This past few weeks have brought events that have not occurred in our lifetime in America. We are seeing panic buying that is unprecedented. It is suddenly like a zombie apocalypse out there. No toilet paper, no water, no SPAM. If your area hasn’t shut down schools and churches and public gatherings to “flatten the curve”, I’m sure your time is coming. The governor closed our county earlier this week. All schools, non-essential retail, gyms, daycare, etc. closed for two weeks. I think it’s the right move, and I applaud the governor for taking that bold step before things get out of hand.
So now many of us are faced with two weeks of quarantine. Given that we have been encouraged to limit social interactions to help slow the spread of the COVID- 19 virus, it will be novel for a few days, but then I think it might start to wear on us. Just because we need to practice some social isolation doesn’t mean we can’t get out a bit and even do some good in the world. So what can we do with two weeks at our disposal that won’t contribute to the global pandemic?
- Go for a hike: In most places around here, Spring is well under way. Take the people you live with or already see every day and take a walk in a state park or on the Schuylkill River Trail. The weather has been lovely lately, so get out there and enjoy it. Besides, there is some evidence that viruses don’t thrive in fresh air and sunshine, so get as much as you can.
- Do a one-person or one-family block clean-up: Grab some gloves and a trash bag and loop your block or walk your street picking up trash along the way. Make a call to a friend, and you clean one side of the street while they clean the other. You can share news back and forth while maintaining a healthy distance!
- Read a book out loud as a family: When our kids were young, we read many books out loud together. I still remember our family gathering together to finish the last few pages of the final Harry Potter book before we could begin family vacation one year. Reading a great book out loud together is such a bonding experience. If you haven’t done it in a while, take this chance. Even if your kids are older, or if you don’t have kids, (reading aloud as a couple is wonderfully romantic) this is an activity you won’t regret.
- Start a garden: With Spring coming so early this year, now is a good time to dig a bed and start a vegetable or flower garden (or both!). It isn’t too early to sow rows of lettuce and peas and other early crops. It’s not too late to begin seeds inside for plants like tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and cabbage for transplant into the garden in May. Get online and watch or read a tutorial and give it a try this year. Don’t have a yard? Garden in a pot!
- Write a letter: Many others either are or will be doing the same thing as you are, and may be feeling the effects of social isolation soon. E-mail and social media are great for keeping us connected, but few things are more pleasurable than getting a letter in the mail. Think of someone you haven’t connected with in a while: a cousin, a friend you grew up with, an old army buddy, a teacher you liked. Take 30 minutes now, while you have it, and write them a letter. You will happy you did it, I promise.
- Pick a spot in your home and do a deep clean: Do you have some bins in the basement you have been meaning to sort through? How about that closet in the back bedroom that just keeps getting things stuffed into it? Have you put on a little weight and need to purge your wardrobe? Set aside a day and tackle that deep-cleaning project you have been avoiding. Open your windows, put on some great music, grab a cold drink, roll up those sleeves and get to work!
Things are a little tense right now, but we can make the best of it by looking for positive ways to use our time during the crisis. Remember to eat healthy food, get plenty of rest, turn off the news, and tell the people you care about that you love them. What other suggestions can you come with?
God bless, everybody!