The Importance of Keeping Your Mind Active

This post was written during COVID_19 and although the subject matter is still current, some things mentioned may no longer be applicable.

Where I live, we are starting the fifth week of “sheltering-at-home.” In many places in the world, it’s been much, much longer. We have never been sequestered before because of a virus. We have had rough flu seasons before, but nothing unknown like this. It is confining and isolating.

In Texas, many are relieved that some of the restrictions will be lifted, and we can get out and become more mobile again. Texas state parks have reopened so families can have outings. Confinement is difficult since people are created for community and connection. We are also happiest when productive and mobile.

It is necessary to stay physically active, but also important is staying mindfully active! Even though I get to stay home and already have a daily and weekly schedule, I knew it would be even more important to stick with it while being sequestered during the coronavirus. With no group activities or friend gatherings, I realized that I had to keep my mind engaged.

If you are feeling confined and depressed, ask yourself these questions:

Am I sticking to a schedule?
Am I exercising in some way every day?
Am I getting Vitamin D?
Am I drinking enough water?
Am I eating a balanced diet and staying away from junk food?
Am I doing something creative each day?
Am I doing something educational each day?
Am I taking self-care? Am I staying away from my vices?

We have this extra time, whether we wanted it or not. We have time to slow down and do some self-care. Connect with a long-distance friend. Learn a new skill. Work on that entrepreneurial idea. Keeping our mind active and having a mission can help us to stay positive and away from self-pity. As a person with clinical depression, I know that keeping my mind productive is good medicine that suppresses thoughts from traveling to places where it should not.

We have been taking many neighborhood walks to get out of the house!

If you feel as though you haven’t kept your mind active enough lately, do a restart today! Make a list of at least ten things that you have wanted to learn or do that you can begin this week. Here is a sample list:

  • Write a letter to an elderly relative or a long-distance friend.
  • Learn a new social media app or a new feature on your smartphone.
  • Learn a new computer skill: Adobe Photoshop, Excel, etc.
  • Take an online class to learn something new. Try iTunes U or The Great Courses Plus, which offers a free trial.
  • Read a book in a different genre than you usually read.
  • Find a YouTube video that shows you how to repair something in your home that you haven’t gotten around to fixing.
  • Start a neighborhood campaign to collect food for your local food bank.
  • Create a Spotify playlist of your favorite songs from a particular decade.
  • Go through some old photos, scanning them with a photo scan app on your phone.  Share some with those friends or family members in the pictures.
  • Join an online Bible study or attend a new exercise group.

Notice that I listed individual activities, not family ones. Even if you work from home, you need to take time out for yourself. Don’t give up on your “me time” — let your family know that it is important you have some alone time each week. You may be surprised at what can result from new projects or interests!

4 responses to “The Importance of Keeping Your Mind Active”

  1. I have still been getting out on drives and some very social-distance-off-the-beaten-path places. These help, a lot. I will be watching Texas and some of the other states loosening restrictions to see how things go as far as the spread of Covid19. It is really the only way we can learn how loosening restrictions will actually work.

  2. I'm not suffering from locked down as I'm an introvert and retired. I had been busy taking my mother to doctor's appointments as she came down with shingles in early Feb. It's been a long haul so I'm glad to have this down time, not having to go anywhere. You give good advice. I'm taking an online class with Caroline Myss and my husband is taking an online permaculture class. Both at reduced costs – a good thing.I'm afraid for your country when the restrictions are lifted. I'm afraid for my relatives living there. Most of them in NYC. Hoping everyone keeping safe.

  3. Solid advice! I'm hopeful our Michigan governor will lift some of the more stringent protocols placed on us here. For instance, right now sale of garden seeds and plants, and house paint is forbidden, as is hiring landscape services such as lawn mowing.

  4. I actually haven't missed not be able to go out. Hubby is getting lots of yard work and gardening done. I've been busy sewing and reorganizing and of courst lots of baking with our Great granddaughter. I may need to roll to the grocery store with all the cookies I've been eating when our granddaughter allows us back shopping 🤣

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