Unless you just woke up from a long winter’s hibernation, you have heard about the Coronavirus Pandemic that is sweeping the world. If you are like me, it went from being something to keep an eye on to something dominating the news, social media and conversations with people on the street in just a few days. Yesterday alone Michigan colleges cancelled on campus classes, concerts and parades were cancelled or postponed, the NBA postponed the rest of their season and other sporting events will be played in empty arenas. This is escalating on a local level very quickly!
You may recognize yourself as someone who believes in the idea of “flattening the curve”, someone who is stockpiling toilet paper, someone who is sick of hearing about it, someone who thinks the media is making it too big of a deal or someone who is truly panicking right now. We all cope with these type of things in different ways; reading every article you can find, ignoring it totally, preparing for the worst, debating on social media. My personal method for coping with a scary situation is first to process it, and then try to “look on the bright side“.
You may have missed a chance to go to a parade, concert, basketball game, school event, etc. You may be worried about an upcoming vacation, wedding or like me, being there for the birth of a grandchild. We may not be able to control those things and worrying about them isn’t going to change that . My blog is titled “Simply Shannone” because when I started it 15 months ago my focus was preparing to move to a small town and simplify my life. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you my own ideas for getting through this. Whether this time of “Social Distance” is a matter of weeks or months, keeping a healthy state of mind is vital! This is a great time to take a step back and look at the simple things. Things that in our normal hectic lives we may forget about. We CAN survive without large, crowded events. It’s ok if we stick closer to home for awhile.
I offer you the following ways to make the best of out what is a scary time for a lot of people:
1- READ! Chances are you have books sitting in a closet that you have been meaning to read but haven’t had time to. If not then visit your local library. You can even charge up your old e-reader and get books from your local library without leaving your house. Start an online book club with some friends. You can get audible books pretty easily these days too so maybe you would prefer to listen as someone else reads to you. There are so many options today when it comes to reading, allow yourself to get caught up in a good book!
2- VISIT A STATE PARK! Of course Tawas Point is my local favorite, but there are 103 beautiful states parks in Michigan alone to choose from. That’s not even counting all of our wonderful National Parks. Take some binoculars and spend an afternoon bird watching. Put on some hiking shoes and take a nature walk. Sit on a blanket enjoying the sound of the waves and the feel of the wind in your hair. I honestly believe fresh air cures just about everything so why not give it a try?
3- BUST OUT YOUR OLD GAMES! Maybe you have an old gaming system that is collecting dust under the tv. Break out some new batteries for those chargers and play some of your old favorite games. Mario Kart, Sonic, Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution. Remember how much you and/or your kids enjoyed those games when they first came out? Maybe you prefer board games or cards. Chances are you have games sitting on a shelf that you haven’t played in a long time. Now is your chance. Invite a couple of friends over for a game of UNO or Monopoly. Set up a card table and a jigsaw puzzle.
4- LEARN A NEW HOBBY! Have you always wanted to learn to knit ? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your hand at sketching or painting. Take a trip to your local hobby shop and get some supplies. I bet you have a friend that would be happy to get together and do it with you.
5- COOK! This is a great time to make some of those recipes you have been collecting over the years on Pinterest. Stream cooking videos from the Food Network. You could make a few new appetizers and have them for dinner . Or make a very fancy meal and serve it on the good plates. I bet it will cost you less than a night out on the town.
6- BINGE A GOOD SHOW! What would we do without Netflix and Hulu? Have you always wondered what all the hype about a show was about? Now is your chance to find out! There is almost an endless variety of programming out there. I highly recommend the Great British Baking Show and Queer Eye. Feel good shows with people you want to root for. There are plenty of true crime, sci-fi or horror if you prefer.
7- CLEAN! I know it’s not a fun suggestion, but it really is a great feeling of accomplishment when you tackle a project around the house you have been putting off. Maybe it’s cleaning out the cabinet under the sink or cleaning the oven. You could go through your closet and dresser and donate things you never wear anymore. Toss out old make up and beauty products. Do you really want to use that half used 3 year old face mask on the back shelf with 1/2 inch of dust on it?
8- CONNECT WITH OLD FRIENDS! Whether it is on social media, the phone or in person, now is the perfect time to reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with. You don’t have to go far from home to make a connection with a friend. Go for a walk or bike ride together. Have them over for a dinner party and games. Maybe they are feeling cooped up or sad about canceled plans and could use someone to talk to.
9- TAKE A ROAD TRIP! Fill up the tank and hit the road. Don’t make plans…just pick a direction and take off. Stop at whatever catches your eye along the way. Lighthouses, waterfalls, roadside parks, bridges, sunsets and sunrises. You have an endless amount of cool things to see along the way. Don’t forget some great music to play along the way!
10-CAMPING! Maybe you are reluctant to make big travel plans. If you are worried about your flight or cruise being cancelled, consider making camping reservations. Spring is right around the corner and with it comes camping season. There are GORGEOUS campgrounds all around our country. If you have a car and a camper or tent then you are all set. It’s less expensive than a fancy trip and easier to make adjustments if you need to. There is nothing like a bonfire under the stars to bring things into perspective.
There you have it. Shannone’s guide to enjoying the simple things in an uncertain time. Life will eventually return to normal, until then (and maybe even after) I hope this brings you a little comfort and ideas for how to make the best of this hand we have been dealt.
Remember: Wash your hands, don’t stress about things you can’t control, and enjoy the simple things.