More Activities You Can Do at Home and Relieve Stress
Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services
By now you may be settling into a routine.
However, here are some ideas to spice things up:
Cook or make meals together.
Depending on how old your children are, you can give them more or less control over their role in preparing a meal. Older teens and college age kids could be in charge of selecting and preparing an entire meal, while little ones may just want to work on a side or helping out. With more time together as a family, include the kids in the creativity of making a family meal with the supplies you have on hand.
Check out the flowers.
Spring is busting out all over. Perhaps you have flowers in your yard, neighborhood, or a nearby trail. Take a walk and see how many different colors you can notice. Examine the flowers and count the numbers of petals. Notice the pattern of the leaves on the plant. Remember not to pick flowers from other people’s yards or from parks – but you can take pictures and make observations! Have a drawing contest if your children are budding artists.
Check out the Cornell Ornithology offerings to learn more about the birds you and your children see commonly. You can still get birdseed at the store or with curbside pick up at birding stores locally. This is a great time to learn more about our local birds and how to support them.
Do an act of service.
Helping out feels good, even when we have to maintain a physical distance. Kids may enjoy creating and sending cards by mail or digitally. As a family you could research a local organization to support and provide either food, supplies, or money to support them.
We’re all trying to focus on what to do next, and especially how to keep the kids feeling safe and connected. But the reality is, all this change creates grief as we miss people, places, and things that were part of our daily routines only a few weeks before. And it’s ok to feel sad and uncomfortable right now, and to feel angry or frustrated if plans we were counting on have to be postponed. Check in with your family and see what they are sad about. Regardless of how big or small the things may seem to you, encourage kids to write or draw about them. As a family you may want to light a candle, share the things you are sad about, and then burn or in some other way send off the notes or drawings. It can also be helpful for children to know that their parents are sad about some things too, even while you are modeling for them how to cope and adapt to change.
Learn a new language.
Or continue to study an old one. Between language learning apps and streaming movies appropriate for all ages, you and your family could explore a language and a culture you’ve always been curious about, but not had time to explore before.
Plan your next vacation.
This is going to end some day, and you all need something to look forward to. Each person can come up with a vacation idea and propose it – or perhaps as a family you would like to pick one place and then work together to come up with ideas for activities. With all the virtual tours available at museums zoos and aquariums right now, you could start exploring now.
Write your bucket lists.
Just like planning a trip, thinking about the things you want to do or see in the future can be helpful right now. Younger kids may have a hard time with this, but it’s fine for them to dream and share what matters to them at this time.
Connect with a faith community and/or practice mindfulness.
Most faith communities have online services and other meetings. Even if you have’t been a regular attender (or never attended!) it may be of some comfort to “drop in” now. Many apps are also offering free guided meditations which could help you and your children de-stress.
Remember, this isn’t going to last forever – so when it seems like the stress if overwhelming and you have to make a choice about what to do, prioritize helping your kids feel loved and safe and modeling for them how to adapt in difficult circumstances. Call (757-276-7069) or email me (MVann@whitecloudtherapy.com), Madeline Vann at White Cloud Therapeutic Services LLC (whitecloudtherapy.com) if you have questions or would like a confidential Telehealth session for support during this time.
Article was written and sponsored by Resident in Counseling Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services