How San Antonians Can Minimize Screen Time and Stay Healthy While in Coronavirus Isolation

click to enlarge How San Antonians Can Minimize Screen Time and Stay Healthy While in Coronavirus Isolation
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Technology has enabled students and working adults to carry on their duties remotely from a computer screen as they weather the COVID-19 crisis at home.

And when it’s time to play, homebound fun during this period of isolation might look like switching from a work screen to an entertainment screen. A Nielson report predicts a 60% rise in media consumption in the United States during the pandemic.

However, all that screen time may not be the best idea when personal health should be our foremost concern. In addition to letting our bodies languish, studies show a correlation between excessive screen use and mental illness.

So, how do you keep your kids and yourself from melting into a blob in front of a glowing screen during this period or self-isolation? We’ve put together a list of at-home activities to keep the whole family mentally and physically stimulated without relying on phones, computers or TV.

Plant a Spring Garden

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the last freeze for the San Antonio area was March 5, meaning many seeds are ready to go under the soil. Beans like lima, pinto and pole are ready to be planted outdoors, as well as corn, okra, cantaloupe and pickling cucumbers. Grocery store shelves might be empty of soap and toilet paper, but nobody seems to be hoarding soil or compost. Plus, local nurseries including Tillage Plants and Evergreen Garden are starting to deliver. Make gardening an all-family event by working together to build a raised-bed garden box or creating potting competitions to see who can grow the largest cucumber.

Take Turns Being Chef

Let's face it, with family members cramped together, some activities can give us a little room while still benefitting everyone in the household. This could be a good time to dust off family recipes or cookbooks and have each member of the family take turns being chef for the night. Make it fun by drawing names out of a hat to determine who's chef-for-the-day, or team up and create a dad-and-daughter cooking team or sibling cooking team and so on.

Write a Letter

Write a friend, write to yourself ten years from now, create journal entries and read them together as a family. The pandemic has left scientists, leaders and everyday citizens in unchartered territory. Writing can be a way to document this unusual time from your own unique perspective. It can also be a form of expression in a time of isolation and a way to manage stress and anxiety. The CDC suggests connecting with others and talking about your concerns to cope with stress over COVID-19. Writing may help this process.

Get Moving

The CDC encourages exercising regularly and taking care of your body to maintain mental and physical health during the outbreak. For those used to daily exercise, keeping up with physical goals may be a good way to maintain a grip of normalcy. For those seeing more idle time than usual, this could be a good time to start that couch-to-5k challenge, change that flat bicycle tire or initiate family walks around the neighborhood. With the social distancing requirements to remain six feet away from other people, outdoor exercise can be a healthy tool to boost immunity during the outbreak.

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