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Published on April 01, 2020

	woman laying on couch with dog reading book

How Can I Find Ways to Disconnect from COVID-19?

Everywhere you look, you see the impact of the global pandemic:

  • You see the worry in the eyes of health care workers
  • You hear the tension in the voices of the moms, dads and teachers
  • You feel the fear in almost everyone.

The unsettled nature of these times continue, whether we hear news on the radio while driving or when we get home and see wall-to-wall television coverage of the virus and the rising impacts.

Parking lots are vacant, store shelves are empty and nearly every restaurant has turned to take-out to stay open. All this leads to realize that at some point, we all need some sense of escape from the crushing weight of today’s reality.

“With restrictions and social distancing, the escapes we’d normally look to are not available,” said Megan Bartel, who serves as Avera LIGHT Program Manager. “You can’t go to a movie or meet friends for coffee. There are no sports to watch for distraction.”

But there are some things you can do to disconnect – at least temporarily – from the burden of constant concern. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a hike. You can still access trails in most parks. Stop for a moment and listen to the sound of nature — and the absence of everything else. Just remember to maintain six feet of space between you and other nature lovers.
  • Ride a bike. You automatically keep a safe distance from others, and the wind in your face is freeing.
  • Virtual stretching or exercise classes. You can’t go to class in-person, but you can link up with some relaxing workouts online or on streaming services. Several insurance programs offer wellness programs with online workout programs, too.
  • Read a book. The written word isn’t caught up in current crisis. You can avoid thinking about it as long as a good story captures your imagination.
  • Have a dance party. Kids need to burn off energy, so turn up the volume and rock out without shame. It’s fun, it’s good exercise and while you focus on avoiding injury and keep your attention on the music, you won’t be worrying about virus news.
  • Use video calls like FaceTime to talk to friends or family. Agree before calling to keep the conversation on something positive – not the current situation we face. Seeing someone’s face will also help you feel more connected while being apart.
  • Play a board game. Put on some relaxing music and gather the family around the kitchen table. It’s fun, and if you don’t pay attention, your kids brag will brag for years about how they pummeled you at Monopoly.
  • Rent a movie. Skip past the ones about pandemics and you’re bound to forget about the current one for at least a couple of hours. Let each family member make recommendations and then watch one as a group.
  • Go for a drive. One way to let off steam is opening all the windows and listening to really loud music while singing at the top of your lungs.
  • Practice meditation. If you’ve considered this but never done it, why not now? The key is the idea of “practice” – it’s not as hard as it sounds. Even if focused breathing for five minutes is where you start, keep practicing. It can help focus your mind and lessen stress. If reflection leads you to prayer, do that as well.

Whatever you do, be sure to turn your phone to airplane mode so you don’t get notifications about the latest COVID-19 crisis. A COVID-free couple hours can cleanse the soul.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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