10 best ways to utilize your Coronavirus staycation

white and tan english bulldog lying on black rug
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With the exception of a few centenarians, this week’s events surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak are probably rather new for most people. This will undoubtedly change the way we all live our lives for the at least the near future, and just like pandemics before it, Corona will most likely leave a lasting impression on various aspects of the world in which we all interact.  The best thing to do right now is to remain calm, and remember that this will eventually run its course (evidence is that it’s already on the decline in China and South Korea).  In the meantime many of us are suddenly finding yourself on an unexpected Coronavirus staycation.  Once you get over the annoyance, and craziness of it all (try transitioning 5 college classes onto an online format in a week, and you too will be feeling frantic), you will then find yourself with at least a little bit of free time, if only because you won’t be spending so much time commuting to work.

So what do you do with yourself during this time to avoid succumbing to cabin fever?  Here are 10 suggestions for the best ways to take advantage of this time at home.  The first half have to do with practical things you NEED to do, and the second half is the dessert, that you’ll WANT to do.  If you have any other suggestions not listed below, please feel free to add a comment, after all, we’re all in this together.

Adulting 101 – Covid-19 style:

1) Do your Taxes!  That’s right folks,  taxes are one of the two things that are guaranteed.  Despite politicians talking about possibly postponing that April 15th deadline, so far it hasn’t happened.  So, make sure to get a jump on this, especially if your worried you might get Corona, as you really won’t want to be looking for your W-2’s once you have a fever.

2) Take stock of your life.  I don’t mean from a metaphysical standpoint.  I’m referring to the practical things, like do you, or your spouse know what to do if one of you gets sick?  Howe about your parents, what are their wishes?  Even if you’re single, plan now for what will happen to your pets if you wind up in the hospital.  It’s the type of stuff we never want to think about, but like it or not, now’s the time to get your affairs in order!

3) Take stock of your cupboards.  Hopefully the panic buying will end soon, but just in case, make sure you know what you absolutely need, and what you can hold off on buying.  With greater focus you can better seek out where to find what you still need, because you’ll know what part of the store to hit first, or perhaps what you can find through online retailers instead. Also, you’re not prepping for war people, fresh fruits and vegetables should still be part of what you buy!

close up of fruits in bowl
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

4) Take stock of your medicine cabinet.  With the weird run on paper towels, it seems that most people for some reason have forgotten about the medicines that they might need even more.  Check on your prescriptions, and over-the-counter type meds (cough syrup, etc.), and then check with your doctor or pharmacy about the possibility of getting them mailed to you instead.

5) Catch up with those you care about.  Haven’t talked to your old college buddy in a while, or e-mailed your cousin since their last birthday?  Now’s a good time to check on everyone, especially anyone that you may have inadvertently lost contact with.  This can be especially important for elderly relatives that might need help.  With more and more people potentially finding themselves isolated for longer periods than they’ve ever experienced before, reaching out via phone, e-mail, skype, or even text can make a world of difference.

Now for the fun stuff! – Even if you’re still working on 1-5, make sure to occasionally take a break, and de-stress.

photo of woman holding book
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

6) Finally read that book you’ve been trying to fit in.  We all have that novel, mystery, or romance that we’ve got sitting near our beds.  Find it, dust it off, and finally crack that spine.  If you can’t get out into the real world, you might as well escape into a fictional one.

7) Stream to your hearts content.  What, you got something better to do.  Well, ok, maybe you’re still working on numbers 1-5, but everyone needs a break now and then. This is especially true with all that is going on right now.  Take a night off, ignore the news, and just binge watch your favorite movies or TV shows.  A little innocent fun never hurt anyone.  All you need to do is try to remember what that pesky password is.

8) Start to plan how your garden will grow.  Even in the warmest states, it’s a bit too soon to actually plant a garden, but it’s actually the perfect time to prep for, and plan one out. No one says you can’t go out into your own yard, or patio/balcony.  So it’s totally ok to start clear out the old plants (if you haven’t already), scrub out pots, pull any new weeds, and add soil nutrients as needed.  Don’t forget that even if the outside weather isn’t optimal for planting, you can always start some of your garden inside by planting seeds.  Watching them sprout can also give you, and your family, something to look forward to.  Nothing reminds you that life goes on better than watching something grow.

cropped-dscn4646.jpg

9) Learn something new.  There are so many ways to do this, especially with the help of online resources.  DIY resources abound (ex: need to patch up something in your house, YouTube examples of how-to). You can also take free classes on topics you’ve always been interested in.  Check out your local library’s website for some free options they might offer (many have free online programs to help you learn a new language, such as Mango or Babble).  You can also check out Coursera online directly for their list of free classes, or just do a google search for anything you might want to learn (such as a craft or skill).

10) Enjoy your world, virtually.  You can do this via video games of course, including the intellectually based one like Lumosity.  However, do to so many people having to self quarantine around the world, several institutions that have been made to close their doors, are now inviting the public into their virtual spaces instead.  Many major museums around the world already had some virtual tours online, but many more are going online right now.  Even some music options are opening up online, as some tours get canceled the groups are choosing to interact with their fans online via free virtual concerts.  Even a major philharmonic in Germany has now opened their performances for free viewing online.  Most of these institutions, or groups, are waiving their normal subscription fees until at least the end of March.  Just because you’re stuck inside physically, doesn’t mean your mind can’t take a journey of discovery instead.

Which ever choices you make to fill your time, good luck everyone, and please stay safe!

cooking hands handwashing health
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

 

Facemasks: CoronaVirus shield or not?

With the current worry about the Corona Virus showing up in more and more countries, it is important to educate yourself about what is truly useful health advise, and what is not.  The best option is to always turn to the experts if you can.  However, if you can’t speak to your local doctor right away, there is always the CDC’s website, which has a dedicated section just for the Corona virus (aka COVID-19).  Since most people here in the US aren’t currently dealing with actual infections yet, most people will probably be most concerned with the page on “Prevention & Treatment.”

One of the most relevant parts of the site, for anyone who is currently trying to prepare  by purchasing facemasks, would probably be this section:

Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

The run on supplies that recently took place in China, sadly seems to have been made up of mostly useless purchases.  True, it probably makes people feel better to be wearing a mask, but if they’ve purchased a standard dust-mask, it most likely won’t do them much good.  Remember that COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacteria.  Don’t get tricked into buying anything (especially on-line) that claims to block all diseases, because that claim is most likely inaccurate, or outright false.  Also, please don’t think that it will grant you immunity, or act as an impenetrable shield.  Nothing is foolproof, least of all a thin paper/cloth mask.

As stated on the CDC’s website, there is a valid reason to use them, but it’s mostly to help prevent you from spreading the disease to others;  not to help you avoid getting it from them.  If you fear you might find yourself in a situation where you risk exposure, sure, having a mask on can’t hurt.  However, the better option would probably be to avoid that situation instead, if at all possible that is.

Plus, no matter what, its always a good idea to regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes.  No need to actually deliver the virus to your own face, if you can help it.   For updates, and more info on the Virus, please make sure to check the CDC’s website.  With any luck, this thing will burn itself out soon, and we can all go back to worrying about our taxes instead.  Hey, no one said being an adult would be fun.