20+ Creative Ways to Unwind During Physical Distancing (It’s not Puzzles)

Since completing the first month of lockdown, I’ve had several weeks to try out a tonne of unique and entertaining activities that are keeping me busy doing things I enjoy. By now, you know that tuning in to ‘living room’ concerts is an opportunity to get your fix of musical entertainment. And streaming the latest from Netflix has its place, too. The following ideas are different because they move you from an audience member to an active performer in your own entertainment.

In my last post, I mentioned that it’s important to schedule a routine that includes fun activities, giving yourself breaks from the constant media stream and work from home tasks that dominate your day. Make an appointment with yourself to unwind creatively. Some of the links go to support independent businesses in Saskatoon. Here are some options that you may not have tried yet:


  • Design a neighbourhood full of your dream homes in the Sims 4.
  • Order a themed takeout meal from your favourite restaurant to match your movie choice.
  • Play Jackbox with friends remotely.
  • Sing a karaoke duet with a friend on Smule.
  • Have a make your own pizza night.
  • Take a country drive and sing along to your favourite road trip songs. I like driving down to Whitecap Dakota First Nation for a short break. Blackstrap and Diefenbaker/Outlook would make a nice longer drive. It’s the cheapest time to get out on the open road.
  • Start your own plant seedlings. Start an apartment herb garden, or a small backyard container garden.
  • Watch the sunset and try to describe all the colours.
  • Play a Just Dance game. In my opinion, this is the most efficient way to bust stress.
  • Whistle a tune to your pet.
  • Choose a theme and host a family or friend dinner online. Selecting a theme makes it feel like you’re together.
  • Take friends on a “hyper-local wine tour” of your place. Visit the bathroom, the living room, etc.
  • Take a photo walk around your neighbourhood. Notice the things that you may not have seen before.
  • Create a self-portrait sugar cookie. Recreate your face on a simple round sugar cookie shape.
  • Rent a board game. If you like it enough, you can share another round with friends in the future.
  • Order a new book for curbside pickup. Browse books online and support a local author.
  • Play card games with friends. Psst… “Remote Sensitivity” is essentially Cards Against Humanity.
  • Browse renowned museums and galleries from your home.
  • Decorate your fence or front window.
  • Download, print, and colour drawings from artists around the world. Many artists are uploading their designs for free, or a small donation to charity.
  • Bird watch and try to name a few of the flocks that are coming back to town.

What have you been doing to unwind? Please don’t say puzzles.

A Weekly Routine to Help You Regain Focus When Life Gets Messy

Skip to: My Personal Weekly Routine

In mid-March, when Canada was in the initial stages of coronavirus lock down, my life felt out of control. On top of the external stress of a worldwide pandemic, I began an internal battle. My mood dipped, anxious thoughts kept me awake, my phone was at my face throughout the day (and night), my go-to after-work hydration was alcohol, my facial skin was dry and sore, and I felt drowsy.

I know I’m not alone. This pandemic is as much a mental health crisis as it is a public health crisis.

I had to remind myself about my personal routine; a weekly schedule of healthy habits that I created about six months ago. I originally designed it to help organize the internal clutter of my day-to-day and it has become a mainstay in the midst of uncertain times. My personal routine is comforting. Some days, it’s the only thing that can bring my focus back again.

This post is about how creating a personal routine could help improve your focus when life is a chaotic mess.

It has taken me years to determine how to set professional boundaries with myself and others. I balance self-employment with part-time employment. This requires a blend of working environments, but I’m mostly working from home. My biggest struggle with working from home is that it often leads to my needs being placed on the back-burner. Scheduling a personal routine helps me focus on my daily tasks while finally putting my health first.

Last fall, I developed a structured weekly routine that makes my wellbeing a priority. My routine has changed three times since. It changed after the coronavirus crisis. And I can guarantee it will change again before this is over.

Set Your Top Weekly Goals

When I accomplish my goals, I feel more in control of my life.

I set two major weekly goals: planning and preparing meals, and working out at least four times. I put both my meal plan and my workout plan in writing, so that I don’t have to constantly think about what I am going to do.

An added benefit of organizing meal prep is that our weekly grocery list is created at the same time. Now that we’re limited to one trip per week as the current recommendation, meal prep continues to make grocery trips focused and efficient.

Activity is also shown to improve mood and immunity, among its other positive benefits.

Seek Outside Support

Outside support means asking someone else for help to achieve your goals. If you live with your support person – wonderful! If not, seek encouragement and accountability from family, friends, and loved ones.

My husband has taken initiatives that make keeping our lifestyle easier and more connective. So far, he’s created a shared habit tracker chart; committed to being the household grocery guy; walks the neighbourhood with me daily; joins in guided mediations; and joins in virtual yoga. Having a supportive partner helps me maintain my personal routine long-term.


Feel free to use my weekly routine to build your own framework. I deliberately left out my work schedule and specific times so that you could create a weekly personal routine that’s unique to you. The point is that you create a routine that works right now, and plan to review and update every few months.

SundaySpiritual Community
Meal prep 4 hours preparing meals for the week
Optional walk
Personal grooming
MondayBook Club x1/mo.
Volunteer x1/mo.
60 min walk
Phone family member
Full body HIIT circuit
Text an old friend
WednesdayAdditional Meal Prep
Leg day
Dance drills
30 min walk
Friend date
FridayBike and abs
Date night or game night with friends
30 min cardio
Clean floors dust organize clutter
Meal plan, create grocery list
Fun afternoon activity
All activities and dates happen remotely from home. I haven’t seen my friends and family in person in over three and a half weeks. I miss your hugs and your faces. I can’t wait to see you again.

During the coronavirus lockdowns, my routine has become a source of comfort. This new lifestyle makes it easier to focus on taking care of my health. I’m grateful to past-me for carving this path and present-me for choosing to stick with it through unprecedented times.


  • waking up at a set time
  • taking a shower, brushing and flossing, applying face moisturizer
  • getting dressed in work clothes (weekdays) or comfy clothes (weekends)
  • 30 minutes minimum of physical activity
  • keeping phone in a separate room
  • drinking lots of fluids
  • planning for social connection
  • eating meals at regular times together
  • limiting alcohol consumption
  • making space for quiet time

Daily habit tracking seems insignificant at the time, but seeing the pixelated chart in our kitchen gives me visual motivation to be consistent everyday.

A personal routine is a source of comfort when the world is very uncertain. It gives my mind a chance to focus on what needs to be done each day and stop trying to manage everything internally. If you have been experiencing multiple weeks like my first week of lockdown, I encourage you to take some time to focus on what’s important to you. Once you create a weekly personal routine, don’t forget to track your daily habits. Since starting my routine six months ago, my day-to-day life has changed my focus for the better. I have a feeling yours will too.