10 Ways to Have a Healthy, Happy, and Productive Extended Social Distancing

These tip sheets were created to be shared with your communities: students, teachers, administrators, parents, and families. You may learn more and access additional resources at lsu.edu/bestpractices.

Take care of your body. Try to sleep well, eat balanced meals, and exercise. Try to avoid boredom, and fight burnout. Take a break if you need it!

Create a flexible structure to the day. Start with a family morning meeting to determine daily goals for work and virtual learning. Plan breaks and fun. Try to end with an evening review of the day’s progress. Problem solve any trouble spots together.

Create a calm, organized oasis inside the home with zones for work and relaxation. Do you need new supplies for the workstations? Everyone can pitch in and decide on jobs to help keep the house organized. The house does not have to be museum quality, but each person can help to do their part to keep things straight. The world outside is chaotic right now. Try to make home a cozy spot for each person to feel safe and protected.

View news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in moderation. Too much coverage can be overwhelming. Get the updates, and switch to something else.

Creative activities. Be sure to include some art, singing, dancing, games, puzzles, cooking, and writing in the day when possible. It is fun and helps to decrease stress. Let each family member help with menu planning. Sort through old pictures. Make collages.

Spend time outside. Unwinding in nature reduces the stress hormone cortisol and sunlight can increase Vitamin D.

Mindfulness exercises. Breathe well, ground in the present, and just be. Don’t judge your thoughts and feelings. Put the 'should's or parental guilt away. Be patient with yourself and the kids. Accept that things are what they are for the moment.

Focus on gratitude. Gratitude helps foster more positive feelings, build strong relationships, and helps to cope with adversity. Try a gratitude jar or a journal.

Connect with family and friends through phone calls, video facetiming, and social media. Write a teacher a thank you email. Long distance learning is not easy for the teachers either. Social distancing does not mean complete social isolation.

Brainstorm what each family member can do to help out during this time. It may be as simple as washing hands or social distancing. Some families may find ways to provide meals to medical workers or make protective masks for emergency workers. Support local restaurants with a “to go” order. Notice examples of others’ pro-social activities in the news. Focusing on positive contributions in tough times builds hope and resilience.

References and further reading on coping skills during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Written by: Lauren Eglin, counselor grades K-5 | LSU University Laboratory School