top of page
  • Writer's picturelesleythompsonmft

Keeping Mentally Engaged While “Sheltering In”

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Coronavirus, sheltering in, mental health, anxiety, depression, coping with isolation, social distancing

It can be a challenge adjusting to working remotely and staying in our homes all day, everyday. We get so much stimulation, vitalization and engagement from the outside world: socially, mentally, emotionally and physically. Often when we are just home, it can be easy to become unmotivated, disengaged, and depressed. Here are 5 tips to help you stay engaged during this time.

Be Intentional:

Being intentional means that we use our energy and efforts each day in a purposeful and meaningful way. This shift in our lives, though it can create anxiety, has also created more time for people in their lives. Most people are not commuting, do not have social appointments, aren’t having to pick up their kids from after school, or running errands. So, we can either use the extra time to get lost on social media, or in a TV show, or another mindless activity, or we can be intentional and use our time to create something new, exciting and engaging. What are the things you would like to do for yourself and/or for others during this time, and what actions can you take each day to work towards that?

Keep a Schedule:

During times like this, we can easily loose our sense of routine. Routine can often give us the comfort and structure we need to stay focused, engaged and motivated. Write out your schedule each day for the week and stick to it. Think about ways to take care of and engage the different aspects of yourself: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual, and make sure they are part of your daily routine. Also, continue to wake-up and go to bed at the same time. And eat your meals and snacks at regular times.

Learn Something New:

Most of us are finding ourselves with extra time on our hands. And while it can be fine to binge on a few shows here and there, we want to engage our mind and not just zone out day after day. Here are some ideas: Learn a new language, take up an instrument (NYC Guitar school is offering $20 virtual trial lessons), try new recipes, take up drawing, clay, painting or knitting, take an online course (a lot of schools offer free courses on about any topic you can think of), or take up another “indoor” hobby.

Stay Active:

Take a walk, run or bike ride, all of which you can do while practicing social distancing. You can even break up your day with walk outings to get some fresh air. Or have a workout at home. Gyms, trainers, and dance teachers are offering online content, classes, and workouts to guide you through and keep you connected. Many are even doing group classes through Zoom or another platform that let’s you see and connect to others in the class. And if you bought that Peloton bike for yourself, you are set!

Connect with Someone Daily:

We are relational beings and need to find ways to keep connected to the people in our lives. Often our socialization is built into our life and we do not have to be as deliberate. Now we have to make a more conscious effort. With technology, we can text, email or video chat. Everyday, connect with a friend or family member that is not living with you. Here are some creative ideas: have a movie party using Netflix Party where you simultaneously stream a movie and have a live chat on the side, or have a virtual dinner with a friend or small dinner party where everyone makes their dinner and sits down to eat it together over video chat, enjoying the lively dinner conversation, or have a virtual coffee date. And for all of the gamers out there, this is a great time to play your favorite multi-player co op with your friends.

By thinking about and being deliberate about each of these areas daily, we can keep our selves engaged in life and with one another during this time of solitude.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page