I’ve been self-isolating at home for the last little while, and like everyone else, I’ve been struggling with finding things to do. I’m usually a busy person who likes to do a million things at once. Being stuck in my room (the place I rent doesn’t even have a living room) has been a challenge. I can’t even borrow a book from the library or go shopping at Indigo! However, I do know that play, and having fun, is something important, so I try my best to incorporate daily positive experiences. Increasing positive emotions by creating pleasant experiences is a strategy that will help you in many ways.
For me, having fun is somewhat a hard thing to do. But it’s a coping skill that will help you regulate your emotions. It will increase feel-good hormones in your body, allow you to create meaningful memories and remind yourself that there is hope out there.
I invite you to do one thing per day that will increase your positive emotions, whatever that may be. Keep in mind that simple pleasures, although simple, can create an immediate and long-lasting effect on your mood. The activities you choose do not have to be over the top or too complicated.
Remember, building positive experience now is like accumulating coins in a piggy bank. Those positive memories will help you in times of hardship, for example, when devastating life events take away those precious coins. It’s important to be mindful and stay in the present while doing these activities.
Things I have done over the past week include:
- Watching Netflix and Disney+
- Writing thank you cards
- Sending thank you post cards
- Calling friends
- Calling relatives
- Taking naps and allowing myself to sleep in
- Going for short walks
- Playing card games
- Playing with stuffed animals
- Working from home
- Going to therapy
- Eating chocolate
- Finishing homework
- Cuddling with my partner
Here are some other ideas you could try:
- Take a luxurious, hot and long shower (or steam bath). Take your time, enjoy the feel of the warm water on your skin and appreciate the scent of the soap.
- Art: colouring, painting, watercolour pens, doodling, etc.
- Have your favourite drink and savour it (mine is hot chocolate with whipped cream)
- Walk through a local park (staying two metres away from people of course!)
- Watch Netflix, your favourite TV show, movies, Youtube videos
- Take a nap
- Learn a new language
- Eat your favourite food slowly and mindfully
- Write letters to your loved ones
- Read fiction, non fiction, comic books, magazines
- Call your relatives
- Call your old friends
- Organize your bank statements
- Organize your closet and donate clothes you don’t wear anymore
- Imagine a happy future. Plan your career, wedding, dream home, etc.
- Read more books (I study English literature, so I’m biased).
- Organize old photographs, edit pictures online
- Drink more water (it’s very difficult at times)
- Listen to soothing music, energizing music, sounds of nature, etc.
- Take care of your plants
- Sing around the house
- Purchase Legos and build something
- Go on a “date” at home
- Write an article for The Ubyssey
- Look at beautiful pictures in a book
- Light a candle, enjoy the scent
- Download a new app
- Complete a jigsaw puzzle
- Play a board game
- Start a blog
That’s all I can think of for now! I highly recommend trying something new this week, because after all, what else are you going to do? Cheers and take care.
The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.