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10 productive distractions you can try right now

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Can’t take your mind off coronavirus right now? You’re not the only one. But obsessing over a situation that you can’t control (other than by staying home) isn’t doing you any favors. Here are some ideas to try instead.

1. Focus on your career

All UC locations have resources for professional development. Check out the resources offered by your local learning and development team, and check out systemwide offerings like the UC Learning Center, My UC Career, UC Systemwide People Management Series and Certificate or UC Managing Implicit Bias Series. The UC Alumni Career Network offers topical and informal professional advice from UC alumni in an array of industries. It’s also a great time to read articles or books about your chosen field.

2. Move your body

Don’t let your time at home turn you into a couch potato: A limitless number of online workout classes are available. And don’t worry if traditional exercise routines aren’t your thing. There are many ways to stay active from the comfort of your living room, including dance classes and hula hooping. If you’re an aspiring runner, consider Couch to 5K. If you live near somewhere with nature trails (and where it’s possible to practice safe social-distancing), head out for a hike. Some pro sports teams are stepping in to help keep you in shape. Follow the Warriors Basketball Academy and Warriors Dance Team on Instagram for live exercise classes.

3. Nerd out 

Almost all of us have a topic we’d love to lose ourselves in — from nutrition to historical events and people to video games. There’s never been a better time to lose yourself in exploring one of your passions. Try listening to UC-produced podcasts for insights on politics, art, science, technology, philosophy, wellness, entertainment and more. Feeling more visual? Check out the YouTube TED Talks channel.

4. Be social, virtually

Use video chat tools like Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, or Zoom to set up regular check-ins with your friends. And get creative: Host a virtual costume contest, break out facemasks and have a beauty party, start a book club, or plan to discuss a movie or TV series. 

5. Plan for your financial future

The stock market is looking a little less than stellar these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead. Watch free online financial planning webinars tailored especially for UC staff on topical ideas, such as navigating market volatility and the fundamentals of retirement income planning.

6. Get your hands dirty

If you have a garden space — or even a sunny windowsill, now’s a great time to put it to use. If you’re in an apartment or don’t have a yard, you can still enjoy beautiful houseplants or create an indoor veggie garden. Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby: You can even start your garden with kitchen scraps. And, the UC Master Gardener Program has lots of online resources to help. Plus, you’re finally home to water everything!

7. Boost your chopping chops

We all have to eat, so there’s no harm in having fun with the process! Check out our roundup of recipes from UC. Or, head over to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources for recipes from the food preservation pros — from pickles and salsa to jam, homemade cheese and more. You can also take cooking classes online.

8. Make something beautiful or useful

Now is a great time to pick up a new creative skill. Start playing an instrument; learn to sew, knit or crochet; master photography; or bring self-care to the next level with DIY beauty products.

9. Experience art

Staying home doesn’t limit your ability to experience and appreciate the arts. Listen to music and check out live video streams by your favorite artists; take advantage of virtual museum tours and connect with the literary community online. Sign up online for a library card to access books and movies from home. Listen to audiobooks. Ask your friends to share their creative projects.

10. Give back

It’s a difficult time for many charitable organizations as many people’s time and funds are limited. Reach out to organizations that share your interests — seniors, children, LGBTQ rights, animals, politics — and ask how you can help. Volunteer with your local food bank, give blood or offer to buy groceries or run errands for senior and immunocompromised neighbors. Consider volunteering online — an array of skills are needed, from writing uplifting cards to providing professional skills. 

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