Things To Do During Covid 19

Acknowledge our Humanity

Ok, we are humans going through a very strange time. This situation is one, most of have never experienced. Let’s face it, we are experiencing a wide range of emotions – fear, anger, boredom, confusion, anxiety, loneliness, and feeling adrift. We are up against something we can’t see, we don’t know where it is and this can make us feel vulnerable and trapped. At a time when we would feel comforted getting together with family and friends we must practice social distancing. These are some ideas about things to do during Covid 19.

However, also woven into this big ball of emotions we also feel gratitude, the value of connection and serving others, getting back to basics and slowing down, how to enjoy each other’s company, and maybe even personal growth. We also feel a connection to people all over the world because the humanity of all of us humans has been opened and laid bare for all to see. We are all struggling on some level, but the message we hear over and over is that we are not alone in this. I believe this is true, we are not alone and we are all interconnected. Our humanity is showing and we can grow from this and come through it stronger.

Whew, OK, on a lighter note, here are tips and ideas to help get us through this.

Get off the TV and get out of your head for a while each day. Meditate. There are a ton of free meditation apps out there. I personally really like Insight Timer.

Also, please check out my friend, Beth Freschi – A Time For Expression – as she takes us on a relaxation journey.

Connection during a time of Social Distancing

Even though the Covid 19 pandemic has limited us from actual, physical visits to friend and family members, there is no reason to lose touch.  Connect for virtual lunches, coffees, or garden show and tells. This has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I’m an introvert and general mediaphobe, so I have been WAY behind the curve on this one. I didn’t even know what Facetime or Zoom was.

We are all working from home (for my 9-5 job) and we recently celebrated the end of the fiscal year. We normally have a pizza party to celebrate our hard work during the past year. I joked with my boss and asked him if he needed my home address for the pizza delivery guy. He liked the idea so much he ordered us all pizza to be delivered to our individual homes and we all had a virtual pizza party where we turned on the video feature of our computers and chatted about everyday things. I have also picked up the phone and actually used it as a phone to say hello to people I had been remiss in keeping up with. It was good.

Visit a Museum

During this time of social distancing, most museums are closed to actual visits, but you can visit an international or national museum and glean a bit of culture.  Take this opportunity to experience some amazing art and go inside some of the world’s best museums, all from the comfort of your sofa!

Museo Frida Kahlo also known as The Blue House or Casa Azul

This museum is where Frida was born and where she passed away. The museum is located in Coyoacán, a wonderful neighborhood of what is now Mexico City.

Frida Kahlo

As one would expect the Smithsonian Institute has not only stunning exhibits and tours, they also offer a vast quantity of opportunities for all tastes and desires.

Have you ever dreamed of visiting the Lourve or the Uffizi? Here is your chance. No lines, no crowds.

Van Gogh Museum

The British Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Museum of Modern Art – Mexico –

The Anne Frank House

Take a virtual class

With the newly acquired time on our hands, take this opportunity to invest in yourself, either in the form of enrichment or entertainment.

There are also classes that may present a barrier to enter if they were in person, but being virtual lowers that barrier to entry. These are things like body consciousness or feeling too much like a beginner. I say – Go for it!

There are free and paid courses online.

YouTube- you can learn all sorts of things for free on YouTube from cooking to yoga to changing the oil on your 2014 Sonata

I made this killer stuffed meatloaf mmmm mmmmm

Udemy

Coursera

Also, consider taking an online course to help support local businesses – there are a number of local Yoga studios offering online classes, for example.

Take a Car Date with your significant other and/or kids

You can order take out to support your local businesses and hop in the car and go for a drive. You can head for a lake or park and eat it there.

Think of the things you would recommend to a visitor and see if you can do “drive-bys” of those things in your city or area.

I am ALWAYS up for a Corny Roadside Attraction Tour. Think of things such as – The World’s Largest Crow in Belgrade, MN, or Rock On The House in Fountain City, WI that we visited on our trip around Lake Pepin.

Please follow social distancing guidelines.

Take the opportunity to purge, declutter, and work on the Honey Do list!

This is the perfect time to do fix-it projects and declutter your space.  Decluttering will help you feel lighter, you’ll feel like you are putting your newfound home time to good use, and your future self will really thank you.

Wash and detail your car, even change the oil. Lube that squeaky hinge. Hem those pants. Attack that mysterious black hole in the garage or basement.

Get Some Exercise and release some of the Anxiety you may be feeling over Covid 19

Getting exercise is good for your body, mind, and soul. We know we have to keep our bodies moving – move it or lose it! Exercising often gets us out of our heads and gets us more in touch with our bodies. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine, helping us to feel good. Exercise can help us feel gratitude for the abilities we have. Some people have more, some less, but jump in where you are and incorporate some movement in your life.

If permitted, go for walks, walk your dog, take a run.

Yard work – get out there and rake leaves, dig in your garden, look for Nature’s assurance that all life has cycles and growth and rebirth are part of that cycle.

Audio Books and Podcasts

I love listening to audio books and podcasts while I do other tasks such as chores. Here is a chance to look for new books and podcasts that have previously been off your radar. You can test them out and if you don’t care for them, well… no real loss, but you gave it a try.

Take a (Virtual) Vacation Anywhere in the World During Covid 19

While actual travel may be suspended there is no reason you can’t take a virtual trip. Pick a location you have always wanted to visit, or pick the destination for your next vacation after the Corona virus restrictions are lifted and crank out the YouTube videos on that part of the world. You could visit Spain, Bulgaria, or hike the Superior Hiking Trail!

Consider heightening your experience by cooking a recipe you find online from that country.  Learn to say key phrases such as “good morning” and “thank you” in the language of the country you would like to visit. Have your kids make a collage and find the country on a map.

Helping Others During Covid 19

  • Helping others during this time need not be complicated or jeopardize your safety.
  • Offer to read virtually to someone’s kids (who may be driving their parents a little crazy)
  • Sew masks for healthcare workers. Make donations, if you can, to causes you think are doing good work.
  • Order a no-contact pizza for someone.

Take Care of Yourself

Besides the obvious advice – you may want to have a nice tea or coffee and really enjoy it.  Break out those teas that Aunt Lucy buys for you, but you don’t take the time to brew loose tea. Get out the French press that you don’t use very often.

Take your beverage of choice out to your deck, patio, balcony and enjoy the view, make a list of who to call, listen to the birds chirp, soak up a few rays of sunshine, even just daydream for a while.

Post or Jot Down 3 Things You Are Grateful For Everyday

Focus on the things you CAN do instead of the things you can’t do. Take inventory of all the good things in your life. Look around and see all the people and organizations who are coming together under these trying times. Feel gratitude towards the front line workers, feel gratitude if you have good health and a job. Feel gratitude that you have been given an opportunity to slow down and take inventory of the positives in your life. Feel deeper love towards your loved ones, your neighbors, for those who are suffering around the world, and towards yourself for exploring your own humanity in the many forms that it takes. 

Get On a Kick

I look at it as a chance to develop a new skill, enjoy something new, and dabble in things that may lead to true passions…..

Do you ever get on a kick?

We sure do. We love them. Get on a kick, meaning discover a new hobby or dedicate some substantial time to an endeavor can be very enriching. It can often lead to learning new things about yourself and sometimes making new friends.  I used to get on kicks with the thought that they were going to last forever, then I felt bad when they didn’t. I used to think when I lost interest that I was lazy or lacked stick-to-it-ness. Not so.

Kicks are the opportunity to really immerse yourself in something and take it for a test ride. If you don’t let yourself have these kicks you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to learn and grow… and have some fun! Some things just run their course and they were fun and now you are open for something new. Granted, we should be responsible and mindful in our choices, but I’m talking about harmless kicks that are affordable and add joy to your life.

I look at it as a chance to develop a new skill, enjoy something new, and dabble in things that may lead to true passions or just be with us for a season. These kicks bring us joy, give us something fun to try and talk about, and cultivate mindfulness because your brain is more in the moment with new things and less on auto pilot.

Get on a kick? What is one of newest kicks, you ask?

I was recently gifted a panini maker! A coworker had one that she used a couple of times and decided it was too bulky to keep for the amount that she used it. Her panini kick that ended was my gain!  I love to cook and invent flavor combinations. I especially love to try to make foods from other countries and/or recreate a meal I had/saw at a restaurant.

Here are the panini combos we came up with on our first try.

Ham, tart apple, cheddar

Italian – salami, ham, provolone, peperoni, chopped mixed olives, banana peppers

Italian Panini

French toast made with cinnamon swirl bread

French Toast

Then Deane took the reigns. The silly/fun level always goes up when Deane is in charge.

Next we had-

Spam™-inis! – made with sliced Spam™ scrambled eggs, cheese, and onions

Spam(tm)-ini

Weenie-inis! With wieners, cheese, and condiments

What would you make? Which combos would you experiment with?

Then there are kicks that come and go, but they come back again because they have gained a special place in your heart. Searching for and visiting Corny Roadside Attractions is one such kick. For some reason I have always enjoyed visiting big things, little things, and especially quirky things. Abandoned places too.

Muffler Man
What prompted this to be a thing?
South Dakota

We have gone both ways on our approach to Corny Roadside Attractions, sometimes they were the reason for the road trip and sometimes a serendipitous reward for going just a bit further. Always enjoyed, no matter the path that got us there.

We’d love to hear about your kicks and quirky finds!

Tell us on the Your Voice page.

Efficiency vs. Passion

Having an experience, even if it is not entirely how you envisioned it, to me, is better than waiting for some day.

For us, gathering up the bits and pieces also means gathering up the literal bits and pieces. We are Makers. It is in our DNA. Something in us is fulfilled when we make things. If we waited until we had the money or all the “perfect” materials many, many things would never  have gotten done/made. In this article, Efficiency vs. Passion, we’ll discuss this conundrum.

I have strong thoughts on not going in debt, but that is for another blog.

Efficiency vs. Passion conundrum

Sometimes I am torn between being efficient and fulfilling a passion.

For example, if you look at a quilt as a covering for a bed and a means to keep you warm, then making a quilt seems quite crazy.  To make a quilt you have to acquire fabric, then you cut that perfectly good fabric up into little strips, squares, shapes, and then you sew those little pieces back together to make a big piece of fabric to put on your bed.

A practical or efficient view would be to just buy a quilt and be done with it.

This is where the passion kicks in for Makers. Very often when we see some sort of scrap, a little voice in our heads asks, what can I make out of that? How could I repurpose that? How can I make this beautiful/functional again?

There is also a little voice in the head of a DIYer or Maker that asks, Can I make something like that and put my personal touch on it? Deane is especially good at this, in my opinion.

One day I came home from work and see a 13 inch diameter chunk of aluminum tube on the dining room floor. I asked Deane, “What are you going to make out of that?” He says, “I don’t know yet.” Suddenly the Maker ideas start flowing. Some options were – make a porthole window out of it, make a mirror frame, make some sort of container out of it….. Then things moved more towards a sculpture project. Finally it was decided that we should make a lamp out of it, so he did.

Efficiency vs. Passion conundrum
Lamp art

This is bricolage magic. Taking a literal piece of scrap and turning it into a beautiful, functional piece of art. Nobody else has a lamp quite like this, and Deane has the satisfaction of looking at it and knowing that he made it.

Now, would it have been more efficient and possibly more cost effective to just buy a lamp? Perhaps, but a Maker doesn’t see it that way.

Deane really likes lighting. This translates into > we have pretty cool lighting, translates into > we’re pretty happy about that.

We also ended up owning a big piece of burl that we got from an old woodworking guy in Wisconsin. Deane turned it into a lamp.

Another time we had been talking about having better lighting in the kitchen. We weren’t sure what we were going to do. I like those industrial “wire basket” looking fixtures. I like the Edison bulb look too. I didn’t like the price tags very much. We were in our local lumber store, buying things for a different project when we spotted these chicken brooder lamps! Viola! They just jumped in the cart, and the icing on the cake was that they were something like $7 a piece! A little rewiring and add a mounting bracket…. Score! We got lucky and found this at a big box store. Local thrift stores are full of great ideas too!

Bread

Kitchen lamp

Sometimes we have to make things to break a fear, to get over the idea that something is intimidating. For me, that was making yeast bread. I can tell you, I have made a few bricks in my day, then I wouldn’t try again for a few years. I don’t like being wasteful, but I don’t really enjoy eating brick bread either. Then, one day, Deane mentioned how much he enjoys seedy-grainy bread. An inspiration and challenge presented itself. I have a friend who is a great bread maker and she had been making all sorts of versions of Dakota bread and said it was “easy.”

Dakota Bread

I looked up a bunch of Dakota bread recipes and decided on one. I was very happy with the end result and I finally got over my intimidation of yeast breads. I can’t say that I have branched out to other sorts of yeast bread yet, but I am no longer afraid to try.

Yummy Bread!

Makers make. All the stars and planets do not have to be in alignment to take action. Doing something is better than being on the sidelines. Making something out of nothing floats my boat. Having an experience, even if it is not entirely how you envisioned it, to me, is better than waiting for some day.

Grab whatcha got and let’s go!