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How to Take Advantage of Your Time at Home

Healthy Lifestyle

Published: April 9, 2020


As we’re being asked to practice social distancing and stay inside, many people are taking advantage of this extra time at home. But maybe you’re overwhelmed now that everyone has become an artisan bread maker overnight while you only have the energy to click “Continue watching” on Netflix.  

As tempting as binge watching is, working on a project can give you a mental boost, and it can be an activity for your whole family. If you’re struggling for ideas or motivation, read on.


Get organized

This is the perfect time to declutter – spring cleaning can take on an entirely new meaning. Get the entire family involved. With the additional time, you can even go room-to-room and really get rid of those things that your family doesn’t need. Here are some ideas:

  • Say goodbye to winter. Set up stations in your garage with boxes labeled “donate,” “sell” or “trash.” Go through coats, winter clothes and cold weather items. Then have everyone place them in the labeled boxes. 
  • Put your kids to work. Have them go through puzzles and toys. Are some games or toys missing pieces? Set up boxes for those that aren’t complete, need repair or are ready to donate.
  • Spruce up your home office. If you’re working from home, you might be spending a lot more time in this space. Get it organized. Go through all your old papers and files. Make a pile of items you can shred, and create new labels for all your files. 
  • Tackle a closet. Start with the pantry in your kitchen. Organize the shelves – cereal on one shelf, canned goods on another, etc. Face your cans to the front so you know what you have. If you have a lot of shelves and items, make labels. Hang a piece of paper or dry erase board to keep track of items you need to replace for your next trip to the grocery store. 


Home improvement

OK, tired of cleaning? Take on a home improvement project. But be mindful that you shouldn’t be taking unnecessary trips to the hardware store. If you do need supplies, order online and pay in advance so all you need to do is pick up your items. A couple ideas:

  • Dust off that home repair list. Have holes in the wall that need to be filled in and painted? Do you need some shelves put up in the garage? Now is the time. Prioritize and make a list of repairs you know can be done with supplies you already have around the house. 
  • Prep your garden. It’s spring! So what does your garden look like? Does it need cleaning up? Again, this isn’t the time to run out for flowers galore. Focus on what you can do now, like trimming the bushes and raking all those leftover leaves from the fall. 


Have some fun

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen kindness and courage pop up around the country. Take inspiration from these stories to have fun together as a family and stay connected with your loved ones:

  • Brighten a stranger’s day. Write and send a daily card or letter to someone in hospice care or a senior community in your area. 
  • Launch a social media challenge for charity. Maybe your family likes to dance or sing karaoke. Now is the time for creativity! You can choreograph, lip-sync and do whatever you want. Challenge your friends and family to do the same and commit to a donation.  
  • Play a live concert on your porch or deck for those in your neighborhood to hear. Make a flyer and send out an email to those in your neighborhood association letting everyone know it’s going to happen.
  • Story time. Read and record a children’s story to send out to loved ones or post on social media so that everyone can enjoy. 
  • Challenge friends and family to a cook off or bake off. Post pictures of final products, and share on social media. This is so fun to do! Everyone has to cook, and what better way to use this time than to take on a new recipe or technique? Turn to YouTube for help in mastering a new cooking skill.
  • Get in touch with your roots. Research your family’s ancestors through an ancestry website. This is a fantastic time to really go through your family history. You can start a family tree and pass around files to other family members to give input. 


Remember to take care of you 

We don’t yet know how long this pandemic will last. It’s important to stay the course and continue with whatever routines you’ve put in place. But remember that sometimes it’s OK to make peace with the mess. If you’re home with your family, just try to enjoy the extra time you have together. Prioritize when things start slipping. If you live alone, make sure you’re staying connected with your family and friends. And don’t forget to take care of yourself – read, listen to a podcast, take a bubble bath, go on a walk or meditate. Do what you need to do to make it through to the end, and lean on the people you love. We’re all in this together!


The Methodist Emotional Support Line

If you’re experiencing fear, sadness, anxiety or depression, call the Methodist Emotional Support Line to speak with a licensed professional counselor from the Methodist Hospital Community Counseling Program. The free, confidential service can be accessed by dialing (402) 815-8255 (TALK) and is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Counselors can help by answering questions, addressing concerns, scheduling counseling appointments for additional care and providing referrals to community resources. 


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Kelly Ethridge

About the Author:

Kelly Ethridge, MA, is grateful that her marketing career brought her to Best Care EAP, where she could use her profession to help improve people’s lives. 

She said: “Hearing from clients that what we do helped them – ‘You saved my marriage. You saved me.’ It’s really powerful when someone comes up to you at a health fair and says those exact words.”

Ethridge started at Best Care EAP in 2011 and coordinates communication and promotional activities for Best Care client companies. 

See More Articles by Kelly Ethridge