You are authorized to stay-at-home during this COVID-19 pandemic. Your workplace wants you to work from home. The kids are doing school work from home. Or, perhaps you are retired, living alone or with a partner. Or, you are working long hours and extra shifts at your job in order to provide essential services to your community. Each of you are trying to figure our what it means to be home together, alone, and/or have a home that is in disarray because you are barely holding your head above water. There is much sadness and confusion. Much uncertainty.
You have tried to create a temporary modified routine. You are, as my dad often said, flying by the seat of your pants. You have come up with a way to share limited space and resources. Or survive with limited personal time. You are trying to be patient and kind while not losing your sense of humor. Tough.
As you figure out your “new normal” at home and at work you are coming to grips with the fact that this altered life we are living may continue far longer than you had anticipated. Here are some services, discounts, and ideas that may help lighten your load when you do find the time to escape from the stress of what we all currently experience. Some of these suggestions may even help to strengthen bonds with your loved ones. That is a plus.
REINVENT GAME NIGHT: A game of Pictionary via Zoom is fun. Multiple people can join a call and draw figures with Zoom’s whiteboard. A basic subscription is free. One of my dance instructors, who is an engineer-inventor and develops software programs has put together a free app called ZoomGames.net. It can be used to play other games with friends and family on Zoom. Check it out.
GO ON DATES, AT HOME: My husband and I enjoyed a random date night recently… a drive up to the post office to put mail in the drop box. We then went through a Dairy Queen drive thru on the way home. Not good for the waistline, but it was something fun to do that we rarely get a chance to do!
I am told there is a Dates Mate YouTube channel that has a lot of good date night ideas. For example, you could explore the “Chopped Cooking Challenge” based on the “Chopped” TV show that challenges chefs to make a dish with unconventional ingredients. We all have a random assortment of things in our pantry at this point.
TREAT YOURSELF TO DINNER: If your budget permits, take a break from meal planning and order food. You can request delivery or opt for carry-out or curbside pick-up. Uber Eats is waiving the delivery fee on eligible orders at select restaurants, and as with similar services such as DoorDash, you can request no-contact deliveries. My husband and I went on a “date” this past Friday evening to pick up carry-out dinner. We were able to watch the sunset as we waited in the car. Also something we are generally too busy to enjoy and appreciate. 🙂
Oh, and when you get that meal, make sure to set it up on nice plates, complete with real silverware and glasses. It is a nice touch to light a candle, too. Sometimes you have to make the simple simply elegant.
HOST A VIRTUAL MEETING: Organize a video call with friends or family and stream the same film simultaneously from your own homes. You can add commentary over popcorn or wine! If TV is more to your liking you can all tune in to the same film or show. Showtime’s streaming service has been offering a 30-day free trial.
SET UP CAMP: Camping indoors or in the backyard can definitely offer a change of scenery. My son-in-law recently had a campout on the screened porch with his two daughters. They loved it! This activity is right in line with their active participation in a social group called Y Guides. They are camping pros! And my daughter had a quiet evening alone in the house!
If you are looking for non-scary campsite stories for kids, Audible is offering free audiobooks while school are closed.
CHANGE THE ROUTINE: Scavenger hunts are lots of fun for kids. One suggestion is to search for signs of spring around the property and document them with photos or drawings. Check out more tips via a lifestyle blog called Avenue Kate. It is important for everyone that we change up the routine from time to time. This makes what we are doing more fun and out of the ordinary, helps our mood, and helps us maintain a sense of humor. Try pizza for breakfast and green eggs and ham for dinner!
TRY NEW WORKOUTS: If you wanted to learn something new, this is a time when you may have more time to devote to the process as well as free resources. The YMCA launched free online classes via a program called YMCA 360 to help people stay active while indoors. Several other gyms and studios like Planet Fitness and CorePower Yoga are also providing free live-stream workouts. Be sure to check with any local gyms or training centers in your area to see what is available. So many generous businesses are giving the gifts of their talents to our communities right now.
Several of my dance instructors are offering a variety of classes and practice sessions online. This has helped me to work with those I know plus reinforce what they have taught. At the same time, I have been able to experience the expertise of others, too. Being able to keep up with what I love to do as well as exposure to new ideas is very helpful. The generosity and kindness of others certainly helps to lessen my feelings of isolation. Warms my heart, too.
Be sure to also ask your friends and neighbors what resources they have discovered these past few months. Keep a list of of what appeals to you.