Author: Mike Scaletti
The Bay is about to go back into lockdown, which means most people will be back to full quarantine. It can be easy for the stress and isolation to wear on your mental health, especially if you are feeling anxiety regarding other aspects of 2020. On that note, we thought it was high time we took a look at some of the best quarantine friendly activities you could engage in to help get you through the remainder of the pandemic and improve your mental health.
Adopt or Foster a Pet
Recently we shared with you Darcy's experiences fostering cats with Give Me Shelter. Many of us at The Job Shop also volunteer and work with Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue. Both organizations are always looking for volunteers, foster families, and adopters.
Whether you prefer cats, dogs, lizards, snakes, or any other animal, it's very likely that there is an adoption organization in your area that can get you set up to bring home your new best friend. Make sure you do your research first, as adopting a pet is a long term commitment and shouldn't be done on a whim, but if you decide that you are ready, adopting while sheltering in place is ideal, as it gives you plenty of time at home to spend with your new pal learning and getting to know each other.
Also, the mental health benefits of caring for a pet cannot be overstated. If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, or any of a myriad of other struggles, pets have been shown time and time again in research to help immeasurably.
Okay, so we know we're not the first to suggest this. The number of sourdough starters that have proliferated over the course of 2020 must be absolutely staggering. That said, if you've yet to try your hand at making a fresh-baked loaf, there is no better time than now!
In my house, we have had fresh-baked sourdough at least once a week for most of the year, and let me tell you, it's been wonderful. There is NOTHING like slathering butter over a thick slice of sourdough that is still warm from the oven. Add a little jam or preserve and you have yourself a relatively healthy dessert. Plus, it makes your home smell incredible!
You don't need to just stop at bread though. Brownies, cookies, banana bread, coffee cake, pumpkin bread, pies, there are an endless variety of tasty treats that you can pull from your oven to add a little extra joy to your life.
Read a Good Book
I'll be honest, I have absolutely let my reading fall behind this year. With everything else going on, it had felt hard to take the time to sit down with a good book. That said, over the course of the last month or so I have tried to make time, once every few days at least, to sit down and read. It really is incredible what it does for your mental health.
Whether you're looking for pure escapism, to broaden your horizons, or to learn new things, books can provide. For myself, I'm a bit of all three. I read a lot of escapist fantasy novels, but also try to read books that will provide me with the knowledge and context I need to be a more well-rounded person. This is my current reading list. Feel free to share what good books you're reading or wanting to read right now!
The Sellout-Paul Beatty
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Calypso - David Sedaris
Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis
Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
The Undoing Project - Michael Lewis
A Burning - Megha Majumdar
Since I Laid My Burden Down -Brontez Purnell
If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler - Italo Calvino
Jericho Brown - The Tradition
The Inheritance Trilogy- NK Jemisin
Dreamblood Duology - NK Jemisin
Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James
The Water Dancer - Ta-Nehasi Coates
The City of Brass - SA Chakraborty
Rosewater - Tade Thompson
Everfair - Nisi Shaw
Olandria - Sofia Samatar
Earthseed - Octavia Butler
Kindred - Octavia Butler
Are Prisons Obsolete? - Angela Y. Davis
Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California - Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition - Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Abolition Now!: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex - The Cr10 Publications Collective
The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
On the Other Side of Freedom - DeRay McKesson
No matter what you do to pass the time and ease your anxiety during this period, the most important thing to remember is that, in the words of an old truism, "this too shall pass". This has been a hard year. Focus on yourself, do what you can to maintain your mental health, reach out to whatever support network you might have, and eventually we'll all get through this.