Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health. This means that, while you’re social distancing because of the coronavirus (a.k.a., COVID-19), focusing on self-care activities is so important—anything that boosts your mood or keeps you feeling calm during your isolation time is now a necessity in the same way toilet paper is.
These ideas and products could keep your mind occupied as you take care of your physical health by staying home.
1. Release your stress into a coloring book
Turning stress into art is as simple as printing off free pages on Crayola’s site—yes, there are templates for adults, too.
Or crack open an adult coloring book, like the popular Secret Garden book. It has dozens of floral designs ranging from simplistic to extremely intricate, and Crayola lets you into a world of detailed patterns and pictures. Grab a set of drawing pens to get lost in the pages.
2. Create a calming atmosphere with sweet aromas
Despite not being a cure-all, aromatherapy is thought to improve physical and emotional health. Our favorite oil diffuser from InnoGear is easy to use and can run continuously for up to nine hours. Don’t forget to grab a variety pack of essential oils to experiment with.
Another way to scent up the house? Try simmering some water with cinnamon sticks on the stove or take advantage of your kitchen while you’re home and bake a delicious treat—there’s nothing more comforting than the aroma of freshly baked cookies.
3. Break out your knitting needles
Needlecrafts offer an artistic outlet, as well as a rhythmic movement pattern, and they result in the creation of something beautiful you can treasure forever. If you’ve never tried one, we suggest learning to knit, crochet, or do needlepoint with kits from We Are Knitters, which feature instructions and all necessary materials. You can choose from dozens of stylish hats, scarves, sweaters, and more, filtering among four skill levels.
4. Roll out your yoga mat for some gentle stretching
Whether you’re feeling foggy or on edge, some easy movement could offer relief. Cue up the free yoga YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene and follow along with the popular instructor who has over 6 million subscribers.
You don’t need a yoga mat for stretching or vinyasa flows, but having one makes it easier to get comfortable, especially if you’re new to finding your flow. For a more affordable option, we recommend the AmazonBasics ½-Inch Extra Thick Exercise and Yoga Mat, our best value pick. Or upgrade your yoga game with our favorite mat, the Reversible Mat 5mm at Lululemon, which feels soft under your hands, knees, and feet, but is firm enough to keep you supported.
5. Draw a bath and soak your cares away
When you need to unplug from your phone or laptop, head straight to the tub. After all, it’s dangerous to have electronics near your bath, anyway. To enhance the spa-like moment of solitude, add some soothing bath salts. Reviewers love the Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salts, which claim to ease aches and pains while relaxing your mind with calming scents like lavender and eucalyptus.
6. Take some time to reflect with a journal
It’s well known that writing down your feelings can help you make sense of them and provide emotional release. And conveniently, you can open up any old notebook or grab a blank sheet of paper to get started. (Most people have a blank journal stashed away somewhere just waiting to fulfill its destiny of providing cathartic release, right?)
If you prefer more structure to your journaling, try the “Start Where You Are” journal, which includes inspirational quotes, writing prompts, list-making templates, and free spaces for drawing that make it feel low-pressure.
7. Pour yourself a cup of tea
Never underestimate the calming power of a good cup of tea. It won’t completely distract you or entertain you, but sipping on a warm, fragrant drink is a pleasantry that can lift your mood. The popular Sleepytime tea from Celestial Seasonings is caffeine-free and has flavors of chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn, and rosebuds.
8. Refresh your skin with a face mask
There’s never a bad time to do something nice for yourself, especially when you’re feeling anxious and could use the mood lifter. A relaxing yet easy way to temporarily pretend you’re at the spa is by applying a facial mask. There are plenty of recipes for easy facials available online—whether they do what they claim or not, there’s no harm in zoning out with a blend of honey, oats, and avocado on your face.
Another option: the mega-popular Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, which is composed of 100 percent calcium bentonite clay to “absorb toxins” and rid your skin of excess oil and impurities. All you have to do is mix the dry, powdery clay with apple cider vinegar or water and apply it to the face for five to 10 minutes.
9. Break out a deck of cards or a puzzle with loved ones
Gin rummy, go fish, slapjack, crazy eights, solitaire, poker. Those are only some of the games you can play just by having a deck of cards on hand. Another calming activity for the crew: Digging out and assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Either activity will distract your restless mind by giving it something else to focus on.
10. Download an app that helps you stay mindful
Meditation is a helpful skill to learn if you often experience racing thoughts or restlessness. If starting sounds daunting, the Headspace app offers a library of themed courses, daily meditations, sleep sounds, and bedtime exercises to get you into the practice—and it’s free to try.
* Download the Headspace app on your iPhone
* Download the Headspace app on your Android and Google Play
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.