Safe activities for people cocooning
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a rapid and significant change in how we live our lives. It has affected every single person in Ireland; some of us, tragically, more than others. The most vulnerable people in our society have been recommended to take extra safety precautions. This is called cocooning.
The people most at risk from the coronavirus include the elderly and people with underlying health conditions like Huntington’s disease. Loneliness and social isolation have affected us all as a result of restrictions and precautions related to the virus, including social distancing. Those who are cocooning, and the people who care for them, need to take extra precautions to manage their wellbeing at this time.
Finding new hobbies, taking up old ones again, and discovering new ways to be social are all great ways to counteract the mental health implications associated with cocooning and social distancing. We’ve put together a list of accessible, safe activities (no baking banana bread here!) that everyone can enjoy at home.
1. Read a book
This one might seem obvious, but, as well as being an enjoyable activity, reading has well-documented cognitive benefits. Reading a book can reduce stress and provide a mental escape from upsetting situations – like worrying about getting sick or feelings of loneliness. Even with libraries and bookshops closed, there are lots of ways to source new reading material. You can now shop online with many independent bookshops, Dublin City Libraries are offering a home delivery service for people who are cocooning, and e-readers are both easy to use and mimic the look of ink on paper.
2. Get creative with exercise
Exercise is important for body and mind, but when you’re staying indoors it can be hard to feel motivated. You can help the person you’re caring for to stay active by finding new activities for them to enjoy that are suitable for their physical abilities and fitness levels. There are countless videos online for inspiration, just make sure to check in with a healthcare professional before starting to make sure what you have in mind is suitable! Some ideas to start you off might be gentle yoga, seated exercises, or even timed indoor walking.
3. Get gardening
You don’t have to have a garden to reap the health benefits of growing and greenery. Gardening has obvious physical benefits but bringing your own small piece of the outdoors indoors can really benefit your mood. With so much talk of illness and death, having something living to focus on and care for can be a much-needed positive, and is something that almost anyone can do, regardless of physical ability.
4. Puzzle it out
Working on your cognitive skills is a great way to keep occupied and have fun while keeping your brain healthy. Crosswords and Sudoku can be found for nothing online or in old newspapers, and finishing a forgotten jigsaw puzzle can provide a real sense of achievement. Many word games can be played with others from a safe distance or even through a window.
5. Use your hands
That same sense of achievement you get from finishing a puzzle can be found by making something – almost anything! – with your own two hands. You don’t need to have much skill or great physical strength to benefit from knitting, painting, or even colouring. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or have any expensive equipment either. Decorating a finger-painted flowerpot or making salt-dough ornaments can be a great way to spend an afternoon.