When you take some time off work and you are home, it is easy to get bored because you are used to your daily routine of probably going to work and returning home too tired to engage yourself in other activities. A lot of us want days off work but become overwhelmed when the opportunity actually presents itself. You could be home on a vacation, on a work leave or recovering from an illness.
If this is you, then you may have been looking for ways to keep yourself busy , productive and entertained during such times. Especially when you are used to a rather fast paced schedule of going to the office, a relatively long vacation, if not properly planned can have an unhealthy effect on your psychological wellbeing.
Think of a lot of activities to engage in while at home on a leave or recuperating. I want you to look at this stay-at-home times as periods to develop yourself and do things you love to do, that you do not get the chance to do on a normal day because of your heavy routine.
This write-up is not exhaustive, I have designed it to give you a pointers to guide you navigate the periods where you necessarily have to be at home. While you may find some of my suggestions helpful, I encourage to explore other ideas that this material can trigger in your mind to help you optimize such periods.
It is easy to find writers and authors suggest to you to read, perhaps this is one thing we do most, because reading can be a very enjoyable activity when appreciated. Whether you are a writer, entrepreneur or someone who loves reading or not, may I suggest that you take a few hours of your day to read something, well nothing in particular, just read a helpful material.
Enlighten yourself. Keep up with trends. Learn new vocabulary. You could be reading a novel, a magazine or even an article online. Without the demands of your daily schedule, you can read a book from the beginning to the end if you put your mind to it.
If you enjoy browsing through social media, it is instructive to seize the opportunity to visit the pages of your favorite writers this will include your friends who share varied contents including links to relevant articles, short posts, satire and faith filled messages.
You have been giving the excuse of not exercising because you have too much on your plate. Well, now you don't- hilarious isn't it? Here’s your chance, put some exercise on your plate as well. The big idea is to stay at home and still enjoy a fun day burning some calories and keeping fit.
You have an excuse already? No you don't need a trainer…okay I have a trainer for you! Try online workouts to guide you. YouTube is a very large and resourceful site to start with. Make your search and learning fun and creative so that you enjoy it while staying fit. Look out for gym sessions and follow the instructions from your online trainer.
Try aerobics, cardio exercises and yoga. Remember that your health is very important. This could be the only time you have to catch up on self-care and staying fit before your daily routine kicks off again.
You probably have a tall list of movies you copied from friends a while back. Seize this opportunity to watch all the movies and series you have missed out on. Many of us probably do not know that when you pick a movie to watch, you are setting yourself up to encounter a lot of things we do not see with our eyes.
Movies or what we normally call "film" provoke all kinds of emotions. How? They can make you laugh, cry or even give you new ideas on how to go about things, or just make you take your mind off your monotonous routine of work for a while. Because of this, films have been developed into a form of therapy.
Film is considered to be an enormously effective complement to therapy, due to factors such as
- Intensity, because the stories, characters and scenarios are squeezed into a short amount of time
- Duration, as the length of a movie is equivalent to a long therapy session
- Learning, because films are allegorically like stories and fables; therefore you can take advantage of the cognitive effects of watching to formulate theories about learning, creativity and other.
- Identification, as many of us feel identified with movie characters
- Attention, the visual impact of film promotes concentration on the images.
- Social features, where watching and talking about a film with other people multiplies its value and serves as an integrative tool in therapy.
Beyond therapy you may want to consider the following factors
- Watching a movie can be revitalizing. It allows you to disconnect, relax, and have a good time.
- Film therapy uses scenes or entire movies to help people face fears. It helps them become aware of their fears so that they can work on overcoming them.
- It helps with relaxation. Because watching a film redirects attention towards an activity, it’s an excellent way to decrease anxiety.
- It drives motivation. When you watch a movie, you can find characters who help you find energy in your real life.
- Entertainment. Film also creates laughter and happiness. And there’s no doubt that it has immense influence over both mental and physical health
- Rethinking your negative thoughts. Through movies, you can find new perspectives that will help you reflect on and change your attitude.
- Development of creativity. There’s no doubt that the different perspectives you see in movies can change your mental schemas and push you to be more creative, flexible, and innovative.
- Improves personal relationships. Watching and commenting on a movie with friends and family has a huge social and emotional value.1.
There’s no doubt that they can make us happier and more complete if we let them. Now, you will agree that you need a movie or two whenever you are away from work.
Learn to dance
Dancegod Lloyd is a celebrated dancer, choreographer and dance coach, his style and stunts are just amazing. I enjoy watching his movies and mimicking some of his remarkable twists as he exhibits them gleefully. There are countless dance videos you can find online on dancing groups and professional dancers.
You don’t have to be boring, if you do not want to dance, just learn something new by all means, like, learn to cook a new meal. Learn to prepare a traditional or heritage meal you hardly get to buy in town. Just try your dancing shoes on to something new!
Start a business
Has it ever crossed your mind to start something of your own; something that can complement the work you already do? Maybe this is the time to take a critical look at that. I’m sure there is something on your mind you have not been able to implement yet, because you never had time on your hands. It could be something very simple that first sells to close friends and family.
If you already have a side business you run, take the opportunity to write or perfect your business plan. Ensure your business plan is up to date and meet the current dynamics of the business world. You may also want to ensure your business plan clearly factors and reflects your work routine, given that you are not fully available for the business as it is only a side hustle.
There are many things you can do concerning your business, but as I have mentioned this is not supposed to be an elaborate read. So just think broadly about your business, what can you do?
You may want to reconnect with your existing clients, send messages of appreciation to each one of them and let them know how thankful you are to have them do business with you. You know what you have just done? You have won the hearts of many of your clients who w be happy that you called in not to sell but just to extend your gratitude. You have made them feel special.
Take a nap
An equally important activity many of us take lightly is siesta. Yes siesta, you recall how most people used to dread it back in school? Well siesta is for our own good, it is not a sanction, it is on the other hand an important program that institutions put in place to ensure we reinvigorate after a busy day from class.
Be intentional about spending a few hours napping. Having enough rest has proven to be very rewarding and could leave you rejuvenated to resume work with a whole lot of energy.
If you're sleep deprived or just looking for a way to relax, you might be thinking about taking a power nap; a quick or fast sleep. Napping at the wrong time of day or for too long can backfire sometimes so it is important to understand how to get the most out of a nap.
Napping offers various benefits for healthy adults, including:
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory
Napping, however, isn't for everyone. Some people simply can't sleep during the day or have trouble sleeping in places other than their own beds, which napping sometimes requires.2.
However, napping is good for someone like you who is home on a vacation, on a work leave or recovering from an illness. You should consider adding it to your list of non-boring things.
Grow up spiritually
It doesn’t matter if you are a Muslim or a Christian or belong to other faith. We are all spiritual beings and need time to feed ourselves spiritually like we do physically. Indulge in spiritual activities like listening to sermons, praying and reading the Bible or the Quran. You will find doing these very satisfying.
You could be tempted to think that engaging in such activities during your stay-at home period is not so important. I will suggest that you associate equal importance you would have to your work every day to these as well.
There is a growing body of evidence indicating that spiritual practices are associated with better health and wellbeing for many reasons.
Some of these practices include the following;
- Meditation: This can induce feelings of calm and clear-headedness as well as improve concentration and attention. Brain researcher Richard Davidson’s research shows that meditation increases the brain’s gray matter density, which can reduce sensitivity to pain, enhance your immune system, help you regulate difficult emotions, and relieve stress.
Mindfulness: Meditation in particular has proven helpful for people with depression and anxiety , cancer , fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid athritis , type 2 diabetes , chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular disease .
Prayer: This may elicit the relaxation response, along with feelings of hope, gratitude, and compassion—all of which have a positive effect on overall wellbeing. There are several types of prayer, many of which are rooted in the belief that there is a higher power that has some level of influence over your life.
This belief can provide a sense of comfort and support in difficult times—a recent study found that clinically depressed adults who believed their prayers were heard by a concerned presence responded much better to treatment than those who did not believe.
- Journaling is another, often overlooked, contemplative practice that can help you become more aware of your inner life and feel more connected to your experience and the world around you. Studies show that writing during difficult times may help you find meaning in life’s challenges and become more resilient in the face of obstacles.
Some benefits of being involved in spiritual exercises
- A spiritual community can improve your life.
Many spiritual traditions encourage participation in a community. Spiritual fellowship, such as attending church or a meditation group, can be sources of social support which may provide a sense of belonging, security, and community. Strong relationships have been proven to increase wellbeing and bolster life expectancy, which is perhaps why one study found a strong association between church attendance and improved health, mood and wellbeing.
- Spiritual strength can help you overcome hardships.
Dr. Steven Southwick’s book, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, describes how some people overcome trauma such as abduction, war, and imprisonment—by seeking comfort in spirituality or religion. He gives examples where spiritual people find ways to “meet the challenge and continue with purposeful lives…they bounce back and carry on.”
- Forgiveness is good medicine.
Letting go of hurt, blame and negative feelings after a hurtful incident is a practice that is reflected by a number of spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. Modern science shows the health benefits of forgiveness are numerous: better immune function, longer lifespan, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and fewer feelings of anger or hurt.
- Spiritual people make healthier choices.
Adhering to a particular spiritual tradition may bring an indirect health benefit because many traditions have rules about treating the body with kindness and avoiding unhealthy behaviors. Research shows that perhaps because of these tenets, people who practice a religion or faith tradition are less likely to smoke or drink, commit a crime, or become involved in violent activity, and they are more likely to engage in preventative habits like wearing seatbelts and taking vitamins.
- Spirituality may help you live longer.
An exhaustive review that compared spirituality and religiousness to other health interventions found that people with a strong spiritual life had an 18% reduction in mortality. Giancarlo Lucchetti, lead author of the study, calculates that the life-lengthening benefits of spirituality can be compared to eating a high amount of fruits and vegetables or taking blood pressure medication.
Although some researchers have suggested that the extent of spirituality’s benefit on health is exaggerated, most researchers agree there is a positive relationship between religious and spiritual practices and better health outcomes.3.
‘It’s essential to draw up a “things to do” list on a daily basis and set priorities in executing them, making sure that any unfinished task gets posted to the next day’- Folorunsho Alakija, Vice Chair of Famfa oil.
Indulging in things outside work is a very easy way to release stress as you simultaneously contribute to your personal development.
1 Film Therapy: The Benefits of Watching Movies. Exploring Your Mind. April 3, 2020. ( https://exploringyourmind.com/film-therapy-benefits-watching-movies/ )
2 Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults. Healthy Lifestyle, Adult Health. April 3, 2020. ( https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthylifestyle/adulthealth/basics/staying-healthy/hlv-20049421 )
3 Why Is Spirituality Important? Taking Charge of Your Health &Wellbeing. University of Minnesota. April 3, 2020. (https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your wellbeing/purpose/spirituality/why-spirituality-important )
Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh is a corporate trainer and professional ghost writer assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency.
His initiative Role Model Africa has received mentions in Daily Graphic (Ghana), Daily Sun Newspaper (Nigeria) and Africa Rising (an offshoot of VOA) for its commitment to human capital development.
Samuel is an author and co-author of bestselling books including; Courting Greatness, Hello Intern and Career Advantage. He provides training to many companies including SME's and multinationals on topical workplace themes; Emotional Intelligence, Working Across Cultures, Customer Satisfaction, Effective Presentation & Public Speaking and Effective Team Building.