Got the Quarantined Blues? Boredom Busters for Homebound Hygienists

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The world as we know it is very different right now than just two weeks ago. Handwashing hopefully has become a highly popular activity, and we are learning new terms such as “social distancing.”

Sporting events are canceled; schools are closed; grocery stores have limited supplies of goods; bars, restaurants, and tourist hot spots are closed; and hotels and airlines are seeing greatly diminished activity. With the unseen enemy known as COVID-19 in our midst, it’s advised to self-quarantine − even for those who show no sign of illness − to help “flatten the curve” of this disease and the daily cases that can overwhelm our health care system. So please be smart and responsible and do your part to help by staying home as much as possible.

As we are being good citizens, protecting ourselves and others by staying home and away from the general population, the question then becomes: What in the world is there to do? I’ve compiled some suggestions to hopefully help make your quarantined time as productive, interesting, and maybe even fun as possible.

  • Clean, it’s almost time for spring cleaning, so get a head start. Baseboards, closets, drawers, curtains, you name it. Clean like crazy. It makes a healthy home, and you’ll love it afterward!
  • Get those projects started that you’ve always wanted to do or finish up those you started and have not had the time to finish. Painting? Purging? Redo that old piece of furniture? Now is the time.
  • Learn a new hobby! Maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga. Go online and give it a try. New language? Calligraphy? The possibilities are endless.
  • Read a book, newspaper, or Kindle version. Better yet, start an online book club via Skype, Facetime, etc. You can meet with friends and discuss the book and whatever else and still be safely separated.
  • Netflix and chill. Tons of great movie options are available through Netflix. They even have a new option to have a Netflix Party via a Google Chrome extension, so you can watch with friends during our social distancing. I don’t recommend this for the entire duration, but a day or two couldn’t hurt.
  • Attend online church service with your family.
  • Start your exercise program. If you live in tighter confined areas with lots of people, stick to exercises within your home, such as floor exercises, treadmill, and medicine balls. Online exercise sites such as eFit30 and Fitness Blender are free and help get you started. If you are in more remote spots, go for a long walk, bicycle, take a hike, run outdoors, and do your burpees in the sunshine.
  • Start a blog.
  • Play with the dog. In some scenarios, our pets are normally at home while we are working. So take this opportunity to interact with your fur baby. Again, engage in outdoor activities if possible, and if not, maybe teach them a new trick inside and give them plenty of love and belly rubs. Extra treats are allowed as well.
  • Keep a quarantine journal. It could be fun to look back on this experience once all of this is behind us.
  • Do some online CEs. I had planned to attend the Hinman like many of you. Now that it has been canceled, I need other options to get those credits.
  • Work in your yard, if possible. Rake, burn leaves, get your soil ready, and prep the dirt for the flowers and gardens you plan to plant in a few weeks.
  • Start an herb garden; you can order online herb kits to grow in your kitchen and reap the benefits of yummy additions to your home-cooked meals.
  • Clean out your emails.
  • Spend time teaching your kids more life skills such as doing laundry, balance a checkbook, writing and addressing a letter, changing a tire, or gardening, just to name a few.
  • Call your mother/father/grandparents/grown children.
  • Have a special date night with your spouse, make a tasty dinner and dessert, light those candles, play a game, watch a movie or dance in your living room to “your song.”
  • Clean out your refrigerator, take this time to organize, wash the bins and doors and get rid of any old bottles or lost fruit and veggies that may be hiding in there.
  • Play with your children, build a blanket fort, dance, draw, sing, or watch movies. There are numerous free online sites that are fun learning sites that you can access for your children.
  • Pray for our nation.
  • Clean your car! Get rid of the trash, toys, fries that have ended up between the seats, scrub it inside and out if the weather permits. Don’t ya love a clean car?
  • Enjoy not wearing a bra. ?
  • Indulge in some self-care: facials, hair treatments, brushing, and flossing. Do your nails, meditation, or stretching.
  • Take a virtual trip to museums, zoos or aquariums, especially during this time when most venues are closed. There are online apps for watch your favorite critters.
  • Have a scavenger hunt for your children, just hide several items throughout the house and see who finds them all first.
  • Try to catch up on laundry, hahaha!!!
  • Review your monthly expenses and get rid of any bills for things you really aren’t using, cancel unnecessary subscriptions, and renegotiate others bills for better rates.
  • Have an indoor picnic.
  • Bake with your kids. It’s fun and teaches them about science, measuring, math, and you get to eat your creations.
  • Purge your closet for clothes and handbags you no longer wear or want and post them on selling sites such as Poshmark to make a little cash.

These next suggestions are ways to help others while we are dealing with our new normal:

  • Offer to run quick errands or get groceries for an elderly neighbor. They can leave you a check or cash in an envelope, and you can leave the groceries or items at their doorstep to limit exposure between people.
  • Offer to do food deliveries for school-aged children that depend on school for their normal meals.
  • Support your local economy by taking advantage of the take-out options at restaurants. Most are offering curbside service right now.
  • If you are grabbing fast food at a place where the dining room is closed and see a truck driver, offer to place his order also as they can’t use the drive-thru, and most won’t allow you to walk through the line.
  • Grab some gift cards from your favorite local small businesses. They get the cash right now to use and keep their business going, and you can use the cards later whenever you like.
  • Have pizza, chicken fingers, biscuits, or whatever you choose delivered to your local hospital. Our health-care providers are seriously overworked during this virus and would greatly appreciate food onsite to snack on.
  • Some older individuals are not very techy. Offer to set up a way for them to video call or Skype with loved ones. Again, you can retrieve the phone from their doorstep, install the app for them, wipe it down, and return it. It may be their only way to “see” loved ones for a while.

I know it may be boring and even frustrating to just be at home all the time. But hopefully, entertaining some of the ideas on this list will help to alleviate that. If you’ve accomplished some neglected tasks, learned something new and feel that you’ve passed the time in a meaningful, deliberate way. My desire is that you will feel as though this period wasn’t just a lost few weeks, and maybe you will even feel you’ve gained from it.

Stay Healthy & Good Luck!

Now Listen to the Today’s RDH Dental Hygiene Podcast Below:

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Kim Kiser, RDH
Kim Kiser, RDH, whose career spans over 30 years, looks forward to sharing tips and topics that other fellow hygienist may find helpful, funny, and educational in their pursuit of ultimate care of their patients. A 1992 graduate of Trident College, Kim has a passion for educating patients with the best and most up to date products and techniques available, so patients fully understand how to properly be the best advocate in the care of their own oral health. Kim is a mother of 2, with one granddaughter, and resides in the beautiful North Georgia mountains with her husband, Mark. Outside of her love for dentistry, Kim also enjoys baking, gardening, painting, and enjoying all the beauty North Georgia has to offer.