Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

HABIT Healthy Action to Benefit Independence & Thinking

Welcome to the HABIT page for people living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and program participants.  The HABIT Program is for individuals with MCI and their loved ones to learn the best strategies for adapting, coping, and living their best lives with MCI.

Follow the HABIT page to receive updates and information about adjusting to MCI and combating dementia. Our goal is to connect you with others and provide you with information and support.

Apr 14, 2020

Tips to Cultivate Mindfulness at Home

By Dr. Stella Tran, @stellatran

couple holding old photo

While social distancing, many of us face a common problem: our home environments are becoming too familiar.

Remember when the living room couch felt like an inviting place of repose after a completing the day’s errands? Now that that pandemic has taken hold of our routines, that same couch may feel less like a reward. Your house slippers, which you used to wear only at night, have now become your daily kicks. The rest of your footwear is gathering dust.

When we shelter in place, our relationship with our place of shelter changes.

Yet closer proximity to everyday, boring objects offers an opportunity to be intentional and mindful of the spaces we occupy. To borrow the language of art, we can make “the familiar strange.”

Within the confines of our familiar walls, you can still find many things to explore. Here are some ideas of how to apply the principles of mindfulness to unlock familiar strangeness.

The Museum of Your Home

We all accumulate a lot stuff over time. Consequently, we are surrounded by artifacts from our lives that have gone unnoticed for years. Take a moment to identify and appreciate an object from your past. Do you have an heirloom from a parent? Do you have a drawing from a grandchild? Do you have a series of portraits on your fireplace mantle that you usually pass without notice? What is the story of that item? Share that story with a friend or family member, in person or via video call, and invite them to share their object’s story with you.

Mindful Activity

Identify a regular activity where you can commit full presence and awareness. Washing dishes is a great activity to cultivate mindfulness because it’s a multi-sensory experience, and it’s usually done on autopilot. When washing dishes, pay attention to the smell of the soap, the temperature of the water, the sound of the silverware clanking against the sink, the texture and color of each dish.  We can use the same principle when washing our hands (for 20 seconds each time throughout the day).

Date Night

Staying at home shouldn’t stop you from sharing a romantic evening with your partner or yourself. Transform your dining room by turning on ambient light, breaking out the special tableware, playing relaxing music, or trying a new recipe. You may even want to change out of those house slippers!

Consuming News

While it’s important to stay updated on local and state recommendations for staying safe, be intentional of where and when you consume news. For some, being inundated with reports about every aspect of the pandemic can be a source of stress. Consider restricting media intake. Watch for a half hour in the morning and/or afternoon, then save your nights for reading or other relaxing activities. Consider designating a stress-free zone (such as the bedroom) and avoid consuming news in these spaces.

We would love to hear your creative ideas on how to be intentional about your living spaces!

Join members sharing creative ways that they are spending time at home in the COVID-19 group.


Very thoughtful reminders on how to smell the roses. I was a Road Warrior for much of the 80s and began journaling to create a sense of place. I've kept the habit and have 40 years on three shelves.


Wonderful ideas to combat for sheltering in place boredom. Thank you!

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