Beating the Social Isolation Summer Doldrums


Among other things we are dealing with right now the doldrums have set in. Not sure why it did not come to my realization sooner but after 12 weeks of social distancing we are stuck in it full force. Realizing the highlight of my week was my kids’ on-line German class was both depressing and a wake-up call. Church is starting to meet again, which helps, but the rest of our days are draaaaaagggging. This might explain the issues I was having getting the kids to finish their school work.

After glancing at my fairly empty calendar and seeing very little to mark the passage of days I realized we needed to create our own markers. Without change of some sort it will soon become like the song which never ends…let’s create an end.

Camps have been cancelled or moved online, large gatherings are still being discouraged, and travel is limited for us right now. Yet there are still things you can do. This list was created with kids in mind though is very adaptable to adults as well. (For more in-depth help scroll to the end of the post.)

Movie day

  • Request free videos from your library
  • Movie marathon your favorite series
  • Focus on the Family’s Pluggedin

Water day

  • Put low profile sprinklers under your trampoline
  • Watergun target practice
  • Slip and slide
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • “Paint” the fence, driveway, house
  • Create a water table
  • Build boats to sail in a kiddie pool or creek
  • Act out a story involving water
  • Visit a local creek

Baking day

  • Select a boxed mix and supervise (from across the room) as the kids make it
  • Create your own ‘boxed’ mixes to use at home later
  • Try a new recipe as a family
  • Decorate cookies
  • Make pizza dough from scratch and create individual pizzas
  • Try some microwave recipes

Biking day

  • Check out a local greenway
  • Follow the bike path to an ice cream store or local pond
  • Ride around your neighborhood and get lost
  • Ride to the gas station and back
  • Set up a course with chalk and other items on your sidewalk/street/empty parking lot to navigate

Game day

  • Board games
  • Online board games – battleship, Catan, Dominion
  • Lawn games
  • Scavenger hunt

Hiking day

  • “Hike” to the library
  • Visit a local greenway, park, nature preserve, or boardwalk
  • Create a map of your neighborhood as you “hike” around it

Giving day

  • Look around your house for items to donate to a local nonprofit or take to the thrift store
  • Volunteer
  • Do a random act of kindness
  • Bake something for a neighbor or someone living alone

Building day

  • Put together a kit
  • Come up with an idea of something you can use and make it from items you already have
  • Gather free items and see what you can create
  • Fix a bicycle
  • Learn how to use a hammer, level, screwdriver
  • How many level things can you find in your house, yard, neighborhood

Connecting/calling day

  • Write a note and mail it
  • Color a picture and drop it off at someone’s house
  • Call someone on the phone or video chat
  • Send a message to 5 people on your list of social media friends

Dancing day

  • Put on some fun music, twirly skirts, wands with ribbons, and bubble machine
  • Learn some new moves from online videos
  • Learn a classical dance
  • Learn a modern dance
  • Create puppets and have them dance to music
  • Do one of the above outside

Singing day

  • Practice a new song together
  • Try to sing all the songs you know containing a certain word
  • Sing Beetles songs
  • Create a new song and record/share it

Fire pit day

  • Learn how to make a fire
  • Learn about fire safety
  • Cook a meal over the fire
  • Eat by the fire
  • Tell a story, round robin style

Encourage day

  • Write notes of encouragement to send
  • Give encouraging saying to neighbors on notecards
  • Create a sign for your yard
  • Try to say 10 encouraging things to everyone in your household/something to 10 people you see on the street

Art day

  • Get out the leftover art supplies and create something unique
  • Follow one of the art lessons online and improve your style
  • Work on photography skills

Pool day

  • Schedule time to visit your local pool
  • Accept a friend’s offer to use their pool
  • Visit a swimming lake or pond

And the final one, suggested for those who might even think you could maybe, possibly, perhaps, in a little bit because “right now I am fine” use one…

Therapy day

Before you laugh or brush it off as meaning “drink wine by the fire all night” I am being serious. There is a reason that if you were to call your health insurance’s member services line today the first option given is now for Mental Health services. Some insurance companies are even waiving co-pays, so ask about your benefits. It really is an issue and not something to be ignored. Take action at the first thought that you might possibly benefit from talking to someone.

This is not only for adults but kids, too. They can also benefit from the extra emotional, mental support. For kids therapy may look different, it may include play therapy or other methods shown to help their young minds without being harsh.

If you are not sure where to start call your health insurance for a list of in-network providers. Look them up online to see what they specialize in and call to see if they are accepting new patients. You may need to call a few as not all have openings or are scheduling out different lengths.

If you do not have insurance here is a very encouraging article with ideas of How to Get Treatment If You Can’t Afford It.