Officials share indoor activities to keep the brain active during COVID-19

Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 1:14 PM EDT
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With stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Jim Justice and Gov. Ralph Northam for West Virginia and Virginia each in place, many people are struggling to find things to do indoors.

By not engaging in activities at work or school, it’s hard to keep the brain active, which can lead to possible cognitive effects.

WDTV spoke with celebrity life coach Mona Green and Shannon Jackson, the Programming and Marketing Coordinator of Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, about how to help keep the brain engaged and help reduce stress during this time of social distancing.

“This is a really fertile time to turn our gaze inward a little bit and rather than give all of our energy to things outside of us, since a lot of that stuff has been interrupted, to maybe take that energy and put it and invest it into ourselves,” she said.

Green said that energy can go toward things like taking care of your house or making public art.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re isolated,” she said. “You can work on things like exercising, reading personal development books, maybe bringing back a hobby that you haven’t visited in some time.”

Green shares these additional tips:

- Ask how you can be of service: Ask the people in your life if they can use a hand and if so, how you can help. Do they have children that need entertaining and could use an hour of your time to keep them busy? You can use that time for activities such as storytime, or teaching them a skill remotely. Are they feeling the financial consequences of being quarantined? Have groceries delivered to their house as a gesture of solidarity.

- Take Care of Your House: having order in your environment makes it easier to have order in your mind. The bonus? Feeling productive is a wonderful antidote to feelings of anxiety because it creates dopamine, a powerful feel-good neurotransmitter. Spending some time cleaning your house or tackling that house project you’ve been putting off may just be the answer to getting your mind to slow down and get a bit clearer.

- Make public art: Living in a building in a densely populated city? Make window art so your neighbors can see something beautiful when they look out the window. It’ll give your brain a productive break from anxiety-ridden headlines and could brighten someone’s day!

- Get Creative with OPP (other people’s pantry) Cooking: The kitchen is a place that has always brought people together. Why not spice things up by making your time there creative and collaborative using technology as an ally? Share with your loved ones a list of what you have in your quarantine pantry and allow them to design your meal for you and vice versa. Who knows, you may even come out of it with a new delicious recipe or two!

- Jam online: Play an instrument or sing? Connect with friends virtually to jam or write some music using the technology that’s already available to you! Apps and software like Jammr and Jamulus can help you make music in real-time with your friends regardless of where they are in the world.

- Have a Laugh with Improv story writing: Following the rules of improv, write a story with 5 of your friends. Person #1 starts with writing a page and then e-mails it to person #2 and so on. The result could be hilarious and shared over a group Google hangout session.

“It really is a great time to utilize our imagination,” Green said. “Imagination is free, it’s always available, and it’s always being used,” she said.

Libraries, like the Clarksburg-Harrison Public library are also providing different programs and resources, for kids to adults, to keep the engagement of your brain active.

Many are shared through Facebook live and can be rewatched. There are many resources on their website as well, even for those who don’t own a library card. People can access ebooks,

audiobooks, music, TV shows, movies, magazines, music lessons, and continued education classes.

You can visit their website or Facebook page for more on their virtual events and resources.

“These are things parents can jump right in and do along with their kids,” Jackson said. “They’re very interactive and the whole family can participate,” she said.

It’s great to keep your mind active, but Green said don’t forget that it’s okay to take a break.

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