We've all been asked to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus. Even if we aren't personally considered high-risk, we all love our parents, grand-parents, neighbors, friends and clients who are, and that means a bit of change to our daily routine.
While the media would love it if you stayed in and split your time between your news feed and binging Netflix and Disney+, we know that's not a healthy option for your body or soul. We've got to stay away from sporting events, movies, shopping, and concerts in the next few weeks, which opens a big window of opportunity for entertainment outside the crowded boxes. Let's use this golden ticket to explore new things, revisit old hobbies and make our lives better.
Here's our bucket list of things you can do while avoiding the crowds:
1. Put those pantry items you stocked up on to use. Try out some new baking recipes. Bread, rolls, pita, bagels, muffins, tortillas and cookies can all be frozen after baking so you can enjoy them in the next few weeks.
2. Enjoy the beautiful spring weather. If you're not in quarantine, take a walk, a hike, a bike ride either around the neighborhood or on a local trail. Kayak around the lake or take the ATV's to a trail. It's great exercise for your body and nourishing for the mind. Make sure you're avoiding crowds and popular places like parks.
3. Tackle that home improvement project. We've all got a honey-do list a mile long. Use your free time to work on your home. Replace outdated hardware, update your window treatments, or renovate your bathroom. Lots of supplies can be ordered online or with curbside pickup to minimize your public interactions. Youtube is a great resource for how-to videos and helpful tips.
4. Pick up an old hobby or learn a new one. If you have a sewing machine, knitting needles, quilt frames, woodworking tools, or a welder, chances are you also have lots and lots of materials squirreled away for projects you haven't done. We all do. Just find a place to pick up and start crafting. If you're not sure what to do with your quilts, carvings or scarves, finished projects can be saved for birthday or holiday gifts or donated.
5. Start a garden. Order some seed packets and use old egg crates to plant flowers, vegetable or herbs indoors. When the threat of frost has passed, they'll be ready to plant outdoors or move to larger containers.
6. Prepare meals in advance. There are lots of meals--casseroles, lasagna, shepherd's pie--that can be prepared and frozen for a later date. Make two or three batches at a time and freeze the ones you don't plan on eating right away. In the event that you or someone you know does get sick, dinner is as easy as opening the freezer and turning on the oven.
7. Change up your exercise routine. Maybe you're avoiding the gym for Corona virus reasons and maybe you just avoid the gym. Seize the opportunity to work on your work outs at home. Try online yoga classes, martial arts, cross fit, Pilates, or Zumba from the comfort of your home. Who know, you might enjoy it long-term.
8. Spruce up your yard. Get out the rakes and put on some gardening gloves. Spring is an ideal time to thin out and relocate overgrown plants. Pick weeds on a sunny day and listen to the birds sing. Your yard will look amazing all year long and require less effort if you take care of it now, giving you more time to play this summer.
9. Learn a new language. Sign up for language classes with an online provider like Babbel or Rosetta Stone and spend some alone time talking to yourself. It's a great way to prepare for that vacation you're longing for when it's safe to travel again.
10. Go fishing. You can buy a fishing license online and take your pole to the nearest fishing hole. Catch and release or bring home dinner, either way it's good, relaxing fun in the great outdoors.
11. Do some spring cleaning. Organize your garage. Clean out the fridge. De-clutter the craft room. Or detail the family car. Use some free time to make your space a little more organized. You'll feel great about it for months to come.
12. Paint a picture. Take a canvas or sketchpad and easel to a favorite vista and create a piece of art. Or, if you're inner Picasso isn't up to the challenge, watch a step-by-step instructional video on Youtube to create your own masterpiece. Facetime with your friends to make it your own paint night without spreading germs.
13. Convert your tuff-shed to the ultimate she-shed, man cave or speak easy. Clean everything out and use your creativity to put together the perfect outdoor space you can enjoy all summer long. There are tons of ideas online, and you can get creative with the furnishings and decor, using pieces from around the house (like patio furniture, old fixtures or opened cans of paint), taking things out of storage (like Christmas lights) or buying items online and having them shipped.
We sincerely hope you and your family and friends stay safe and healthy. Take some time to spread some hope and encouragement to those that are struggling with fear and anxiety. Finally, be sure to take good care of your mind and body in the coming weeks--eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, feed your brain and enjoy nature.