Let’s face it: living through a pandemic is challenging. We all want it to end, we want the threat of disease to go away, and we want to return to some sort of normal – well, the extroverts probably do. As we wait for it to end, we can find ourselves paying close attention to news sources for the latest revelation, the latest counts or even when the next phase of re-opening our states is going to take place.

Either way, consuming that much information can be exhausting and overwhelming. With the information overload that we are sometimes subjected to, it’s important to find an escape route. Over the last few weeks, SMA’s social media channels have provided a few ideas to step away from the news feeds and enjoy life in the midst of the pandemic. Here they are, and more:

  1. Get outside – I know that we are approaching that point in Florida where it’s too hot to be outside for too long. However, if you pick the right time of day (early morning or in the evening), you can squeeze in a 30-minute walk or bike ride underneath some really nice weather. If not, stepping outside for a five-minute break can provide a nice refreshment to help you push through the afternoon blues.

  2. Read a Book – It’s Florida, and summer is quickly approaching. That means afternoon thunderstorms are on the horizon. With or without the rain, however, it might be a good time to pick up your favorite book and immerse yourself. There’s something special about reading a new book, or re-reading the same book for the 14th time – you will find a way to pick up something new that you did not remember the first 13 times.

  3. Play Games – Our family is very competitive – well, maybe not the kids – so we love to play games. Some are easy enough for the youngest, such as UNO or Oregon Trail (yes, there is an Oregon Trail board game). We have, strangely enough, found ourselves playing the game Pandemic – a cooperative game that tasks you with curing the world of a handful of diseases. No matter what game you play, taking time to do so is a great opportunity to get the competitive juices flowing while spending time with others.

  4. Stay Connected – For many, staying connected with family or friends has been a struggle during this time. Sometimes all you want is a hug or a handshake from your loved ones, but that’s not possible for everyone during this time. As restrictions start to ease up, that may change. However, in the meantime, using video chats are a great way to stay connected. It can simply be a weekly (or daily) phone call to those you love, or even a virtual dinner – everybody brings their favorite foods and you enjoy a meal together. Aren’t we thankful for technology?

  5. Watch a Movie – I love watching movies. It’s nice to unplug, pop some popcorn and get lost in my favorite movie. Since things got shut down, our family has been on a Pixar movie marathon and we have been keeping a ranking as we go – it provides an added element to the movie watching. Movies are a good way to unplug, but are also a good source of emotional release.

  6. Family Dinners – This has always been a special area for our family. About once a week, we have provided a twist to this – we have had themed dinners. The first night it was “fancy” night – we got dressed in out nicest clothes (the first time in a long time) and enjoyed a nice meal. From there, we did other themes such as “Home for Christmas,” country night, superhero night and international night. You don’t have to get as into it as we have, but take time to cook a meal together, sit down at the table and each other’s company.

  7. Express Yourself – There’s no question, this pandemic has stirred up a lot of emotions. So, how can we manage those emotions? Put it on paper or pavement. Keep a journal, draw some chalk art, or paint a picture. Utilize some creativity, such as writing or art, as a way to take those emotions and release them in a positive way.

With all that being said, if you are struggling and need help, SMA Healthcare is here for you. Call our Access Center at (800) 539-4228 and we will help you!