Telecommuting has great benefits, but they can quickly fade away without healthy practices in place. This LiveWell Jefferson Blog Series focuses on the best ways to create a healthy, happy, balanced work/home life. How do we thrive in this environment? How do we re-establish a new normal, a semblance of routine and balance with such little structure from the outside world in place? More importantly, how do we take this unprecedented time and turn it into a unique opportunity to explore new interests, learn about ourselves, and strengthen ties with those closest to us? We took a deep dive into researching practices that can make a difference, and you can view them all in the Series Intro Post: Thriving in the Telecommute.
Today’s post is all about Practice #1: Explore. Are you excited for the weekend? Or are you nervous with anticipation of cabin fever and boredom? Working from home has advantages, but telecommuting combined with social distancing can make us feel like all the days run together. We understand the crucial responsibility to stay at home to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy, but that doesn’t mean we should be bored! In fact, it’s the opposite. Now is the time to learn about yourself, invest in a new hobby, explore the world through a new lens, and encourage those around you to do the same.
How do you make the most out of your weekend so you are: (1) fulfilled by Sunday night, (2) motivated to continue social distancing for the benefit of everyone, and (3) ready to be your MOST productive when you log back in on Monday morning? HINT: the answer doesn’t include checking emails over the weekend, reorganizing the attic, or cleaning caked goldfish crumbs out of the stitching on your toddler’s car seat. Obviously, your weekend may have to include some of those “maintenance” tasks, but that’s not the type of activity that will keep you engaged through another week of working from home.
Speaking of CRITICAL Maintenance Tasks – The Time Is NOW!
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Now that you have filled out your 2020 Census, we can get back to preparing for the BEST weekend ever!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY, AND DOWNTIME?
You might be reading this thinking, “I don’t need a hobby. I’m busy all the time. I barely have time to keep up with my house, kids, work, volunteering, etc.…”. You might be busy all the time, but the benefits of hobbies go way past the point where they “fill time in the day”.
Studies have shown that participating in hobbies and leisure activities regularly has psychological and physiological benefits, including:
- Increased creativity on work-related projects
- Possible protection from the development of dementia
- Less negative and more positive moods
- Better attitudes at work
- Less likelihood of experiencing burnout
- Decreased levels of depression
- Increased interest, decreased boredom
- Decreased stress
- Lower heart rate
- Lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference and body mass index
HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE A NEW ACTIVITY INDEPENDENTLY, WITH A PARTNER, WITH A VIRTUAL GROUP, OR WITH KIDS?
The reality is that getting the most out of your weekend requires planning and scheduling just like the weekdays. This process might sound a bit ridiculous, but the world was doing this for you up until a few weeks ago. You knew you had an event on Friday night and a soccer game or brunch with friends on Saturday morning, so you also knew when you were going to shop for groceries, when you would do chores around the house, and when you would have downtime. All the structure is gone, so your success starting a new activity, or spending downtime with your kids, relies on your ability to create your own plan ahead of time. Rest assured, just because you add structure to your weekend doesn’t mean the actual time spent will be structured.
A quick guide to designing your weekend…
Make a list of things you’d like to do this weekend – everything from laundry, to watching a documentary on Netflix, to trying a new recipe.
Sort your list into 3 buckets:
- Leisure activities
- Tasks that absolutely must get done THIS weekend
- Tasks that you could do this weekend, but they could also be done next weekend
Block your weekend into 6 sections:
- Saturday Morning
- Saturday Afternoon
- Saturday Evening
- Sunday Morning
- Sunday Afternoon
- Sunday Evening
Prioritize your leisure activities and put those on the schedule first. Then add the tasks that absolutely must get done THIS weekend, and finally add items from bucket 3 onto the schedule if there is space. Don’t over pack it!
WHERE CAN YOU FIND RESOURCES, COMMUNITIES, AND INFORMATION TO GET STARTED?
If you don’t have a hobby or specific area of interest already, start by reading about hobbies that can be done at your house and try one that interests you. There are lists upon lists upon lists of awesome activities to explore, and no matter what you pick, we can almost guarantee that there is a YouTube Expert out there to help you get started. Lists not working for you? Try an online hobby quiz, which will offer up suggestions based on your interests.
Here are a few lists that I think are especially useful:
- The Ultimate List of Hobbies – 541 handpicked hobby ideas to try: This one categorizes them for you – hobbies for kids, hobbies for men, indoor hobbies, cheap hobbies, hobbies that make money, etc.
- 53 Hobbies to do Indoors – Things to Do When You Are Self-Isolating
- 19 of the Best Hobbies for Kids | Indoor and Outdoor Activities
What if you already have a hobby that you love, and it has been put on hold due to social distancing? We love the idea of picking a complementary hobby to keep you engaged while you are at home. If you were training for a running event that has been cancelled, try to find a virtual event that you can participate in. If you love to travel and your trips are cancelled, get a cookbook and try new recipes from countries around the world. If you love bouldering and the gym is closed, focus on cross-training and nutrition, so that you will be ready when the it opens back up. There are endless ways to keep yourself engaged during this time.
MORE ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES
The Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau put together a #JeffersonParishStrong List with Activities to do while you are social distancing.
If you aren’t ready to commit to a hobby with your kids, there are still tons of educational, fun, social-distancing-approved activities that you can plan to do with them.
Here are a few projects that will score you major parenting points! Warning: some of the options below are messy, but that’s what makes them fun!
- How do clouds hold water? Let them figure it out!
- For our #Frozen fans
- EASY Healthy Rainbow Unicorn Popsicles
- PBS – Social Distancing-Approved Weekend Activities for Kids
- Audio Book Cloud: All ages audio book database
- Tumble Book Library: A collection of children’s e-books with more than 1100 titles for grades K-6, including unique animated, talking picture books, read-along chapter books, national geographic videos, non-fiction books, playlists, as well as books in Spanish and French. Plus, the collection features Graphic Novels – a student favorite!
- Teen Book Cloud: A database of e-books and other digital content for grades 6 – 12, featuring more than 1000 titles, including student-favorite Graphic Novels, enhanced e-books with full audio narration and highlighted text, classic literature, national geographic videos, and more!
Additional Online Resources
Want to take it a step further during the week? Schedule a daily time for your child to read any book of interest, and then follow it up with a discussion and brief summary. Have them tell you about the book they read and ask critical questions to show an interest in their new hobby. We’ve included an example learning journey and great resources below.
Example Learning Journey:
- Choose any book of interest
- Read aloud OR listen to audio book (See FREE Resources Below)
- Discuss what has been read
- Encourage child to use key vocabulary picked up in the text
- Child then writes a short summary of what has been read or listened to
If you found this information helpful, share it with others and give it a thumbs up @livewelljefferson on Facebook and Instagram! We want to hear from you! What are your favorite ways to spend a day on yourself? Which activities have you enjoyed with your family during social distancing? Do you or your kids have a favorite YouTube Channel for your hobbies? – If so, share it here! Post your comments, questions, tips, resources, and tricks in the comments section on today’s blog post on Facebook. #livewelljeffersonblog #covid_19 #livewelljefferson #jeffersonchamber
Written by Alex Zarookian, Director of Investor Relations & Special Events, Staff Liaison to the Jefferson Chamber’s Health & Wellness Committee
Edited by Emily Anderson, Director of Communication, Staff Liaison to the Jefferson Chamber’s Communication Committee
- How and Why to Create a Weekend Plan
- How Hobbies Impact Your Head and Heart
- 3 science-backed reasons having a hobby will help your career
- Matthew J. Zawadzki, Ph.D., Joshua M. Smyth, Ph.D., Heather J. Costigan, B.S., Real-Time Associations Between Engaging in Leisure and Daily Health and Well-Being, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 49, Issue 4, August 2015, Pages 605–615, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-015-9694-3
- Pressman SD, Matthews KA, Cohen S, et al. Association of enjoyable leisure activities with psychological and physical well-being. Psychosom Med. 2009;71(7):725–732. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181ad7978