Practical Ideas for Changing Your Relationship to Isolation

A few tips for feeling less isolated:

  • Connect or reconnect with friends and family – staying in contact with loved ones can prevent loneliness and isolation. If your family don’t live with you, technology can help you stay in touch. Visit friends on video or through a phone call or write letters!
  • Get out and about – we may be living in a time of social distancing but you can still go for a walk, take a long drive, or stop by by a friend’s house with encouraging messages on poster board. Get at least 30 minutes of sunshine each day for a boost in mood.
  • Get involved in your community – We have access to so many online opportunities that help us engage with new people. Try a new hobby and connect with likeminded hobbyists on social media, join a club that meets online, join an online support group, or enroll in an online class. Try looking at your local library or community centre websites for things that might be interesting to you.
  • Volunteer – helping others is a great way to help yourself feel more connected. There are still volunteer opportunities that involve social distancing, the important thing is to shift your focus to how you can impact the lives of others.
  • Consider getting a pet –pets are wonderful companions and can provide comfort and support during times of stress, ill-health, or isolation.
  • Get support – If loneliness and social isolation are causing you distress, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor, counselor, or a trusted person. Check out our Community Resource page for support services.

Visit our Daily Challenges page for continuing ideas for staying healthy, remaining grounded, and feeling less isolated.

Stress Affecting Your Gut? These 4 Tips Can Help

When was the last time you checked in with yourself, particularly when it came to your stress levels?

No matter the stressor, it’s important to consider the impact of stress on your health and well-being. After all, too much stress can take a mental and physical toll on your body — this includes wreaking havoc on your gut and digestion.

The effect stress has on your gut depends on the length of time you’re experiencing stress:

  • Short-term stress can cause you to lose your appetite and your digestion to slow down.
  • Long-term stress can trigger gastrointestinal (GI) issues, like constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, or an upset stomach.
  • Chronic stress over extended periods of time may lead to more serious issues, like irritable bowel syndrome and other GI disorders.

One of the keys to better digestion is regular stress management. Reducing stress can lower inflammation in the gut, ease GI distress, and keep you nourished, since your body can focus on absorbing the nutrients you need.

If you find your stress levels are affecting your digestion, below you’ll find four tips to help improve your gut.

Practice yoga

To boost and support digestion, make sure you’re getting enough physical activity on a consistent basis, like walking and running.

Exercises like Hatha or Iyengar yoga, which focus on alignment and posture, may also alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms and improve stress outcomes.

Try mindful meditation

Scientific researchTrusted Source also suggests that a mindful meditation practice, where you develop an increased awareness of your daily life, may help. Meditation along with deep breathing techniques may lower inflammation, a marker of stress in the body. In turn, this may relieve an overstressed digestive system.

When was the last time you checked in with yourself, particularly when it came to your stress levels?

No matter the stressor, it’s important to consider the impact of stress on your health and well-being. After all, too much stress can take a mental and physical toll on your body — this includes wreaking havoc on your gut and digestion.

The effect stress has on your gut depends on the length of time you’re experiencing stress:

  • Short-term stress can cause you to lose your appetite and your digestion to slow down.
  • Long-term stress can trigger gastrointestinal (GI) issues, like constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, or an upset stomach.
  • Chronic stress over extended periods of time may lead to more serious issues, like irritable bowel syndrome and other GI disorders.

One of the keys to better digestion is regular stress management. Reducing stress can lower inflammation in the gut, ease GI distress, and keep you nourished, since your body can focus on absorbing the nutrients you need.

If you find your stress levels are affecting your digestion, below you’ll find four tips to help improve your gut.

Practice yoga

To boost and support digestion, make sure you’re getting enough physical activity on a consistent basis, like walking and running.

Exercises like Hatha or Iyengar yoga, which focus on alignment and posture, may also alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms and improve stress outcomes.

Try mindful meditation

Scientific researchTrusted Source also suggests that a mindful meditation practice, where you develop an increased awareness of your daily life, may help.

Meditation along with deep breathing techniques may lower inflammation, a marker of stress in the body. In turn, this may relieve an overstressed digestive system.

Before your next meal, try sitting up straight away from distractions, and take 2 to 4 rounds of deep breathing. Breathing in for a 4-count, holding for 4, and exhaling for a 4-count.

Do this each time you sit down to enjoy a meal to help your body relax and get ready for digestion (i.e. rest and digest mode).

Eat prebiotics and probiotics

When it comes to your diet, reach for foods that promote good gut bacteria, like prebiotics and probiotics.

Fruits and vegetables with inulin, like asparagus, banana, garlic, and onions, contain prebiotics. Fermented foods, like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut, tempeh, and yogurt all contain probiotics.

Prebiotics and probiotics can alter the bacteria makeup in the gut microbiome and create the ideal environment for more good bacteria to flourish and support digestion.

Kick the smoking habit

If you reach for a cigarette when your stress levels are on the rise, it’s time to rethink this coping technique.

Heart disease and respiratory diseases are most commonly associated with cigarette smoking but research also shows that the bad habit can affect your digestive system as well.

Smoking can increase your risk of developing peptic ulcers, GI diseases, and related cancers. If you smoke, consider making a plan and consulting your doctor or healthcare practitioner to help you cut back or give up smoking completely.

A huge thank you to McKel Hill, MS, RD, the founder ofNutrition Stripped, a healthy living website dedicated to optimizing well-being all over the globe through recipes, nutrition advice, fitness, and more. 

Helping a Child Through the Grief of Losing a Loved One

An insightful article from The Doughy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children & Families, at doughy.com

If you’re faced with telling a child or teen that a family member or friend in a hospital or care facility is likely to die soon, you might be feeling confused and overwhelmed. It’s never easy to share this news, and especially so when there might be factors that prevent you and your family from physically visiting the person who is dying.


We know it can be a lot to read through multiple sources of information, so we compiled this resource as an overview of how to support children and teens before, during, and after someone they care about dies in a hospital or care facility. Given the current COVID-19 global health crisis, we’ve included suggestions for what children, teens, and families can do when they aren’t able to visit or see the person who is dying.

Click here for the full article.
A lot of this information is sourced from Doughy’s full Tip Sheet collection which you can access here.

Free Resources for Kids and Parents (Spanish Version Available)

Child Therapist and Children’s book author, Fernando Gonzalez, LCSW has created a Free Coronavirus Guide for Children that includes a short guide parents can use to start having conversations about coronavirus in a child friendly way (also available in Spanish). He also includes a page devoted to coronavirus resources for parents and caregivers. You can visit his website here.

The Oyster and the Butterfly: FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD

This children’s book by Ana Gomez, reminds young children of all the ways that they have the power to help themselves and others during this time of coronavirus and home isolation. It contains loads of colorful pictures and creative activities along with techniques for emotional regulation. A great book to talk with your kids about what may be a frightening or confusing time for them.

The Story of the Oyster and The Butterfly: The Coronavirus and Me

This Neighborhood Has Been Staying Connected During Social Distancing With Creative ‘I Spy’ Game

The first surge of rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic has receded and left necessary social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine in its wake, with no definite end date in sight. Millions are now facing the effects of loneliness, cabin fever, life in too-close quarters, and asking how they can still find community when told to stay apart.

One neighborhood is responding in a creative and uplifting way: an interactive game of “I Spy” in which people of any age can participate.

Emily Nelson, a resident of the Sunnymede neighborhood in South Bend, Indiana, created this game for St. Patrick’s Day using the neighborhood association’s Facebook group.

She asked residents to tape paper shamrocks to their front windows or draw them in chalk on their driveways—anything that would be visible to kids walking by on the sidewalk—for a shamrock scavenger hunt. Neighborhood kids could tally up how many they spied and post to the Facebook group.

The neighborhood response was tremendous, so Nelson drew up a calendar through mid-April with other themed days, including Disney characters, Mario, hearts for health workers, dinosaurs, and a bunny hunt. To make the outings even more fun, Nelson encouraged the walkers to embrace the themes by dressing in costume.

For any neighbors who didn’t have themed objects, decorations, or chalk to use, another neighborhood resident put together packets of coloring sheets that she could drop off in mail slots as requested.

Participation has been high. According to Nelson, she and her family saw more than 28 Disney characters posted around the neighborhood on the most recent day, March 21st, including princess dolls and a King Louie from Junglebook.

Even the mailman, according to one resident, took notice and asked about the sudden appearance of Disney items in windows.

Kids are not the only ones who have been excited; neighbor Carolyn Evans wrote to Nelson on the Facebook page, saying “We had a blast looking for characters today! What a fun thing for all of us to do! THANK YOU for putting this in motion and THANK YOU to all of our neighbors who are participating!”

Visiting on front porches, chatting on sidewalks, and playing impromptu football games in the nearby school’s baseball field are some of the usual ways this neighborhood stays close. Now thanks to Nelson’s “I Spy” hunts, grateful community members are a little closer to finding new ways to stay in touch.

Click here to read more stories from Good News Network.

Ten-Year-Old Seeks to Empower Other Kids During COVID-19 Pandemic

Like many kids who are stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, ten-year-old Sydney was beginning to feel hopeless. But, instead of letting the feeling overtake her, she and her mom took action.

Sydney knew that she had information that would make a difference if she got it out to other kids her age. So, the pair set out to produce videos giving out valuable information.

From their living room they wrote, recorded, and animated Kids Coping with COVID-19 using Story Maker, an educational software that her mom, Melissa Dilling, uses in her classroom at Eisenhower Middle School in Everett, WA.

She hopes that when kids see her series on YouTube they feel like they can actually make a difference in their community—and the world—by following safety guidelines and seeking to help where they can.

Click here to read more stories from Good News Network.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

The folks most vulnerable to the current coronavirus are 60+ and they, especially, need to stay safe indoors. Daily living activities might be more difficult to navigate during these times. Here’s how you can help a neighbor, relative, or friend:

  • Cooking and preparing meals (porch delivery)
  • Cleaning and maintaining the exterior of the home
  • Shopping and buying necessities (porch delivery)
  • Running errands (porch delivery)
  • Speaking or communicating on the phone or through other devices

A word about elderly parents: it’s important to the overall well-being of elderly parents that their IADLs are taken care of effectively and consistently. If there are obstacles or difficulties with doing these tasks alone, there is help. Check out elder care services in your area. Whether it’s you, other siblings, relatives or friends that help out, or even professional caregivers, arranging help is possible. Other sources of help include technological devices that can provide assistance or even various community services geared at helping seniors. Taking an honest look at where an elderly parent needs support is the first step and then assess at all the possible solutions in order get them the help they need.

What To Do When You’re Bored

Here are some tricks I’ve found to help expose the real culprit behind boredom and get back to your normal self:

  1. Figure out what you really want to do. Boredom often masks a problem where you want to do a particular activity but something is preventing you. This could happen when you want to watch your favorite television show, but the cable is out. When this happens, the first step to killing boredom is to simply recognize the activity that you truly want to be doing.
  2. Nuke procrastination. Procrastination can cause boredom if there aren’t any distractions available to take your mind off your task. If this is the case, try one of these tips to eliminate the wait and get busy again.
  3. Get your compass straight. Boredom can just as easily be caused by a lack of direction. Spend a few minutes identifying your goals, desires or passions. Sometimes simply bringing up these can get you motivated again.
  4. Socialize. Get on video chat or the phone and talk to some friends, or join an online group and make some new friends. Boredom can often disguise a lack of social energy. Even in this time of isolation, we can still make important connections.
  5. Put off your boredom. Take a look at your to-do list. Commit to doing just one tiny task on that list before you find something fun to do. Often putting off your boredom for a few minutes by being productive can kick the feeling.
  6. Learn something new. Perhaps what you need is some mental stimulation. Here are some fast things you can do to start learning something new:
    • Read a book
    • Research a topic your interested in online
    • Write a short story
    • Pull out some paper and markers or jump on Photoshop and practice your artistic skills.
  7. Cut off distractions. Boredom can happen when you are doing a low value task, like random internet surfing or watching television shows that don’t interest you. Distractions can be a black hole, sucking you into a prolonged state of disinterest. Turn off the television or computer and start moving around until you find something better to occupy you.
  8. Fill schedule holes. Too much time is often worse than no time at all. It can be difficult to adjust to the boredom when you suddenly have a schedule vacuum. Stick to a schedule during this downtime to prevent boredom in the first place.
  9. Become your own cheerleader. I’ve been bored due to a temporary lack of confidence. Who wants to work hard towards a goal when you’ve been dealt an upsetting blow to your belief that you will succeed? Take some time to review your wins and high points so that you can restore some confidence and keep moving.
  10. Meditate. This has become my default activity in cases of extreme boredom. Check out apps like Insight Timer to keep you mindful.
  11. Journal. Open up a journal or a word document and just start writing. Don’t worry about who might read it. Just write.
  12. Add a new challenge. If you find yourself consistently bored, this usually means you have a section of time where you don’t have an activity that meets your needs. Add a new goal, challenge or hobby to fill up the time. Check out our daily challenges for some fun ideas.

These are just a few of the methods I use regularly when I have to combat boredom. But these are just suggestions. The best way to combat boredom is to understand why your bored.

Find more articles by Scott Young at ScottYoung.com

10 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids Stuck at Home

Finding things to do while stuck at home with kids for long periods of time can be a struggle, to say the least. Especially when your kids are full of energy and wanting to be entertained almost 24/7!

Below you’ll find everything you need to entertain your kids (or yourself) while stuck at home. We’ve got activities that will get you moving, educational and informative activities, fun ways to relax and unwind, and more!

1. Take a Virtual Museum Tour

Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t see something new! With Google Arts & Culture’s virtual museum tours, you can experience artwork from all over the world, right from your home.

2. Play Card Games

A simple deck of cards can provide hours and hours of fun. Here are over 40 card games you can play right now. Take the time to learn a couple of new ones, or just enjoy the classics you already know a love!

Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, check out these fun stay-at-home card games.

3. Go on a Virtual Field Trip

Explore the surface of Mars, see a virtual farm tour, explore the Great Wall of China, and more! Check out these awesome virtual field trips

4. Read a Book

Some silent time is always a good idea if you’re stuck at home as a family, and a bit of reading is a nice way to entertain the imagination. You can also read to your children if they’re not yet old enough to read on their own.

For some book ideas, check out these top books for kids ages 5-7You can also get a free 1-month of Kindle Unlimited right now if you want more options.

PS: For moms that need some new reading material, check out our favorite clean romance novels.

5. Teach Your Child How to Read

Another option if your child isn’t able to read on their own yet is to take this opportunity to teach them! Here are 9 effective ways to teach your child how to read to help you get started.

6. Start a Family Book Club

One last idea to go along with the reading ideas above? Start a family book club! Have everyone read the same book and then talk about it over a special dinner. This can work just as well if you’re reading the book to your kids too.

7. Fill Out Workbooks

One of the most important things to do while stuck at home with kids is to keep their minds active and learning. Books and fun virtual tours are great for this, but it’s important to focus on the fundamentals as well, like math.

Workbooks are great for this as they focus on certain grade levels, and they don’t require the internet. Check out these awesome workbooks for kids to find something for your child’s grade level. 

8. Do a Puzzle

Puzzles are another one of those fun indoor activities that also provide a good learning lesson. By doing puzzles as a family you’ll bond together, and your child’s problem-solving and quick-thinking skills will improve too! Find puzzle deals on Amazon if you don’t already have some at home.

9. Play Family Games

Playing fun games with my family is one of my favorite ways to pass time, and there are more games than ever out there these days! Some are extremely silly, some require teamwork, and others are heavily competitive every man for theirselves type of games.

To get some new ideas that you may not already have, check out these fun family games to play at home.

10. Play a Video Game

Non-electronic games (like the boardgames above) are great, but video games are good too! Just be sure not to spend too much time on them.

Oh, and if you don’t quite understand your child’s love for video games, being stuck at home gives you a great opportunity to learn! Ask to play with them and get them to tell you about their favorite games.

Find more fun & frugal ideas at Fabulessly Frugal