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As I’m writing this, my family and I have been practicing social distancing for a little over a week.
At first, it wasn’t that difficult. For me, there was even a little undercurrent of excitement about the whole thing. I felt a little like I do when getting ready to hunker down for a big winter storm.
However, nine days in, I realize that the challenge we’re facing now is nothing like a snow day. It’s an entirely different animal and the cabin fever is starting to settle in. And, depending on who you are, where you live, and what you do, your experience during this crisis may be completely different than mine.
Many nurses, doctors, pharmacy, grocery workers, and people in other vital segments of the economy are giving their all at this time. For those people, social distancing is not a possibility. If that’s the situation for you or someone in your family, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your sacrifice. Your willingness to serve means everything to our country at this time.
Others, including myself, are doing our part to aide in the fight against the spread of illness and are staying home.
Avoiding Cabin Fever
For me, that means I have my mom, her cat, my husband, and our dog all cooped here in our house. Normally, we are very busy, active, social people. So there is a real potential for us to get cabin fever and/or on each other’s nerves!
As days are now stretching to weeks, I realize that we need to tackle the situation proactively. Rather than let things get the best of me and my family, I want to do whatever I can to help each of us make the most of this time – turning lemons into lemonade if you will.
After all, how many times have you said to yourself, ”If I only had the time, I would…”
Well, my friends, now we do have time. Here are ten ideas for making this very strange time productive and even worthwhile.
1. Get outside and exercise
Getting exercise is important for your body, mind, and spirit! It can be easy, and even tempting, to stick yourself in front of the tv and watch the news. But that’s just not good for you.
If at all possible, take time each day to get outside, even if it’s just to walk around the block. Better yet, go on a run or even a hike on a trail near your home. But let me emphasize – even if you’re outside, you still need to practice social distancing! Stay at least 6 feet away from others! Some states are telling people to “shelter-in-place” and stay home. So if getting outside isn’t an option, try an indoor workout. I just realized that my Amazon Prime members have access to lots of free video workouts. I found some chair aerobic classes for my mom that has been a big help!
2. Begin your garden plans
Let’s hear it for spring! With the weather starting to warm up, this is the perfect time to get outside and think through your summer garden plans. Begin weeding and getting the garden beds prepped for planting. You can also plant some seeds in pots then place them in a sunny window to give flowers or veggies get a head start for later planting.
3. Try new recipes
When life is just too busy, it’s so easy to buy sliced bread and rely on pre-packaged or pre-made meals. Use this time when you’re home to spend a little extra time in the kitchen, making homemade meals that everyone will look forward to and enjoy. Nothing says love like a loaf of homemade bread or the tantalizing smell of a simmering stew. And watch out for some of my upcoming recipes which will be focusing on pantry-friendly items, such as my Best Baked Rice Pudding.
4. Have a picnic in your yard
This idea is so fun and will give you a much-needed change of scenery – nothing beats cabin fever like escaping the house, however far you get. It’s also an opportunity to support a small business in your area. Consider getting some takeout from a local restaurant, then enjoying it in your backyard on a sunny day!
5. Call your friends and family you haven’t heard from in a while
When we’re busy, it’s easy to get away from calling our friends and family. Now is the ideal time for a good, long chat with those people who’ve been meaning to call for some time. Be sure to connect with those you love and miss, and also make sure they’re doing okay. Those who are elderly or live alone really need to hear from friends right now.
6. Look for a way to help others around you
This is an excellent time to look for a way to make a positive impact. As we sit and watch the world seemingly crash around us you can make a difference. If this is an option, find someone in your neighborhood who might be high risk and offer to help them by getting groceries, making them a meal, or running an errand. If you can’t run errands for friends, just checking in with a daily phone call can make a big difference to someone who is lonely.
7. Read a book
This one is a no brainer in my world! There is a stack of books that I’m always working on reading. Having some extra time has really helped me to make a dent my to-be-read pile. While my ability to travel is restricted, I’m especially interested in books that take me to new cultures, countries, or on new adventures.
8. Take an online course or take on a new hobby
This is an excellent time to learn something new. Have you ever dreamed of being a photographer, a bookstagrammer, a chef, or learning a new language? This is a great time to take up a new hobby, or to hone new skills in one you already enjoy. For me, this means digging out that specialty ruler I bought a while ago and finally learning to make pineapple quilt blocks. What about you?
9. Organize and clean
Oh boy, the list is long here. So many things need my attention – the spare bedroom closet, the fridge, my desk drawers, not to mention the sewing room! There is an endless list of places to clean and organize. I am hoping to balance these productive tasks with some fun as well. Make a list of spots that need to be organized and break up the job into doable, daily bites. It will feel so good to get to the end of the day and know you’ve accomplished something!
10. Netflix and chill
This means Virgin River, sweatpants, and popcorn in the Bostwick family! And doesn’t that sound nice? I rarely have time to binge-watch tv or watch all of the movies I would love to see. My personal challenge is to watch movies or television programs that are based on books I’ve loved.
There’s no doubt that we’re facing difficult days just now. I doubt even the most introverted among us would have raised our hands and volunteered to participate in weeks of social distancing (and tempting cabin fever). But, as long as we’re in this, let’s do everything we can to make this time as meaningful, enjoyable, and productive as possible!