This is a strange and scary time for the world right now. We are all aware and watching the news on the spread of COVID-19. It seems to be almost unstoppable. All of the experts agree, the best possible thing we can do for ourselves, each other, and society as a whole is to STAY AT HOME to slow the spread. California has announced a “Shelter at Home” order, making it a misdemeanor to be out of your home unless it is for essential business. This is completely new for us! But for the sake of our health and especially our grandparents and immune compromised friends health, it’s time to step up and do our part. Our part is really just staying at home, staying healthy, washing our hands, and not going too crazy. So really, it’s not a lot to ask for a few weeks.
So, because we are all struggling, bored, worried and stressed, I wanted to put together some ideas of what to do. These are the things that are helping me stay busy and feel like I am using this time wisely!
- Do your laundry. I mean all of it. And put it all away! Every single piece needs a place, if it doesn’t have a place, get rid of it.
- Marie Condo your clothing. Toss the items you don’t love or wear anymore. If it doesn’t fit, toss it. If it doesn’t make you feel amazing, get rid of it! No one needs that kind of negative energy in their lives, especially now!
- Donate to a favorite charity. If the clothes you are getting rid of are still in good shape, donate them to a charity you love. They might not be taking anything for the moment, but when they do open back up again for business, they will need donations.
- Learn a language. This has been my favorite activity so far. There are free apps to help you. I have been using Duolingo. It is free and fun and I am learning something new. At the same time, to boost your learning, there are free Podcasts to help you learn new languages. I am listening to ‘Coffee Break Español’ on Podcasts through Apple.
- Binge watch en Español. Well, kind of. If you have the Spanish subtitles on, while watching some of the new Netflix shows, you can learn new words! Some shows on Netflix that have the Spanish subtitle option are: The Circle, 100 Humans, The Good Place, You, Self Made & Dirty Money. There are many others, this is just a small sample.
- Learn about yourself. Go online and take the http://www.16personalities.com. My husband and I both took it and it is very interesting. We learned a lot about our selves and why we act the way we do. For the record, I am an ENFP, aka The Campaigner. Campaigners are “True free spirits” and “thrive on new emotional connections” so this social distancing is really hard for me. Another quiz that I have heard to be insightful, is the 5 Love Languages. It is for couples struggling to communicate, which I’m guessing, we all need help with currently.
- Print out photos to hang! This one is especially close to my heart, for obvious reasons. We are so used to having our photos all digital, all the time, we forget to print them out and decorate our homes with these photos we love!! Enjoy them. Find peace in them. Show off your beautiful family portraits or your travel photos. We might not be able to travel for a long while, but we can cherish the trips we have been able to go on. If you are a past client, and want to print photos, let me know and I can help!
- Become a Minimalist. Every day go through one area and get rid of things you don’t use. Start small. For example, on day one, go through old make up and toss what is expired or not your style anymore. Day two, clear out under your bathroom sink. Day three, dig through your pantry and throw out the expired food.
- Plant a tree. If you have room in your yard, plant a tree. You will feel better getting outside and into some dirt, all while making the earth happier.
- Plant a Garden. Digging in soil is good for the soul. A veggie garden also provides for your family when the stores have a hard time keeping up with demand. Example one: Today. There is not a single carrot to be found in my whole county.
- Laugh. Find a great Podcast to listen to that you can’t help but laugh at.
- Take an online Class. There are so many free classes online to make yourself stronger and better at the end of all this crazyness. I am enrolled in one of the most popular ones, “The Science of Well-Being” by Yale University. https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being/home/welcome
- Go back to College. If you have been thinking about heading back to college to finish up that degree you never finished, now is a great time! All colleges have on-line courses, and most have short term classes available for the second half of the Spring semester.
- Read. All of those books you have collected over the years are just waiting for you to get back to them! What better time than now, when all we can do is stay home. Some of my favorites are: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, War Brides by Helen Bryan, The Tipping Point and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. If you don’t like reading, listening to audio books is also a great way to pass time.
- Support Small Businesses. If you are good financially, this is an important one to think about. Small businesses have been hit very hard by this Shelter at Home. Curbside pick up from local restaurants, gift cards for future use from retail shops, ordering online from artists, or joining a delivery wine club, are just a few ideas that can support small businesses.
- Go for a walk. Take your dog for a walk, take your kids for a walk, take yourself for a walk. Just avoid others when you do it.
- Create something. Get into painting or drawing. Shabby chic an old piece of furniture. Make a self portrait with your camera.
- Facetime your relatives. Everyone is feeling the effects of loneliness right now. This is especially hard on those who live alone or live in a care facility where they can no longer have visits. Remember you can still Facetime your friends and family, no matter where they are.
- Do therapy. I want to address this especially because I struggle with anxiety myself, and I have seen my friends struggling. This is a scary time in our lives. It is filled with uncertainties and loneliness. Our businesses are suffering, our relationships are put under stress, we miss our extended family, etc. And to add on to it, many of our coping mechanisms have been taken away; going to the gym to run off steam, playing at a park with our kids or dogs, going out dancing with friends, a night out at the movies and drinks with our spouses, getting a manicure… all of these things keep us sane and now we can’t do them. If you are feeling low, or having a hard time because you are stuck inside, or missing talking to your friends… maybe think about on-line therapy. It’s a good option to do from home. At the very least, I know TalkSpace has COVID-19 anxiety relief programs in place. Some of the resources are free. https://www.talkspace.com/blog/coronavirus-talkspace-resources/
That’s it! There is my list that should get me through the next weeks, or months. I hope there is something here for you also.
For myself, I also have this business to run. Luckily I do everything, except photoshoots, from home. I can keep editing and making my business stronger through marketing and learning all that I can in this unprecedented free time. Between building my business up and working on myself through business classes and personal photography, I feel like this break might actually be good for me.
I’m hoping everyone will be able to find the silver linings during this rough patch. We are very lucky that we live during a time where many of us can telecommute and work from home, children can still see their teachers through Zoom meetings, we can still ‘visit’ our grandparents through Facetime, or we can attend school through online classes. We have many options, I hope you are finding your joy and keeping from going crazy!
Remember to wash your hands and stay home! Stay healthy everyone!