By Josh Baez, Client Engagement Manager at Heinz Marketing

While states’ stay-at-home orders are having some tremendous effects on flattening the curve of covid-19 infections, being home 24/7 isn’t exactly idyllic. Still, this kind of stuff is saving lives; so if some physical distancing is what that costs, then I’m all for it.

But it’s not that staying home (and away from others) is necessarily hard, it’s that it’s boring. Day to day routines don’t change. Weekdays to weekends have few differences between them. And now, even once-trivial tasks like going to the grocery store can feel exciting simply because you get to leave the house. (Oh, how I miss visiting plant stores…)

But physical activities like walks, runs, and workouts aren’t the only things to do in quarantine. Because while keeping your body active is good, keeping your mind active is just as important. And while there are some nights when all I want to do is close my computer, crack open a Whiteclaw (#AintNoLaws), and mindlessly binge-watch season 10 of Survivor for the umpteenth time; there are other nights when I (to my mother’s surprise, I’m sure) crave a little more edutainment in my media consumption.

So, when the workday’s done and you’re looking for something on offer that’s not another physical activity, here are 4 ways to keep your mind sharp during quarantine.

1. Crosswords

Crosswords in particular are my (and my partner’s) favorite because:

  • You can do them alone
  • You have thousands to choose from
  • They strengthen your vocabulary
  • And there are new ones posted every day

What’s better is crosswords have varying degrees of difficulty, so if you’re looking for something easy you can start with a Monday; and if you’re looking to up the ante, you can try your luck with a Saturday.

Personally, I’ll stick to the Mondays.

2. Reading Materials

The last thing I want to do is read the news to “relax.” Which is especially difficult during a global pandemic. During quarantine you likely have more time than you otherwise would to sit down and read. And while reading books is an obvious choice, if you don’t own any books (or if you’re like me and you just don’t enjoy reading books) there are plenty other options available. Here are a couple of my favorite things to read:

Comic books

Look, I love reading comics and I think they have a lot more to offer than most people give them credit for. While there are the obvious Batmans and Spider-Mans to read, there are also comics for genres like horror, drama, action, and mystery.

If you’re interested in comics at all but also don’t want to spend the money to get into them, I recommend the app Hoopla (which is also good for most types of content). With your library card, you can easily (and instantly) borrow digital movies, music, eBooks, and comics directly from your library. Super easy! And you support your local library in the process. Win-win!

The Whippet, by McKinley Valentine

This is a fortnightly newsletter I heard about through a podcast I’ve since fallen in love with. It compiles a handful of fun and/or interesting topics, articles, and stories that could cover anything and everything from iron-eating mice to abandoned islands to deaths of Roman emperors to unsolicited relationship advice.

It’s especially fantastic because it promises (and delivers on) zero mentions of contemporary politics making it an increasingly necessary reprieve amidst times like these. Definitely worth a read if you’re looking to spice up your inbox!

3. LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a paid resource from LinkedIn that offers thousands of video courses taught by industry experts on business, selling, marketing, creative, and software skills. It’s a resource we at Heinz Marketing have recently purchased as well and have loved!

Whether you want to learn about copywriting, reporting, SEO, website practices, communication styles, management techniques, or any other kind of business-related skill, LinkedIn Learning makes it easy to find what you’re looking for and learn hassle-free to your heart’s content.

At Heinz Marketing, we’ve started to have weekly LinkedIn Learning discussions where we all watch a course on our own and then meet to discuss it: what we thought was interesting, what we found valuable, and how we think we could implement the learnings into our own business.

Fun for the whole family!

4. The Elevate App

If you’re looking for a way to train your brain that doesn’t require loads of time, then the Elevate App is a fantastic solution. While the app does charge a $40 yearly fee, it’s one of the rare few that actually delivers on its promises: keeping your mind sharp, boosting your productivity, and building your confidence in personalized focus areas such as math, writing, reading comprehension, speaking, and listening.

The app recommends you “train daily,” which means every day—I like to do this first thing in the morning after I wake up—you’ll open the app, play through 5 different mini games focused around improving certain skills (like those mentioned above), and you’re done! The app then tracks your progress, recommends areas of improvement, adjusts the next day’s lessons accordingly. Bingo-bango-bongo, you’re done until tomorrow in no more than 5 minutes!

 

If you’re feeling unproductive, unfocused, or uninspired during the quarantine, you’re definitely not alone. But keeping your mind sharp with puzzles, brain games, and can definitely help get the spring back in your step.