtual Book Clubs are DEFINITELY a thing. Just check out Book Club by Book Movement for a great way to choose books, save the ones you’ve loved, order paperback copies and connect with the rest of your Book Club crew through video conferencing and online discussions. They’ve even got some helpful blogs on how to make Book Club work during this pandemic. And yes, it’s free!).

4. Reconnect with extended family members and long-lost friends. This one is not necessarily an activity that will get you moving (though you could make it one!), but will absolutely help strengthen your mental health by reforming these relationships. You never know - they could even have some awesome ideas for creative quarantine activities to share with you! (Pro Tip: Use apps like Zoom or Google Meet to get all the cousins or entire friend group into one video chat.)

5. Get some “Fitness Challenges” with friends going. Again, the concept of a “Pod” can be used here, but the goal is to challenge your fitness friends to exercises that don’t require a home-gym. Examples include “who can do the most [push-ups/squats/glute bridges/planks/etc.] in 1 day?”. (Pro Tip: Switch it up and do fitness challenges with exercises that do revolve around separate weights, like dumbbell squats and bench presses. Don’t have any weights? No problem! We hear wine bottles weigh almost three pounds each and offer a nice reward at the end of the workout. Winner of the challenge gets to choose the wine of the evening to enjoy!).

6. Virtual Game Night! Get some friends together on those group video chat apps or tell the neighbors to gather round in their yards/balconies (6-foot rule still applies!) and start testing your gaming skills. Examples that work well with this social distancing concept include Balderdash (you can play this game at home using a dictionary rather than the game cards), charades and Pictionary. Get creative with any game your crew is a fan of and make it social-distance approved. We guarantee there’ll be some laughs, and laughing is good for the soul! (Pro Tip: For the virtual games that require you all to see the same screen, have someone “screen share” from a second device within the group video chat so that everyone can see it).

7. Accomplish those projects & goals on your “To-Do” List. Do it on your own or create a “To-Do List Pod” to hold yourself accountable for marking things off that list you’ve been avoiding for some time. Shift your mindset by taking on a new perspective of this crisis. See it as “A gift of time” that allows you to get those things done that aren’t a high enough priority in life’s normal, high-speed pace. Now is a better time than ever to get those projects done and goals accomplished, and it feels SO good to check things off your list! (Pro Tip: It is 100% acceptable to delete your To-Do list if it is filled with things that are currently not an option for you to accomplish. In a way, it might actually feel good to do so. Think of it as a chance to make your next list more exciting and a way to shift your priorities for the future moving forward).

8. Learn something new! Take this extra time at home to learn something new. YouTube a new skill, dust off an old book that’s been buried in your collection, download Duolingo and learn a new language, or pick up that guitar you’ve always wanted to play. Anything you thought looked interesting and exciting enough to learn at one point is now a viable way for you to spend your day! (Pro Tip: Yarn collection permitting, take up the lost art of knitting. Spend time now getting acquainted with simple projects like knitting a scarf or a hat, so you can use it later this year when the weather turns cold!)

9. Have a Virtual Dinner Party. Choose a simple and healthy recipe to prepare with friends & enjoy with a glass of wine (or 10) over video chat. Need we say more? (Pro Tip: Not sure what to make or are working with a limited supply of groceries until your next pickup order? Check out this article by that lists over 80 different recipes you can make with 5 ingredients or less. Talk about a cheap date!).

Article by bon appétit: 89 Recipes With 5 Ingredients or Fewer—Seriously

10. Have a solo picnic or take a solo walk... with a friend! As challenging as it us for us Washingtonians to avoid the mountains (especially when they are calling), it's still entirely possible to have a mini-adventure and to bring a friend along in a socially responsible way - all thanks to modern technology! Pack up that picnic basket & blanket, tuck your headphones into your bag and find a nearby spot that you can plant yourself or stroll to enjoy some fresh air and physical - but definitely not social - distance. Use a video chat app to call up your best bud (presumably doing the same thing) and enjoy a solo picnic or walk - together! (Pro Tip: Make a vague list of snacks to bring and see how each of your best guesses as to what each item was compares to one another's choices! If going on a walk, keep the location of each person's walking route a secret and try to have them guess where you are by showing them visual clues of your surroundings while video chatting.)

11. “Treat Yo Self” with a Spa Day! Pull out that dusty ol’ facemask (but please, check the expiration date on that face mask if it truly is dusty), paint your nails, or get in that bubble bath. Light some scented candles. Turn on the room diffuser with your favorite essential oil. You get the idea. (Pro Tip: Don’t have any essential oils or a diffuser? Make some from scratch! Check out the article about making your own room diffuser from below. DIY lip balms are also a fun activity for the kids to join in on.)

Article by The Spruce: Make Your Own Room Diffuser

12. Have a fashion show. Set up a runway in the living room and take turns walking the catwalk with friends, either in person or over video chat. Come up with categories (e.g. Runway Ready, Beach Attire, Evening Black Tie, etc.). and pick a winner of each! (Pro Tip: Spend some time pre-Fashion Show putting together a group playlist on Spotify or Apple Music that include songs that’ll get you in the groove!)

13. LIVING ROOM LIP SYNC BATTLE. Dance moves highly encouraged, as they are a very solid way to get some physical exercise and release those endorphins. (Pro Tip: If you're needing some practice before the games begin, try out the Dubsmash app. You and your opponent are guaranteed to have a laugh!)

However you decide to spend time quarantining at home, we hope it is full of self-care, love and growth, and that you come out of all of this feeling ready to take on whatever new barriers life brings our way!

Take care and keep “Shifting those Mindsets”, friends!