It's the big hot topic of the day, the COVID-19 aka Coronavirus. We are currently living in some crazy times full of fear and anxiety, but it is also an opportunity to band together for the greater good of our world. This is a unique way for us to do things we might regularly push off because we don't have time or energy. I hope some of these ideas are helpful for you during social distancing and help you feel a little more connected in our currently isolated world!
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As we hunker down and stay at home, it may at first seem like there are plenty of things to do. But after a while of doing the same things, boredom might start to set in and you might start to feel a little stir crazy. Have no fear, ideas are here!
** All images throughout this post are my own from my trip to Norway back in 2016. I thought they were pretty and wanted to use them to make this post pretty!
I think right now with the reason why we are in self-isolation is because there is a crazy virus out there, one of the first ways people are spending their time is cleaning. Hence the shortage of Clorox wipes, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer. Everyone is going on a cleaning journey to rid their homes of those little germy buggers and keep themselves healthy.
Taking this time to do a deep clean of your home is a great way to spend those first few days. Open the windows and go nuts! Dust those knick knack shelves! Really scrub behind the toilet! Get a paint roller and disinfect the ceiling! Maybe just kidding on that last one unless you are a family of giants and have hair that brushes the ceiling. I literally can't relate to that since I am not tall.
Go Through Your Sh*t
Yup, we are getting a little PG here with our language, but go through your stuff (you're welcome, now you can read this in front of your kids). Go in your closet and rummage around in there for all the things you haven't used in years. Do you really need that letter from 2004 that your ex-boyfriend wrote you? Do you really need that old Bath and Body Works container of body glitter that you keep for nostalgia (although you could probably sell that on ebay for some good money)? Do you really need to keep those taunting jeans you have from before you had babies that will never fit you again but hope maybe someday they will?
GET RID OF IT!!
I love sending my clothes that no longer make me happy to ThredUP. With the self-isolation, you can take some time to go through your closet and get rid of all the clothes you no longer wear, then get credit or a payout to save or get new clothes that you will actually enjoy! I am embarrassed by how much clothing I have sent to ThredUP, but also love that I get credit that I can use to get pieces that I wear all the time. You can order a clean out kit, or request a shipping label so that you can send your clothes on their merry way and never look back!
You know that to-be-read (TBR) list of books you keep on Goodreads, in your head, or in a journal? Get to it! There are a lot of independent bookstores that are taking online orders instead of allowing patrons in their stores. This is a great way to continue supporting your local bookstore (or buy yourself a gift-card for when the self-isolation is over) and have books to read.
Another great way to get books is on your phone, tablet, or Kindle through your local library. You can request a book and read as many as you want by borrowing them from the library so that your library can stay in use. Take this time to better yourself with a good story or an informative read that will bring a little joy to your life!
Make Your Own Outdoor Playground
If you have kiddos, this is going to be hard for them, too. Since Lydia is under two, I feel lucky because she isn't in school yet and is the type of kid who is pretty good at entertaining herself at home. However, it is really good for her and any child to go outside and play in a bigger space as well as get fresh air.
My mom was kind enough to order a slide for Lydia at my Target for me to pick up. We got this Little Tikes first slide for her and she absolutely loves it! It is added to our outdoor playground of a Little Tikes mini trampoline that Aaron got from our local dump (the guy was literally pulling it out of his car and Aaron asked if he could snag it!), and her Little Tikes Swing. We also love the swing because when we are hanging laundry outside, we can keep her contained in the swing while putting the laundry out.
We have been using an old exercise ball as a play ball for Lydia as well. She also loves just running around our yard and exploring. It is a lot of fun to see her take an interest in the outdoors and it is a great way for all of us to get a little exercise and fresh air.
When Aaron and I first met back in college, we worked together for the school's orientation program and we were partners. We would go for walks all the time together to talk about the program or just to get to know each other. When we first started dating, that was one of our favorites things to do together, was go for a walk. Even though we cannot go to stores, restaurants, or events we can still go out and walk around our neighboorhood, a city, or a park. Just don't touch anything!
But in all seriousness, walking is a great way to connect with each other. Again, great way to get exercise and, at least for Aaron and I, sometimes the best conversations happen while walking. We have certainly had many deep and fulfilling conversations around our neighborhood and it is a fun way to get a change of scenery!
I am so happy that I got my Cricut a few weeks ago in light of all that is happening. If you are crafty, this time of self-isolation is a great way to get creative and take your time making projects! Look up a few crafts on Pinterest or look to your crafting stash and see what you can make!
I have been working my way through the fabric I set aside for making napkins and am going to set up an Etsy shop in order to sell my napkins (so stay tuned!). I have fabric to make a tote bag for Lydia for her birthday, as well as a tote bag for myself. Look through your craft supplies or even all those used up toilet paper rolls to make something fun!
One idea is that if you have a lot of craft paper scraps, use them to make a collage, patchwork card, or piece of art. Have extra fabric? Make something unique! Have extra yarn? Make a crazy scarf or socks! Find things around your house that you can repurpose or upgrade. This is such an exciting opportunity to get creative!
Create Culinary Masterpieces
I used to work for a non-profit that had an event for competing chefs who would make a gourmet dish out of food pantry items and what they would create was nuts. They made some incredible dishes with the items they picked from our food pantry! Because we are all stocking up on non-perishable goods, we can look up different recipes to make those items more creative. Maybe use a spice from your cabinet that you never use to dress up those potatoes! Add a little dill to your tuna fish (this is something I have been doing for a few years and holy moly, it is good!) to give it a more Scandinavian flavor.
It is also a great time to pretend you are on the Great British Baking Show and bake something you have never baked before! Today (St. Patrick's Day) I made an Irish Soda bread that I can't wait to taste tonight with our meat and potatoes dish. Let yourself cook outside the Kraft mac n' cheese box and do something out of this world!
Whether you play an instrument or just like music, use some of this time to play music! Aaron has a collection of instruments in our house and he has been using some of his time to play those instruments and show them to Lydia. Her favorite one is the piano! Take some time to relearn old Green Day and Nirvana songs or whatever you are into, Crazy!
Maybe you are in a music rut and are looking for something new? Go to Spotify and try a new playlist or an Artist Radio to see if there is anything else out there that you are really into!
Listen to a Podcast
There are so many podcasts out there that it is hard to listen to too many. One way I have listened to podcasts is while I am making things, cooking, or doing housework. Since you will probably have more time on your hands, listen to a podcast while doing the other things that you are doing around the house.
If you go for a solo walk, listen to a podcast and feel like you are listening to a friend. Or if there are any podcasts that you listen to with your partner, roommate, or family, listen to it together and discuss it after.
Start a Garden
One thing that I think will come out of COVID-19 isolation is that people will be more self-sufficient. Starting a garden is one great way to be self-sufficient and stay healthy! This year, Aaron and I are planning on putting in a raised bed in our yard and starting a garden so that we can have fresh veggies throughout the year and not have to always buy certain things at the grocery store.
Since we have bee hives, we do have a lot of honey and sometime in the future, we would like to have chickens for eggs. COVID-19 has definitely shown me that in a crisis, people stock up on food and if we all could have access to our own food, we would feel less peril.
With this time at home, there is certainly time to start a garden if you have the space! It is another great way to be outside for fresh air and get a little exercise with the added benefit of growing your own food.
Like to play games? Now is a great time to play games with family and friends, especially when it comes to learning a new game! Aaron and my favorite game to play, because it is a great group or two-person game, is Dominion. It is a strategy card game and there are a ton of expansions that add to your play (we have a lot of expansions and have binders to store them all in because we are nerds) making it even more fun. We love substituting tv with playing Dominion because we are spending time together and feel like we are using our brains.
This is also a good time to either play a new game you have not tried, or play a game that you have not played in a while. Maybe you used to be a boss at Life, play that! Maybe you were a Monopoly mogul, play that! Maybe you are super fast at putting puzzles together, do that! Whatever makes you smile and have a good time, give it a go and play with someone you love.
Set Up Virtual Hangouts with Friends and Family
As someone who worked from home for a while and now creates my own schedule but works from home, it can get a little lonely. Humans are social creatures and we do well with social interaction. Even though we can't necessarily get together physically, we can still hang out! I already have a few virtual dates set up during my weeks pre self-isolation, but this is something that you can put into practice to keep in touch with friends and family.
This is easy enough to do by either setting up a regular virtual hangout, or doing it as a one-off get together. I love to use my Google Calendar to set up times to FaceTime with my best friends from childhood in Canada and New York, as well as a past co-worker in PA. It is a great way to stay connected in each other's lives and I highly encourage people to do this now in order to stay in touch.
That project you have been pushing to the back burner is calling your name! Always wanted to start a blog, podcast, habit, project, hobby, etc.? THIS IS YOUR TIME!! Map out what you need to do to accomplish your goal and then do it!
I have a really great feeling that this self-isolation will force people to get creative and fulfill some of their passions or side hustles that they have been putting off. This is definitely something I plan on doing, since I have been wanting to create an online store for a while and now I feel like I can.
What project or passion are you going to follow that has been in the back of your mind? Now is your chance to dedicate some time to making that dream a reality.
Things Not to Do During Self-Isolation
While there are things that you can and should do during self-isolation, here are some things that you should not do:
- just watch tv
- only eat junk food
- not talk to anyone
- complain constantly
- buy all the toilet paper
- put others at risk if you think you have COVID-19
- drink bleach
- throw a massive party (wait until this is over)
- over-consume alcohol
- not play board games
- not have at least one box of mac n' cheese (Annie's in the best, I will die on this hill!)
- lick anyone (this is gross to begin with, don't lick people, you sicko)
All-in-all, please stay safe during self-isolation. Stay connected to people and don't be a total recluse. Though we are living in dark times, we need to know there is light and goodness to be found here. This is an opportunity to appreciate what we have and who we have around us. If you need a pal, you can find me here or on Instagram @thebeadedsheep.