15 thoughtful ways you can help protect the mental and emotional well-being of your loved ones from afar while they're stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
We are living in scary and crazy times at the moment as the global coronavirus outbreak has turned into a pandemic that is a danger to the health and well-being of us all.
Especially as it has put the lives of the elderly and vulnerable in our society at great risk and stretched our healthcare services to breaking point.
And even if you're not getting sick yourself, it'll still have drastically affected your life in a number of ways.
As countries around the world are imposing mass lock downs on their residents, banning entries at their borders, and closing everything down apart from supermarkets, pharmacies, and essential services.
And don't get me started on the lack of toilet rolls!
So, with confirmed cases of COVID-19 growing rapidly each day, many people are being advised to stay home and self-isolate to protect themselves and others.
Especially if they are showing any symptoms of the virus.
And while this might feel quite cosy and relaxing at first, it can quickly become an extremely boring, frustrating and lonely experience which can lead to serious mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
So, as most of us will either have to enter this period of isolation ourselves in the coming weeks and months or will know others that do, I've put together a list of 15 things you can do to keep their spirits up while they're stuck at home.
These are things that will help them to avoid cabin fever by keeping them calm, occupied, and entertained.
And they include ideas that could turn a negative situation into a positive one by encouraging them to work on themselves and learn new skills too.
So, these are the ways you can really look after your loved ones from afar while they are isolating.
And let's begin with the most important one of all, which is to stay in touch with them throughout their isolation period.
1. Check In On Them Regularly
One of the worst things about any self-isolation period is being separated from your family and friends.
As things you took for granted like meeting them for a coffee, going for a walk together, sharing a beer at the pub, or simply hanging out at each other's houses has become temporarily impossible.
And while some of us may enjoy the extra peace and quiet at first, even the biggest introvert will be craving human interaction after a few days.
Because spending too much time alone in our own heads can quickly lead to feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression.
So, it's vitally important that you keep the lines of communication open with your loved ones during this difficult period.
As speaking with them and sharing some laughs together on a daily basis will keep them going when times get tough and show them that you care.
And luckily in the digital age we live in now this has never been easier to do.
With services like Skype, Facetime, Facebook chat and WhatsApp allowing us to speak to and see each other whenever we like via video chats.
And you don't to limit yourself to just a quick conversation, as you can keep these video chats open for hours free of charge.
So, why not use them as windows into each others houses to virtually cook meals together, watch TV shows or movies at the same time.
As this will maintain the social distancing needed to beat the coronavirus, but at the same time allow you the social interaction you need to keep each other healthy and happy.
And if you want to organise a whole group chat then you can use a platform like Zoom to do so.
So, you can share a glass of wine or a beer with your mates on a Friday but from the comfort of your own living rooms rather than the pub.
2. Put Together A Care Package For Them
Many people will stock up on the essentials before self-isolating, which means their cupboards will be full of pasta and tinned food (and hopefully some toilet roll!).
However, while this stuff is vital for keeping them going, it's not very sexy or exciting.
So, to help make this period inside their homes more pleasant, why not put together a care package made up of a few things that they'll love and enjoy too.
This can include things to keep them healthy and boost their immune system such as a basket of fresh fruit, herbal teas, or vitamin supplements.
While hand sanitiser and a few bottles of anti-bacterial handwash will help them keep their hands clean and safe.
But don't just limit it to practical things as you can also add stuff they can treat themselves with like chocolates, cakes, pastries, a bottle of wine, or some craft beers.
Then there are items that will keep them feeling pampered and comfy like a hot water bottle, a throw blanket, or a set of bath bombs.
While a potted plant or a bunch of fresh flowers to freshen the indoor atmosphere won't go amiss either.
Because there's no doubt that getting a thoughtful care package as a gift can be a big help in keeping them in a positive frame of mind.
3. Make Sure They Have Enough Cleaning Supplies
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that the coronavirus can linger and remain a threat for a long time on surfaces around your home.
As it can survive on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel and plastic for as long as 2-3 days.
Which means it's vitally important that you regularly clean and disinfect things you touch often around your home such as light switches, door handles, toilet seats, taps, keyboards, and table tops.
So, it makes sense to give someone who is self-isolating enough cleaning supplies to allow them to stay healthy and free from the virus.
As a combination of regular household cleaning sprays, wipes, bleach, and a few pairs of rubber gloves will be effective in keeping their living space clean and germ free.
Plus the extra cleaning tasks will give them something to do too!
Click here for a full list of what the FDA and CDC advise you to do to be able to clean and disinfect your home correctly to avoid Covid-19.
4. Lend Them Some Books
In this age of the internet, smartphones, social media, and streaming services like Netflix, reading a book during your spare time has become a bit of a dying art.
And this is a real shame.
Because reading is a great way to relax while at the same time increasing your knowledge and stimulating your brain.
And in times of crisis like we are in right now it can really help to reduce stress and anxiety by transporting us to a different world and a happier place.
So, if you have a friend who is self-isolating, buy them a couple of great books to get stuck into.
As this will help to calm their nerves and make their enforced time inside pass more quickly.
And it'll also take their mind off all the doom and gloom that is being replayed constantly on 24-hour news channels.
5. Give Them Something To Keep Them Entertained
Now obviously not everyone enjoys reading and for those people boredom can quickly set in when they're spending so much time cooped up inside.
And this makes the time drag and turns a self-isolation period into much more of an ordeal than it needs to be.
However, there are plenty of options besides reading that can keep a friend or loved one entertained such as:
So, why not give them a little gift that will allow them to do this like a new games console and a few games, a puzzle book, or a Netflix, Amazon Prime or Spotify subscription?
As this will help to take their mind off the situation and make the time practically fly by.
6. Encourage Them To Take Up A New Hobby
Another option to keep your loved ones entertained, occupied and challenged is to encourage them to take up a new hobby.
This way they will be making good use of all the free time rather than just sitting in front of a screen.
And as well as being productive, getting into a flow state when practicing a hobby is a great thing for them to do during this period as:
So, how do you go about this?
Well, it's a good idea to ask them what kind of things they're into or would like to get into first and then buy them a little gift to help them get started.
This could be anything from a beginners guitar if they want to learn to play an instrument, some paints, brushes and canvases if they're into arts and crafts, or some knitting needles and yarn if they want give knitting a bash.
But no matter which hobby you decide to encourage them to go for, it could make all the difference between a long and lonely isolation period and some quality alone time well spent.
7. Help Them To Learn A New Language
Another way someone who is self-isolating can make valuable use of their free time is by learning a new language.
Because how many times have we all wanted to become proficient in another tongue but never found the time to practice?
Well, now time is all we have so no more excuses!
And you can help them out by buying them a set of language learning books or giving them a language learning course to download such as the ones from Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone.
This way when we can all finally begin to travel again we can do so with the confidence and assurance that a little knowledge of the local language can bring.
8. Give Them The Opportunity To Develop New Skills
Languages are not the only thing you can learn while being stuck at home.
As the isolation period is also a great time to acquire new skills.
Which is great as these skills can help you to grow as a person and in your business and work life too.
And with the vast range of courses available on sites such as Udemy and Skillshare you can learn skills in so many different areas such as:
This list is almost endless.
So, treat your loved one to the course of their choice and let them be productive even when the rest of the world is in lockdown.
9. Encourage Them To Exercise
Being stuck at home and not able to go to the gym, pool, or out for a walk or run can cause our health and fitness levels to dip significantly.
And this is seriously bad news as not only does this lack of physical activity leave you feeling tired and sluggish, it can also lower your immune system.
Which is not ideal when there is a highly contagious and deadly virus spreading across the globe like wildfire!
So, it's important to get your daily exercise in even when you are at home and unable to carry on with your usual fitness routine.
And not just because it boosts your immune system.
But because exercise will also keep your muscles strong and your body supple.
While the endorphins it creates puts you in a good mood and positive frame of mind, which is a big help in relieving the stress and anxiety we are all feeling right now.
Plus it'll also keep your weight under control so you won't re-emerge from isolation a lot heavier than when you went in!
So, it's a good idea to encourage your loved ones to get into a regular home exercise routine to keep them healthy and positive.
This is fairly easy to do nowadays as there are some brilliant free yoga and exercise videos to follow along to by YouTubers on channels such as Yoga with Adriene and Fitness Blender.
And you can help by giving them any equipment they need to work out at home such as a yoga mat, exercise ball, dumbbells, or even an exercise bike.
10. Introduce Them To Meditation
These are super stressful times for us all and it's not uncommon for our anxiety levels to be going through the roof, especially if we sit glued to the doom merchants on the 24-hour news channels.
However, allowing yourself to become so stressed out and worried is really bad for both your mental and physical health.
So, as hard as it may be right now we all need to try to relax and remain calm, and a great way to do this is through meditation.
As meditation has been shown to be a brilliant way to relieve stress, anxiety and worry, as it keeps people mindful and present in the moment.
Which is great for their emotional health and well-being.
So, if you want to help a loved one stay calm and reduce their corona-related stress and anxiety levels, giving them the tools they need to start meditating at home is ideal.
This can include a set of meditation cushions to keep them comfortable, a book to teach them how to meditate, a weighted eye pillow, or some CDs or videos to follow along to.
And if they can get into the swing or meditation this will also be a good new life skill that will help them once the world returns to normal again too.
11. Bring Them Home Cooked Food And Groceries
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is extremely important when you are self-isolating.
As this will keep you fit, strong and healthy and also boost your immune system.
However, you won't be able to get out to the shops yourself at this time which can cause a major problem if you're not adequately stocked.
So, make sure your loved one has all the fresh food and produce they need to make themselves nutritious and healthy food each day by doing their grocery shopping for them.
As keeping them stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and freshly baked bread can make all the difference in keeping their health and outlook positive.
And if they don't know how to cook for themselves you could make them some home cooked meals that they can put in the fridge and heat up in the microwave each evening.
As this will give you the peace of mind that they are eating well and getting the nutrition they need while being stuck at home.
12. Help Them Look After Their Pets
Another worry for anyone who is self-isolating is being able to look after their pets properly.
Because while having a pet around is great for company and keeping your morale up, some pets have needs that you can't fulfill while being stuck at home.
And the most obvious example of this is walking your dog.
As they need this outdoor time to exercise, do their business and stay healthy and stimulated.
So, offering to walk your loved one's dog every morning or evening is a great gesture that will help them and their pup out.
And you can also help by taking their pets to any necessary veterinary appointments or picking up pet food or supplies for them.
As this will be one less thing for them to stress about.
13. Run Errands For Them
While it may seem like everything stops when you are forced to self-isolate, the world outside continues to turn.
Which means there may be important tasks that still need to be done like paying bills, posting letters and packages, or picking up medications or supplies from the store.
And this is going to be impossible for anyone who is self-isolating to do.
So, offering to run these errands for your loved ones is going to be a massive help for them.
And it'll give you some credit in the bank if you ever need to ask them for a favour in the future too!
14. Create A Spotify Playlist To Cheer Them Up
Music is a magical thing and for me personally it's something I'd struggle to live without.
Because it plugs directly into your emotions and can lift you up, console you, energise you, calm you down, make you smile and make you cry.
And the power of music cannot be understated, as studies have found that it's great for improving your mood and relieving stress and anxious feelings.
So, there's always a song that you can relate to and turn to to help you through whatever situation you find yourself in.
And during periods of isolation you are more prone to feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
So why not create a Spotify playlist of upbeat and uplifting music for your loved ones to listen to that can help to keep their spirits high.
As this is a really thoughtful gesture that they'll absolutely love you for.
And it's something that can help them get through the inevitable dark moments that will come up when you are isolated from the world for a period of time.
15. Give Them Something To Look Forward To
We all need to believe there's a light at the end of the tunnel when we're going through testing times.
So, why not give your loved one some fun things to focus on rather than the current negativity.
Because eventually things will get better.
And when they do we can all start socialising again, spending time together, going on trips, and doing the things we enjoy with the people we love.
So, when you talk to them on the phone plan your next adventure together.
Because whether that's something as grand as a world wide trip or as simple as a meal out at their favourite restaurant, it will give them something to look forward to.
And this will be a massive help in getting them through their isolation period.
Because believe you me, once this pandemic is all over the whole world will be ready to embrace life and each other again.
It's going to be a hell of a party!
The current global health pandemic has been completely devastating with not a single countries citizens being spared.
And my thoughts are with all those directly affected by this terrible virus and those who have lost loved ones because of it.
As well as those who have lost jobs and are facing financial ruin and an uncertain future.
And my eternal gratitude and respect is with the millions of healthcare workers and essential workers that have been putting themselves at risk daily to help us all.
So, it's our responsibility to also try and relieve the pressure on them by staying home and self-isolating to try and halt the coronavirus in it's tracks.
However, this isolation period can be extremely tough and really take it's toll on your physical, mental and emotional health.
So, I hope you've managed to pick up a few tips here on how to help your loved ones through it with the minimum of fuss.
As doing a few thoughtful things for them can make all the difference and ensure they stay safe, healthy and well looked after at home.