Reports about COVID-19 have been all over the news and social media. People around the globe are being urged or required to practice social distancing, proper hand washing, and sheltering at home to prevent spreading the highly contagious virus.
You might be experiencing social distancing or self-quarantine for the first time, but they’re normal practices for me and my family at this time of the year. For many in the SMA community, the current situation is similar to everyday life during cold and flu season. These safety measures are necessary to ensure that we’ll be healthy when spring returns and most of the germs go back into hiding.
The efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is a serious topic, but I’d like to share some ways that you can use this “downtime” for personal growth. Spending a lot of time at home doesn’t mean that you can’t keep busy. My family and I have become experts at finding things to do at home. Whether you’re new to social distancing and you’re battling boredom or you’ve been doing it for years and just want some fresh ideas, I hope this column inspires you.
My family has always enjoyed playing games together, but it seems that lately, we’re carving out more time for it. One of my favorite games now is Mario Party on my brother’s Nintendo Switch. The Switch has become popular among people with SMA due to its small, light-weight controllers. These features make it easy for me to operate the remote with minimal assistance as our characters race around different locations in search of shiny stars needed to win the game.
We’ve also been enjoying more traditional games, such as Skip Bo and Monopoly. I need more help with these because I can’t reach across a board to move pieces or pick up cards, but I still have fun plotting my next move and laughing. Our next plan is to learn how to play the “Doctor Who” edition of Risk.
Games are fun, but I also think it’s important to continue exercising our minds. Educational entertainment venues have shut down due to COVID-19, but some have other offers, such as virtual museum tours. Several famous art museums including the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City now allow fans to browse their galleries online. I prefer the ones that simulate moving around a room, as they’re more immersive and easier to navigate on my tablet.
No matter what’s happening in the world, I always encourage people to have a few creative outlets. One of mine is writing. In addition to writing this column, I keep a personal journal. A few months ago, I shared my goal of writing in my journal at least once a week. Lately, it’s been getting a little more attention than that. I’ve had an increased amount of free time, and I find it relaxing to spend time writing out my thoughts. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants something soothing and fulfilling to do.
I hope the weather will improve enough so that I can move some of these activities onto the back porch. While it’s necessary to keep your distance from people right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get some fresh air and vitamin D. Sitting outside with a good book or going for a walk with our dog on a nice day are some of my favorite ways to spend my time. Luckily, these aren’t things I must stop doing.
Lastly, I recommend staying in touch with friends and family. You may be unable to get together for a cup of coffee right now, but technology and social media offer other ways to stay connected as we wait for this to pass. My co-workers at BioNews Services, the parent company of SMA News Today, are already great at keeping in touch, but everyone has redoubled their efforts in the past few weeks. Everyone has been reaching out to support each other, and we’ve been getting together for video chats more frequently than we normally do. These regular conversations are something that we all look forward to, and in such confusing times, it’s good for our souls to spend time with each other.
What are you doing to keep busy? Have you picked up new hobbies or rediscovered old ones? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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