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14+ activities and tips to not go stir-crazy during coronavirus social distancing

By Merritt Jones, KSL.com | Posted - Mar. 17, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — With the first week of Utah schools’ soft closure and social distancing guidelines in place, families and individuals are facing long hours of time spent inside.

Teachers across Utah will continue their instruction online by Wednesday at the latest. According to Gov. Gary Herbert, this could take on many forms. Until schools and workplaces are open again, Utahns face a lot of downtime.

Here are some activities that keep your sanity and safety in mind.

Young families

Kid-friendly TV: PBS KIDS recently launched a weekday newsletter to help kids continue learning and playing from home. Kid-friendly TV shows like Mickey Mouse Club House or Chasing Coral are also an option.

Books: If TV shows and movies aren’t your style, read a book, or if you prefer, watch a celebrity read a children's book on social media.

Games: Start a puzzle or pull out a board game, even the ones you haven't played in a while. Denise Weaver, a stay-at-home mom from Layton, said her three kids love playing games like Hungry Hungry Hippos. Especially since the closing of their normal activities due to coronavirus concerns, she told KSL.com, it helps.

Indoor activities: Minute to Win It games, obstacle courses and paper cup stacking are a few of the indoor activities Hello Wonderful shares on their website.

Service: Write a letter, paint or draw something to send to old folks' homes in your area. Many cannot receive guests now because of the coronavirus. You could also leave thank-you notes for the people still working in your area.

Make a time capsule: Grab an old container and include a family photo. Then have every family member write a memory and include an object. Bury in the backyard or hide somewhere in your home for safekeeping. For more ideas on what to put inside visit Inspiring Life's website.

Get outdoors: Coronavirus is not airborne, so you can take a trip outside and enjoy the start of Utah’s spring weather. With no regulations of being outside your home beyond not gathering in groups of more than 10, fresh air can be a good thing. Residents of Davis county even started a St. Patrick's day scavenger hunt, asking all to put a shamrock in a street-facing window of their home.

"It’s easy. No human contact. Get fresh air," shared Tricia Urry Stone on Facebook. "Don’t buy toilet paper. Just put a shamrock in your window."

Denise Weaver has also found playing outside with the kids to be helpful, especially now that her husband Chase transitioned from working in an office to working from home.

"That's my plan," she said. "To go play in the yard until they calm down or I can put them down for a nap, and that will buy us a couple of hours."

Weaver advises other moms in her situation to "be OK with your norm changing," and not sweat the small stuff.

"If they watch more TV than you'd normally let them watch, or if they are eating food that you normally wouldn't like ... roll with it," she said. "Just let it go. It's hopefully not gonna be too long."

Check Facebook (no, really): For more activities, many Facebook groups formed to share ideas during this period of social distancing.

Older families

Spring clean: Now might be the time to start spring cleaning, or any other projects you’ve been putting aside this year. Put together a bin of clean clothes or sanitized items you no longer need. Even if no one in your family is sick, it’s important to wash items you’re donating.

Serve: Offer help to the elderly, immunocompromised or younger families in your neighborhood. Many Facebook groups have already come together to meet the needs of their community. Finding a community group close to you and offering resources or help can make a difference.

Work out: With gyms closed or closing around Utah, exercising can be a challenge. Planet Fitness created an in-home workout page with this in mind. Launched on Monday, these workouts are live-streamed every day at 5 p.m. MST.

"We are bringing the gym to you," Planet Fitness said on their Facebook post.

Youtube also has many different exercise videos, like Yoga and Zumba, that are open to everyone online.

Reminisce: Pull out your family photo albums or old family videos and reminisce on the memories.

Telecommuters

Working at home around kids and pets is new to many Utahns. A little over 5% of Americans work at home regularly according to a Deseret News article. The article also offers some tips for working at home, like getting out of your pajamas and keeping a defined schedule with water breaks.

Tuesday, the book, "Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily" launched, providing 55 pages of advice for balancing work and home life. The book is free for download.

Chase Weaver said it’s all about the balance. "It's a mental thing," he told KSL.com. "The physical aspect of it is not really that difficult."

Weaver suggests getting away from your workstation and moving around every once and a while.

"Even though you're home, your mind is still on work and you need to separate yourself from that a little bit," Weaver said. "It's the same with when you're at the building at your worksite. You need to take breaks. You need to get yourself away from it. Or else you'll be too much in your head, and that never works out well for anybody."

Have an idea of avoiding stir-craziness that you didn't see listed here? Please share your ideas by commenting below.

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