Sheltering-in-place affords us little freedom to engage in our typical, daily routine. For the teens and young adults we coach, spending time with friends, classmates, and participating in clubs may be impossible to do, and if not, staying connected through the screen just is not the same. Most people, young and old are finding themselves immersed into screens more than ever. Engaging in non-screen connection and activities and pro-social screen time are important to maintaining stable mental and physical health.
The novelty of the Internet is unlike anything we have experienced in history. It is affordable. Unless you are making purchases online, the use of the Internet is free. It allows us to be anonymous if we so choose. It is a time-warping experience. We easily lose track of our time while we are immersed and only after we somehow pull ourselves away do we realize the time we lost, and that most of it didn’t amount to much and we feel resentful. It is interactive. It allows us to make contact with people all over the world, whether for entertainment, school, or work, we can interact with others 24 hours per day if we so desire. Lastly, it is pleasurable. This is probably the main reason we immerse the way we do. The rewards systems built into Internet based applications are meant to draw us in, reward us, trigger a chemical release which results in positive feelings, so we continue to come back for more. The combination of all of these factors can make it almost impossible to put our devices down and walk away from our online world. This is especially true during this difficult time of social distancing. Boredom is a trigger. Feeling scared is a trigger. Feeling lonely is a trigger. There are many reasons to want to avoid our daily lives and the Internet welcomes you with open arms and promises to make you feel better….. at least for a moment.
To maintain your mental health and physical health, it is critical to develop a routine, one that supports you to engage in non-screen related activities and relationships and one that supports you to engage in pro-social uses of the screen.
Non-Screen Activities that Promote Positive Mood, Motivation & Mindset
Board games | Walk in nature | Jog | Walk the dog | Eating a meal with others |Reading a real book | Meditation | Taking a hot bubble bath | Fireside chat | Meal prep with others | Howling for healthcare workers @ 8 pm | Learn to play an instrument | Make masks for healthcare workers | Have a backyard drive in | Build a Lego | Call a friend | Write in a journal | Camp out in your backyard | Plant a garden | Make a time capsule | Sleep | Start a book club | Crank the music | Rearrange your bedroom | Purge your closet | Paint your nails | Karaoke | Bake | Do a puzzle
Pro-Social Screen Use Which Supports Health & Wellness (Click on Live Links to Learn More)
Facetime with family & friends | Get some Culture | Free Online College Classes | Live Streaming Exercise Classes | Visit your Local Museum Virtually |Run a Virtual Race | Virtual Tour of National Parks | Take a Free Photography Class | Try Peloton App for Free | Rubik’s Cube Free Class | Watch a Broadway Play for Free | Go on a Virtual Date | Learn a New Language | Play Online Games with Friends | Guided Meditation | Go on Virtual Roller Coaster Rides | Watch Live Animal Cams | Watch a Show with Friends | Listen to a Podcast