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COVID-19: Why Building a Fort Can Improve Your Mental Health

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Being today is April Fools during a pandemic, it will be a bit harder to prank our friends and family and I’m not sure if many of us would appreciate that right now.  But being the day that it is, I still wanted to write something a little lighter.  I’ve been looking at people post their glamourus home offices with spectacular views of mountains and beautiful lakes or famous landmarks. 

Unlike these people, my home office consists of my laptop on my coffee table with views of all my neighbors’ backyards.  In an effort to make working from home a little more enjoyable, I built a fort.  I’ll be honest, it’s not the fanciest or sturdiest of forts. It likely won’t keep out a cat or dog, let alone enemy soldiers, but it’s MY fort.  And here’s a few reasons why building a fort is good idea:

  • Reminds us of our childhoods. Reminiscing about happy memories has been linked to improved mental health.  This study found that when younger adults reminisced about happy childhood experiences they were better at solving a problem, were in a better mood, and had improved temporary self-efficacy.  I have some great childhood memories of building forts with my brother and could use some mood boosting right now.
  • It will give you a sense of accomplishment. It’s hard to stay motivated right now, so this one minor accomplishment could give you that feeling you did something, and it was fun!
  • Gives you an opportunity to be creative. There is an abundance of research showing links between creativity and improved mental health. This article discusses all the healthy ways creativity can improve our mental health.  And building a fort requires a ton of imagination and creativity!
  • Adults still need to play. There are way too many benefits of play to list here in this article, however, I’ve included a great one here if you’d like to learn more.  Adults need play as much as children. Unfortunately, our lives can get so busy we can sometimes forget to play.  With things slowing down a bit, now is an opportunity to play some more and dust off those fort building skills.
  • Some exercise involved. I had to go up and down the stairs on several occasions to find things in the basement to help me build this fort. The positive effects of exercise on our mental health is just as important on our physical health.  And now that gyms and parks are closed we have to be more creative in our exercise. 

I could keep writing about all the amazing benefits of building a home office fort, but instead I challenge you to build one for yourself, with your kids if you have some, and send us a pic.  Let us know if you found the activity also mentally beneficial, and let’s see who can make the best home office fort!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christine Fuda is the Mental Health First Aid Coordinator at Ontario Shores. During the pandemic, she will be blogging regularly around the impact of COVID-19 from a mental health perspective. Send your suggestions for topics to @email

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