i want to preface this post by saying that i am well aware of the immense privileges i am afforded to even be able to write this. this is a weird and wild time and is only going to get weirder and wilder before it gets better, but i am lucky enough to have a stable job and no dependents and am not currently being personally impacted by everything going on with covid-19. or, i should say, not impacted yet. because i will be. someone i know, someone i care about, is going to get it. it’s inevitable.
but for the time being, as i adjust to a new normal of an 8-5 lifestyle with no evening or weekend work, i thought i would share some of the ways i am coping with a lot of change and a ton of uncertainty and finding ways to give back where i can.
as i said above, i don’t have children i need to keep occupied during this time, but i am an extrovert who is used to having a busy schedule full of work, events, basketball games and orpheum shows, and socializing with friends. for the time being, those are being put on hold. so how am i keeping myself occupied?
first, i do still have work, however different it may appear. i am working from home but will likely go into the office a few days a week for a change of scenery [and to see riggs]. we already moved to conducting all of our summer member interviews via google hangout, and now we are using that and google meet for other meetings.
but outside of work, my schedule is suddenly wide open. where i was looking at grizzlies games, the orpheum 2020-2021 season reveal, a visit to helena, additional bridge builder programming over spring break, and parent orientations all in the next two weeks, i now have none of those things and a whole slew of commitment-free evenings and weekends.
so i am hoping to use this time to slow things down a little and focus on the things that make me happy. things like reading, cooking, running, catching up with friends, and cleaning and organizing.
if you’re in the mood for suggestions, here are some of mine:
if you want to zone out and escape the real world for a bit, the harry potter series is always good for that. similarly, this is a great time to curl up with a romance novel or two; i’ve always been partial to nora roberts’ work circa 1995-2005.
if you prefer non-fiction may i suggest liz fosslien and mollie west-duffy’s no hard feelings, my favorite read of 2019 and one i still recommend at least three times a week. other favorites are tara westover’s educated, michelle obama’s becoming, and all of maya angelou’s autobiographical series.
i just finished paul farmer’s collected speeches in to repair the world and kept exclaiming regularly over how relevant many of his points are at this time. i figure this is a great time to make my through the heavy hardback books i don’t ever want to lug around with me. next up is janelle shane’s you look like a thing and i love you.
if it’s an escape via television / movies you’re after, netflix’s sex education is one of the smartest shows i’ve seen in a long time. this is also a great time to watch or re-watch parks and rec [also on netflix] or brooklyn nine-nine [available on hulu]. not to mention anything on disney+ [who released frozen 2 three months early!] or all 8 harry potter movies.
one of the things on my list to watch is hulu’s hillary docu-series. jeremy and i both agree that we need to be in the right emotional mood for it but that we will definitely watch it while we self-quarantine.
i also have a pile of some of my favorite bollywood movies on dvd that i “borrowed” from my parents’ house, and i think they will provide some good entertainment during this time.
and finally, a lot of musicians are now streaming concerts online for their fans. follow their specific social media feeds for that information. and if it’s musicals you are after, here is a list of ones that you can watch from home.
while i am doing my best to not just turn into a couch potato these next few weeks, there’s plenty here to keep me occupied.
this is also a great time for games! i have broken out my colorku and have been playing a few games before bed each night. i’m working on convincing jeremy to play who’s she? with me, because we won’t have to touch each other’s pieces. pat turns has promised to teach me backgammon at some point. and i’ve got plenty of jigsaw puzzles to keep me company.
social distancing means not going to crowded places, but it’s ok to have a few friends over to play a game. just make sure it’s something that doesn’t require you to all be touching the same pieces [i.e. monopoly might not be a great choice if you can avoid it]. and when i say “a few”, i mean a few. still no more than you plus 3-4 others depending on the size of your space.
you know what’s great for your immune system? fresh air and physical activity. parks and trails are still fair game for the time being, and i am using every opportunity i get [pretty much whenever the rain breaks] to go for a walk or run. and if it’s raining i at least sit on my porch for 10 minutes to get a little fresh air.
if i can’t get out of the house for whatever reason, i can do some stretches or some crunches or a nike training club workout inside. physical activity goes a long way in keeping me from going crazy, as i’m sure is the case for many of you.
one of the things i’m looking forward to is this key sports challenge via facebook. it’s a way to stay connected to others who want to be active during this time and to encourage community even while we are socially distant. it is an open event, so join this one or another in your city.
this one is pretty easy.
wash your hands. i really shouldn’t have to tell people to wash their hands. but here we are. i’ll admit that up until recently i probably didn’t hit the 20-second mark, but being the daughter of two doctors i am a fastidious hand washer. and while sanitizer is great in a pinch or when you’ve just left the grocery store or been on the subway, it is not a substitute for soap and water. i repeat: it is not a substitute for soap and water. ok, getting off that soapbox, just in time to hop on the next one…
social distancing. i am flabbergasted by the number of pictures i continue to see on social media of people going to parties, congregating in large groups at a bar, and generally being out in public. it does not matter if you are not high-risk, you can still be a carrier. and when you go to visit your grandparent, or your niece or nephew under the age of 2, or your friend who has just beaten cancer, you are putting them in danger. people with poor or still developing immune systems are at huge risk right now, and the more you go to large gatherings the more you are putting others in harm’s way. i know you want to continue supporting local businesses and service workers, and you still can; i’ll address that below. bottom line: if you have the option, stay home.
wipe down shared spaces regularly. you will be amazed at how many shared surfaces you touch in a day. light switches and door handles. drawers and faucets and refrigerators. remotes. all of your daily routines include a number of shared surfaces, and this is a great time to make sure those get cleaned regularly. and also your phone, because it’s nasty. and stop taking your phone into the restroom. another thing i shouldn’t have to tell you. but seriously, stop.
for those of you who can, this is a great time to give back and help others in our community who are facing tough times.
donate to your local foodbank. foodbanks are working overtime right now to provide food for families whose children rely on school for one or two of their daily meals. with schools out for at least three more weeks in memphis [and six more in parts of washington state], demands on foodbanks and other service organizations is skyrocketing. if you’re in memphis you can donate to the midsouth food bank; if you’re not, feeding america can direct you to your local foodbank or pantry. no kid hungry is also a great option if you specifically want to impact food insecure children during this time.
donate to other service organizations. here in memphis, that is hope house and dorothy day house, among others, who are collecting supplies for the families they serve. if you follow them on social media you can see what exactly they need and how/when to drop things off. and if you can’t or don’t have time to make a dropoff, make an online donation instead. global cafe is collecting donations to go toward meals for healthcare professionals and for people who are being economically impacted; $9 provides a meal for one person.
advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. this can include signing RAICES’ petition that ICE release those who are being held in detention facilities or contacting your congressperson about how prisoners are being protected right now. both of those spaces are breeding grounds for diseases, and those being held are not able to use their voices right now.
order takeout instead of dining in. still want to support your local restaurants, especially asian-owned ones who have been particularly hard hit? me too! and a great way to do that while remaining healthy is by ordering it to go. a lot of places in memphis are offering curbside pickup to reduce the number of people who come in contact with each other. this ensures you are still being a great member of your community while maintaining appropriate distances and keeping people safe. [note: holly is updating that post multiple times a day as more restaurants get added to the list, so keep checking back for new options]
support an emergency fund for service workers. i have seen links to a few different of these; in memphis it is being organized by edible memphis to support service workers whose hours and benefits are being reduced or cut entirely due to everything that is going on.
gift cards are also great. this is a great time to order some gift cards to your favorite local restaurants and small businesses and cash them in later. it still contributes to profits right now and gives you some free meals / gifts once we come out on the other side of this.
check on your neighbors. if you are young and healthy, check on those around you who aren’t. slide a note under a door and let elderly neighbors know you’re around if they need a grocery run or a prescription picked up. it’s pretty dangerous for anyone over the age of 60 or with a compromised immune system to be out and about right now, so offer to help where and when you can.
offer childcare. a lot of parents are scrambling right now because their kids are suddenly out of school indefinitely and they need childcare. if you are working you obviously can’t also babysit someone else’s kids, but offer to take your friends’ kids on a walk or keep an eye on them while they play in the yard so your friends can have a break and get some other things done. there are lots of non-contact ways you can keep children entertained, and this is a great time to exercise that creativity. even if they can’t or don’t take you up on it, extending the offer will go a long way.
don’t hoard things. unless you have a family of 10, don’t be that person buying 35 rolls of toilet paper. barring a full-on lockdown [which might not be that far away if people continue going out], you can go to the store next week and buy more toilet paper. but when you buy all of something from the store, especially all the fruits and veggies or all the items marked “wic” [specifically earmarked for a particular population as part of a federal program], you’re taking those things away from a family who can’t eat. buy what you need, of course, but remember we’re all in this together.
foster a dog! shelters are overloaded, dogs can’t contract covid-19, and you want some company while you’re working from home. it’s a win-win. there’s no long-term commitment, but it can be a great way to see if long-term dog ownership is for you. here in memphis you can contact wilson animal rescue, real good dog rescue, or the humane society of memphis, just to name a few.
call your family and friends. chances are you’re going to know someone who contracts this. it might be a family member or friend, it might be a coworker or passing acquaintance, but this will impact you in some way. check in with your people and make sure they and their families are ok. schedule group facetimes or times to play online games together. remember the importance of community, even while you’re holed up at home.
well. i don’t know if any of this was helpful for you, but it was definitely helpful for me to get it all out. this is a weird time for all of us, but the way we get through it is to support each other, check on each other, and do whatever we can to help each other. we get through this together.
note: the amazon links are affiliate links, so if you purchase through them i earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. thank you!