Many of us are coping with how to avoid going stir crazy at home. Yes, the quarantine has changed many lives around the world. Though we may be safer at home from the dreaded COVID-19, we now feel that our mental health and sanity is in danger from having the same walls and people around us. The past few weeks these ways to avoid going stir crazy at home have been heavily on my mind. I will share with you some of the things that I have been doing personally in a bit, but first, let’s look at some practical ways that you can avoid going stir crazy at home.
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What is Stir-Crazy?
Dictonary.com defines stir-crazy as ” restless or frantic because of confinement, routine, etc. ” Chances are, if you are reading this article, you already know all too well what stir crazy is. It’s when you feel restless or like the walls of your house are just closing in on you. You feel discontent and like you have got to get out of the house.
Why Do We Go Stir Crazy at Home?
People are social. We thrive on the connections that we make with other people. Being lonely has been cited as being as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Wow. That’s quite some impact. We go stir crazy at home because we start feeling disconnected from other people and loneliness increases. There is actual psychology behind it.
Why Is It Important to Avoid Going Stir Crazy at Home?
Your mood affects the moods of everyone else in your house. This may sound crazy at first but think about the “When Momma’s not happy, nobody is happy,” saying. When Mom’s not happy it affects the mood of everyone else in the house. As a parent, you are setting an example of how your kids will remember this time. They may remember really awesome family time, bonding together, and enjoying the little things, or they might remember it being miserable with everyone fighting all the time. (Hopefully not.) You need to avoid going stir crazy at home so that you can keep on taking it day by day and putting one foot in front of the other.
Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy at Home
Practice Your Faith
To me, going to church renews my spirit each week. Seeing my brothers and sisters lifts me up, as does hearing about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and what he’s done for me. That message is always like a balm to my soul. Even if your church is not meeting, listen to sermons online. Many churches are broadcasting live services. Get dressed up and go, even if that just means going to your living room and streaming the service from your TV. Things in life work out best when worshipping and following after God is put in the #1 priority spot. Everything else falls into place after that.
I have found that my days start best when I get up and read my Bible over a cup of coffee. Outside is my favorite place to do this as the weather permits. I pray for guidance, strength, and patience. (Because let’s face it- when you are at home with kids all day, you need patience.) I thank him for all that he’s blessed me with and ask that he direct my steps each day and behave in a manner that is God-honoring. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth the effort. My days always go better when I start them like that.
- Related: How to Set Your Priorities in Life
- Bible Verses for Hard Times You Need to Read
- Why You Need to Define Your Core Values in Life
- How to Master Patience – 20 Powerful Tips
For me, gratitude is intertwined with practicing my faith. Both are great ways to avoid going stir crazy at home. When you practice gratitude, it creates a mindset shift. It changes your focus from the things that you don’t have to the things that you do. Instead of thinking about all the things that you would like to be doing, you start focusing on the blessings that you already have and often take for granted. When you start listing them out, you will find more and more things to be thankful for. You can make this a daily practice in many ways, whether it be in prayer, thanking God for your blessings as I do, or writing them down in a journal. (I do this too.) If making lists are not your thing, you can also make a gratitude jar, or simply a list in your head. It’s one of the secrets of being happy and content in life.
Where I live we are not on total lockdown yet. A fact for which I am thankful. Going outside is a great way to avoid going stir crazy and boosting your mental health as well. That’s one of the reasons that I enjoy my coffee outside on days that are weather permitting. I love watching the sky slowly lighten and listening to the birds sing their little hearts out. It helps me avoid going stir crazy because I am physically out of the house, and in the case of waking up early, it gives me some time to myself with no one talking to me. It’s just me.
Currently, we are still able to go outside and go hiking. If allowed, see if your area has hiking trails that you are allowed to access during your quarantine time. Our family has always enjoyed hiking. It’s an easy way to get outside and get some exercise. The kids tend to think of it as an adventure and they enjoy never knowing what we will find. Similarly, a fishing adventure is a fun way to get outside, while still maintaining social distancing. It provides entertainment for the kids and some time to relax and enjoy the weather for you.
Designate Some Time Just for You
My kids are not super little. They are 8 and 12. Since schools are currently shut down, they are also home all day. I love getting to spend all this time with them, but sometimes Momma just needs some quiet time to herself to collect her thoughts. When I don’t get this time to myself, I find that it’s harder to keep my patience and it makes me start going stir crazy. I have found that I do much better when I have a bit of time to myself in the morning to organize my thoughts without getting interrupted.
Our bodies were not meant to sit in one place for prolonged periods of time. They function better when we move. Try to stay as active as possible. Many gyms are offering free youtube channel workouts. You will feel better when your body is in better shape. Our physical and our mental health is connected, so don’t forget to take care of your physical health as well.
Reading is also a great way to pass the time, to learn something new, or cheap entertainment to avoid going stir crazy. There is nothing like reading a good book to take you anywhere you want to go without leaving the comfort of your home. When I read, I see myself as the main character and they take me along on their adventures. Reading is not only good for the kids it’s good for adults too. If you are looking to work on yourself and further your personal development journey, check out my books below.
Stay Connected with Friends and Family
The hardest part about quarantine for me is not being able to see my parents. In fact, the first thing that I’m going to do when this is all over with is take my kids to see my parents, let them hug for as long as they want and go on that horseback ride with my mom that I’ve been too busy for. Not being able to do something often makes us appreciate it. I have still been trying to stay connected. One of the hardest parts of quarantine is the feeling of being alone. Take a few minutes to reach out and facetime or call and talk to your friends and family. They still love you and will be thrilled to hear from you.
Write Letters (Paper ones)
A few days ago, my parents wrote my kids letters and sent them in the mail. Though my kids have received cards many times, I think this was the first paper letter they had ever gotten. I immediately made them write a letter back to their grandparents. Even my youngest who is usually not thrilled at having to write, joyfully wrote out a letter to his grandparents and ran out to the mailbox. I know that there are many faster ways to communicate, but there is still something very personal and special about a handwritten letter.
Limit Screen Time
This ties directly in with keeping your body moving. You will likely get depressed and sad if you do nothing but watch TV or have unlimited screen time. The same is true for kids. Study after study shows that our kids get too much screen time. My kids (and myself) have limited screen time. The kids get an hour a day on weekdays. They can watch each other’s screen time, but they can only play games or watch a show of their choice for an hour Monday-Friday.
That may seem a bit extreme and might not work with your family, but hear me out on the benefits, why I impose such limits, and how it helps us avoid going stir crazy at home. As a result of limited screen time, my kids:
- Don’t fight me about reading 30 minutes a day – that reading time unlocks their screen time
- It gives them a reward that they always look forward to and motivation to finish their school work quickly
- When they use their screen time, they are 100% present and tuned in. That means that I can work undisturbed for that time.
- It strongly encourages them to play together much of the time if they want a playmate. This builds cooperation, problem-solving skills, and brotherly camaraderie.
- It encourages them to play imaginatively with their toys
- Motivates them to go outside, which also helps us to avoid going stir crazy at home and keeps them moving.
- Fosters creative thinking. They have time to pursue other hobbies and interests such as building with Lego blocks, making train tracks and blanket forts, as well as cooking.
- Helps to create an environment that says “We are all in this together” because we connect with each other instead of remaining lost in our own little worlds.
I have a huge list of 161 hobbies that you can start if you are looking for a new hobby. You can see them on the Benefits of Hobbies Happy People Want You to Know post. Hobbies do a lot for our mental health. They help us unwind and they also help us to learn new skills, as well as give us a non-work way to feel productive. Some of them can even turn into successful side-hustles!
Start a Project
Starting a project is a huge way that I avoid going stir crazy at home. It helps to eliminate boredom and makes the time go by faster when I am working on something. This goes back to the saying “time flies when you are having fun.” Think of something that you have always wanted to do and start working on a project to make it happen.
Learn Something New
You never get too old to learn something new. I hope that I never stop learning. It’s one huge way that our brains continue to grow and to thrive. In many ways, our brain is like a muscle and the more we use it, the stronger it gets. Learning something new is a great way to avoid going stir crazy. It helps you to make good use of your time and it keeps your brain occupied.
What have you always wanted to do? Is there a dream that you wanted to pursue but have not had the time to make it happen yet? Now is a great time to get started. I have a course that can guide you through the process of learning to motivate yourself to pursue your dreams. It’s a great way to set yourself up for success. Check out Questing for Self Motivation to Achieve Your Personal Goals Course today!
Listen to Music
Music has a huge ability to influence our mood. When I need to focus on something, I often will put on instrumental music designed to help increase my focus. It works. Similarly, it can also change your mood around and give you a quick pick me up when you need a mental health boost.
Do Something Kind for Someone Else
This may seem like an odd way to avoid going stir crazy at home, but it’s one of the best. However, doing something kind for someone else takes the focus off of ourselves. There is always someone going through something equally as bad as we are if not worse. You are not the only one going stir crazy.
Remember that even though a person’s Facebook feed may look like they are having the time of their lives, each of us is fighting our own battles with our own struggles. (For example, I felt much more stir crazy last week than my Facebook feed showed. It highlighted the good times, which I wanted to remember. It did not show that I was so stir crazy that I walked my poor husband 2 miles on our after-dinner walk.) Reach out and do something kind for someone else. You will feel so much better afterward.
- Related: Best Ways to Show Someone You Care
- Why Should I choose Kindness?
- The Effects of a Random Act of Kindness
Remember to Cherish the Time and Practice Being Fully Present
We will not stay stuck at home. These strange times will not last forever. I know that it seems long, but remember to cherish this time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life with one another. “The days are long but the years are short,” my Mom told me about being a stay at home mom with small children. I think that saying will apply to our current situation as well. Once it’s over and we go back to the hustle and bustle of normal life, we may miss these quiet days filled with our families and those closest to us. Try to remember to be fully present and to redeem the time.
Things That I Have Been Doing Personally to Help Me Avoid Going Stir Crazy at Home
I have been doing many of the above things to avoid going stir crazy at home. Ideally, I start my day by seeing my husband off to work, and then going outside with my Bible and my coffee. I listen to the birds sing, I pray and read while enjoying the solitude of the still morning. We keep somewhat of a flexible schedule. I involved the kids in my exercise for the day, or at least give them the option. We do school work, and I do things around the house so that I can be “on hand” to answer questions. I try to encourage them to pursue different hobbies and limit their screen time.
I am also finding that journaling helps me to process my feelings, as well as help me remember the things that I am grateful for. We have been trying to get outside each day and have been hiking and fishing on separate occasions. We have also had a few picnics. I try to be mindful and savor this time with the kids because I know that even though it seems long now, it won’t last forever.
I have also been going on after-dinner walks with my husband while the kids clear the supper table. Above all, I try to praise God through the storm and I remember a time when I would have given anything just to spend one full day at home without leaving. When I start getting stir crazy, I reach out to my friends and family and connect with them, letting them know that we are still here and still love them.
The Last Thing You Need to Know to Avoid Going Stir Crazy at Home
I hope that these 15 tips to avoid going stir crazy at home help you and your family to get through quarantine. I realize that not everyone can do everything on this list, especially if you are on total lockdown, but even one of these tips should help. Remember to take care of yourself. That includes your physical body as well as your mental health. Practice gratitude and live in the moment. Try not to worry. Keep connected, get outside and look to God. This may be all new to us, but it’s not for Him. Start a project, pursue your hobbies, read a book, and learn something new. There are many ways to make the most of this time that we have been gifted with. Remember, it won’t last forever. What are your best tips to avoid going stir crazy at home? Leave me a comment below!