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Mental Health Renewal in the Midst of Covid-19


Reaching beyond the daily grind: Free, Easy, and Cheap options to achieve balance and a sense of control 

You like free and cheap strategies – read on! You already know the reality at this point - disrupted routine, boredom, kids home that demand attention, yearning for personal connection, trying to be productive and engage in meaningful activities.  How do you reach beyond your current circumstances and bring color to your day, have structure, meaning, and texture in your life? Sinking into despair, fighting the circumstances, becoming resentful or bitter are not healthy choice options. What can you do daily to reach beyond the grind and restore a sense of balance? Using the suggestions below will assist you in grabbing small daily opportunities to push beyond your current circumstances for improved functioning and renewal. I’ve included at least one link with each strategy in case you’d like to dig a little deeper. Pick one per day, or maybe two. You’re in control.

13 Things You Can Do Now: 



  • Even if you have no rhythm. Just freestyle. Put on some music and shake your booty. Nobody has to see you. But if you want them to, host a Zoom dance party like my niece Vivian did. Check out this link for more mental health benefits of dancing and then bust a move:


  • We do it in the shower. We do it in the car. You don’t have to sound good. Just go for it. Singing makes you more alert, releases endorphins, and makes you happy! There are multiple studies on the benefits of singing. Here’s one quick link:



  • Practice Mindfulness. Hit the mental pause button and allow yourself to be in the moment with non-judgment, no labels, just observing with your senses what is. Many Mindfulness exercises are anchored to your breath, to help you slow down and deepen your breathing for an overall calming effect. You can Google Mindfulness exercises and find all you will ever need. More on the benefits of Mindfulness here:


  • Make something. Getting crafty releases some of that natural feel-good stuff in your brain called Dopamine. So decorate a cake, paint, color, knit, quilt, collage, sew, sidewalk chalk, macramé, or glue tongue depressors together. Use what you have in a new, interesting way. It doesn’t have to be pretty. This is about relaxing, but also experiencing the satisfaction of creating something. Here are two great articles: and



  • Make a fire. There is something so innately relaxing about sitting by the warm glow of a fire. There is research that suggests the flickering light, warmth, and gentle crackling sound of fire improves our mental health. This article has more insight: https://www.discovermagazine.c...ion-may-hold-the-key If you have marshmallows, chocolate squares, graham crackers, and a long stick, make s’mores! If you can’t have a fire, then light some candles for a similar effect.






 Shelli Altopp-Miller, LCSW, is a School Social Worker in the Finger Lakes Region of New York

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