Nicolas Gallagher, LMSW
Life in social distancing has been a difficult adjustment for most individuals and families. You deserve a pat on the back for making it this far, so take a moment and congratulate yourself for making it through. It has been hard. With the announcement that schools will not be reconvening until the fall, we’ve got some ways to go before all of this is over. While it has been hard, we will get through this as we work together.
Getting through the past few weeks may have exhausted some of your ideas on how to spend the time. After all, there’s only so many rounds of Uno! you can play before you’re ready to rip up that Draw 4 card. Luckily, we’ve compiled some resources that may help give you ideas on how to stay busy and take care of your needs for the next few weeks.
If you do not have access to the internet but have someone in your household who is a student (K-College) or an educator, Spectrum is offering 60-day internet access for free. You can find more information on the offer and apply at https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/coronavirus-covid-19-educational-internet-offer. Low-income households may also qualify for a reduced rate on internet services. The requirements and application for this service can be found at https://www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist.html.
According to Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist who came up with a theory on the order of importance of human needs, basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety have to be met before we can be really meet our needs of being a part of a community and finding happiness.
For many families, those needs are being put in jeopardy by loss of income due to social distancing. Midland County has partnered with United Way’s 211 Website to act as a hub for getting people connected to additional resources available in response to the pandemic. Whether it be food assistance, help with bills, or applying for unemployment, you can find resources there. The 211 Website can be found at https://www.211nemichigan.org/covid-19.html.
Education and Entertainment:
While the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library is closed for browsing, you can still borrow electronic books, audio books, magazines, music and more through their website with a valid library card. With up to ten borrows a month, everyone in the family can find something just for them! You can browse the Library’s resources at https://www.gadml.org/ebooks.
Bring the science lab to your living room without the mess! The Michigan Science Center is currently offering ECHO Live! science experiment demonstrations every weekday at 2:30 pm. You can also find links to their previous broadcasts on their website if you can’t make it for the live broadcast. Their website is https://www.mi-sci.org/.
A local studio, Alignment 8 Yoga and Cycle, opened their virtual classes to all. You do not need a membership to participate! The studio is offering multiple classes a day; choices range from different styles of yoga, spin, and strength and stretch classes. You can view the schedule and gain access to the classes at https://www.alignment8.com/class-schedule.
On his YouTube Chanel, The Body Coach TV, Joe Wicks is providing “P.E. with Joe” videos at 9 am every weekday. Lasting about a half-hour, they are aimed at both kids and adults to be able to stay active from home. These videos can also be replayed on demand so you can build exercise into your routine wherever it fits best. You can find The Body Coach TV at https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1.
If you or your older children have always wondered what it would be like to be enrolled at an Ivy League School, or are looking to develop new skills through college learning, FreeCodeCamp has put together a list of over 450 courses that can be audited for free online. Whatever your interest is, there’s likely a course for you! Check it out at https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/ivy-league-free-online-courses-a0d7ae675869/.
If you have the space and the means, some families have been assembling do-it-yourself obstacle courses inside or outside with household odds and ends. Run zigzags between Rubbermaid bins, limbo under the broom held up by two lawn chairs, and army-crawl under the coffee table to burn off some excess energy. For added fun, keep time and see who can run the course the fastest! For more ideas, check out the article here https://www.fatherly.com/play/how-to-build-an-obstacle-course-living-room/.
Even when times are tough, contributing to the community can help us all get through the crisis. Giving back to others also creates positive feelings of pride, accomplishment, and empathy. It helps us to feel a little more in control in uncertain times. In addition to helping people gain access to basic needs, 211 is hosting sign-ups for healthy volunteers right here in Midland. There are lots of opportunities throughout the month to help prepare, organize, and distribute food to families in need in our community. Their volunteer sign-ups can be found at https://eportal.unitedwaymidland.org/servlet/eAndar.article/645/COVID-19-VOLUNTEER-OPPORTUNITIES.
Practicing mindfulness can be a great way to reset your thinking, calm your body, and take a break from everything that is going on. The Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education is offering guided mindfulness sessions over the internet hosted live, every weekday. Their schedule and links to join can be found at https://www.mc4me.org/events.html.
Have you ever wondered what science has to say about happiness? The hugely popular Yale course, The Science of Well-Being is free to audit through Coursera. Through it you can learn what research has to say about what humans need to be happy and how to build habits into your life. While not recommended as a substitute for therapy, this course can give you a broader understanding of the components needed for a meaningful life. You can find the course and sign up here https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being?ranMID=40328&ranEAID=EHFxW6yx8Uo&ranSiteID=EHFxW6yx8Uo-.uLuPn2MieBhuQZx7IMA2Q&siteID=EHFxW6yx8Uo-.uLuPn2MieBhuQZx7IMA2Q&utm_content=10&utm_medium=partners&utm_source=linkshare&utm_campaign=EHFxW6yx8Uo.