We’re finishing off Week 5 of sheltering in place at Chez Small.
I have to be honest and say that this last week was probably the hardest by far. I think it’s the same as writing a book: the first 1/3 and it’s still new and shiny, but then you get to the next 1/3 which we call “the saggy middle” or why did I think this was a good idea for a book syndrome and oh god, I’m the worst author on the face of the planet neurosis.
This last week has been just like that.
But this morning, I woke up and decided to kick my own ass and stop feeling sorry for myself and to implement the same method I use when writing, which is the the only way through it is through it philosophy. And in that vein, I’ve had a couple of more things that I’d like to add to last week’s list of what we can all collectively do at home to keep from going insane.
Here we go . . .
6) Take an Online Course
You know that thing you’ve always wanted to learn, but never seem to have the time to learn it? Well, now’s that time. The Internet has exploded with online course options. From make-up classes with Bobby Brown to learning a new language, there are more online classes than ever before and many of them are free. Check out Coursera or EDX for hundreds of free choices. There’s also MasterClass if you want paid content and many many more. I personally am thinking about taking Korean, but languages have never been my strong suit. We’ll see how it goes. Either way, there are many things out there waiting for me (and you) at just the click of a button.
7) Play a Board Game
Put the joystick or controller down and rewind back to a time when the whole family would sit down and play a board game together. I know, mind blown, but these days, board games are more than just Monopoly or Scrabble and they’re not just for children like Candyland. Board games are a perfect way to entertain the whole family at once without everyone being glued to an electronic device. It’s old school – way to go hipster!
Board games have made a comeback and there as many flavors of games as there are icecream – that is to say a ton. If you’re feeling intimidated by Settlers of Catan, why don’t you try Ticket to Ride? Or if you’re looking for something in the adult variety there is always Cards Against Humanity. There are many options for easy to pick-up-and-play games that don’t require you to read a manual for an hour to set up the board. But if all that seems like too much effort, pull out Connect Four or even Game of Life or Clue. You can never go wrong with a classic and you might just reconnect with your family along the way.
8) Clean the House
There are audible groans everywhere, but let’s face reality, with all those people living at home under one roof, cleaning is inevitable. When Benjamin Franklin said ” . . . in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” he should’ve added cleaning to that list.
But here’s the deal – cleaning is good for the soul. Having a proper tidy up not only gets you off the couch and burns off calories, but it also gets you out of your head. Recite poetry as you clean, wax on and wax off like the Karate kid . . . whatever way you wanna do it, get the rubber gloves out and grab the vacuum. In this time of germ and disease, a tidy house is more than just a tidy mind. It’s also a way to keep your family healthy. It’s a win-win and you’ll feel better for it.
9) Send a Letter
Today, I’m writing my British father-in-law a letter. He’s stuck quarantined in his studio apartment in his senior living facility, which is not great for any senior. You think we’re going crazy being stuck at home with our Netflix and snacks and spacious living space? Try being an 80+ year old 6’3″ nimble man with macular degeneration who has no internet streaming, no ability to read books, no contact with the outside world except for someone bringing your meal on a tray in an assisted living center in a space that is smaller than my garage.
It’s grim and in a bid to lighten his spirits, I’m going to compose a letter. I have no idea what I will say and I have to be very careful to make sure that my handwriting is large and legible for his poor eyesight, but I feel like it’s something I have to do. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s something that I would encourage all of you to do especially for the seniors in your life who might be scared or frightened of the changes that are happening around them right now.
Like journaling, you don’t need fancy pens or paper. Even copier paper will do. Jot down a quick note, let them know how you’re doing, or send them a poem if you’re feeling creative. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact your small missive will make in someone’s life. And by using a stamp, you’ll also be saving the USPS. Two good deeds in one!
10) Try Something New
I’ve left number 10 blank because this one is up to you. This is your chance to find out what makes you tick and once you do . . . are you ready for it . . . TRY SOMETHING NEW. It doesn’t matter what it is – whatever you try will alter you even the tiniest itty bitty bit. And that’s good in my books. Never stop being curious about the world. Never stop seeking to enrich your life because once you do, what’s life about at that point? To be healthy and happy is to stay engaged, to be involved, whether in someone else’s life or your own . . . but let’s focus on you here. Let’s make it all about you. Make time for yourself. Figure out what interests you and try it out.
And whatever you do, whether it’s something on my list or not, keep your chin up, and hold onto hope. This is just a bump in a very long road and you know what we do with bumps? We hold onto the steering wheel, drive over those little bastards, and keep on trucking.
Stay sane. Stay safe. See you on the other side.
xo – Shawnee