As there may be extended time at home in the upcoming weeks with social distancing or social isolation, it is very important to still find ways to keep occupied and connected during this unusual and dynamic time. Some of these activities you can do by yourself, with your partner (or older children at home) and some you can do with your infants.
Please keep in mind some of these will be easier either antenatally, or if baby is sleeping. Add your own, get creative and share it with your family.
- Zova (app) https://zova.com/
- Down Dog (app) https://www.downdogapp.com
- YouTube Exercise Videos
- Dance party in your home (try to learn the moves of a dance video if you can via YouTube or TikTok)
- Yogala (physical studio in Maroubra, NSW) is offering live streaming of all classes including Perinatal classes. https://yogala.com.au/live-streaming/
- Go for a walk in an open and uncrowded place
- Sit by the beach
- Baby Yoga or Pilates (exercise with your baby at home, available on YouTube)
- Enjoy some simple stretching exercises on the bed or lounge room floor
Five senses experiences
- Burn a candle or enjoy some aromatherapy
- Have a bubble bath or shower (by yourself or with baby)
- Baby massage with your infant
- Foot massage from your partner
- Research a new recipe and cook up a fragrant storm
- Play games with blind taste-testing ingredients from the kitchen• Bring in some flowers from the garden to brighten up the house (or order a delivery from a local florist)
- Make home-made playdoh or child-friendly paints for some fun DIY crafts
- Go bird-watching in the backyard or from the balcony.
- Wash your hair with your favourite shampoo and massage your own head
- Take turns to cook and include children in the process
- Podcasts (Preggie Pals, The Birth Hour, Motherly, Mamamia Out Loud, Stuff You Should Know, Parental as Anything with Maggie Dent)
- Audiobooks (the Audible app currently has children’s stories for free, or you can borrow free audiobooks from your library online)
- Read a book out loud, chapter by chapter with your partner and children
- Music (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube)
- Make music with your baby using things around the house (rice shakers in a bottle, pots and pans etc)
- Ted Talks https://www.ted.com/talks to learn something new
- Watch a funny movie
- Sing out loud to your favourite songs-this activates the vagus nerve and reduces anxiety
- Books (download free from your local library, borrow from your library if they aren’t closed)
- Take a free online learning courses (e.g. EdX, Coursera)
- Limit your exposure to panic type media releases
Mindfulness apps for mindful practice
- Mindful colouring
- Drawing / Painting (with baby friendly crayons or paints if your infant is old enough)
- Sensory play with little people (bubbles, playdough, rice or oat play)
- Cooking – Get creative in the kitchen. Making simple things that are easy to grab-and-go if you can. It also can keep your mind off the news.
- Online videos can be fun from chefs like Jamie Oliver that have recipes under certain budgets and that are kid friendly. There are also some ‘How to’ Cooking podcasts you can listen to as well• Water play-fill sink/bowl with water and let them play with sponges and other texturally different objects
- Bake a cake and drop it off at your neighbours front doors
- Make a phone call to a friend
- Start a group video call with family / friends around the world and let the kids join in
- Send a letter or card to a friend
- Compose an email
- Social media apps for video sharing (Marco Polo, Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, TikTok)
- Start a pen-pal chain with your neighbours with daily letter-box drops
- Create your own David Attenborough style documentary of ‘a day in the wild’ with your infant and share with friends
- Create regular zoom catch ups with friends
NB: Be wary of spending too much time on social media especially if there is a lot of news information as this can impact on anxiety and mood levels particularly at the current time.
Some things to keep in mind
Decide what fits for you. It’s hard to take it all in but here are some general tips.
- Close quarters can impact on everyone’s frustration levels. If you need a break, even if it’s just to be in another room by yourself, let your family know
- Washing and housework when you are sitting amongst it each day can be overwhelming and never ending, it is ok to put it aside and schedule laundry time/cleaning time, so that you are able to do other pleasurable things.
- Screens/Televisions are a wonderful resource, but can impact on our ability to sleep well and reduce our energy levels. Moderate how much screen time you are getting particularly before bed-time. Try turning everything off at least one hour before bed. If you like to listen to a meditation or sleep story, set your phone to switch off once it ends without having to look at your screen. Similarly, if you are a breastfeeding mum, try not to read too many news articles or scroll on social media during night feeds as this may impact on your ability to go back to sleep between cycles both due to being on a screen, and also due to the content of the news currently.
- Give each other space and time out when you can eg walk dog
- Keep walking if you can eg at quiet times by yourself or with someone -whatever works
- Break up your day into sections eg in morning do 1 thing you enjoy
- Start a gratitude journal-this helps develop a more positive headspace
- Think of acts of kindness you can carry out
- Still try to get your take away coffees etc, go for a drive
- Limit watching TV series and movies with pandemic content, watch a funny movie instead
- Be mindful of the language you use with children and yourselves eg not pandemic but outbreak, reduces sense of panic
- Remind yourself the world has been through many challenges and that this one too is time limited
- Find ways to connect with people who fuel your soul through Whatsapp, or Zoom
- Be creative in how you keep in touch with work friends eg do a regular Zoom meeting and check in
- Be compassionate towards yourself and be realistic about what expectation you have of yourself and others
- Keep life simple and focus on what really matters to you eg family, love, being together, friends, pets, hobbies, or just surviving each day
- Be a good monitor of yourself and ask for support if it gets tough
- Maintain helpful self talk
- Focus efforts on what is within your power
- Try to eat a reasonably balanced diet, avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine and sweets
Be kind to yourself, your partner, and your infants. Remember each day is a new day – if yesterday wasn’t great, today can be better. And take everything day-by-day.