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!
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.
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.
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!