I contemplated writing a blog on my personal beliefs around the motive, development and fear surrounding COVID-19, but in order to keep this post a bit more community-friendly, I've decided to post some of my personal experiences during this time of isolation, as well as some easy tips to keep yourself healthy, sane and busy.
Most of us have been cut hours; some of us have completely lost our jobs, and those of us with small businesses are especially feeling the repercussions of the spread of the virus. In fact, here's a few stats as of early 2020 gathered from popular US Labor Statistics and Unemployment Relief websites:
Week of 3/16: Approximately 281,000 were either cut hours or laid off
Week of 3/23: That number jumped to 750,000
SouthBay Research predicts that the number will rise to 2.4 Million by next week.
With popular amusement parks, restaurants, bars, conventions, parks and many other establishments closing, it's no wonder these numbers are so high.
SouthBay research also states the following:
Disneyland alone employs about 25,000 workers. There are approximately 660,000 restaurants in the US, with an estimated 5.5 million employees. With food services lacking business, produce distributors, farmers and transport drivers are also losing their jobs. Not to mention small boutique shops, family-owned businesses and freelance workers.
The point of these stats wasn't to scare you, but to reassure you that you're not alone. I know that doesn't help the situation, or the failing economy, but at least we're all drowning together....
So, now what? Your funds are draining. You're not allowed outdoors, and solitary confinement isn't really your thing. What should you be doing with your time?
Staying away from the NEWS may be a good idea, but if you're anything like me, your curiosity will get the best of you. But, there are some other things you could be doing to pass the time.
Start a Journal
We're in some weird times, that's for sure. But, weird times make for great stories! Even if you don't feel like writing a blog for the world to see, document your own thoughts. These may be fun to go back to later in life, or even share with the grand-kids. Plus, you'll stay busy and accountable if you make a promise to yourself that you'll write something every day.
Even if you life in an apartment or other small space, there are ways to grow something. Windowsills make for great planters for microgreens, mushrooms and other small edibles. A few companies out there even sell indoor vertical herb gardens that take up minimal space, but give you fresh organic herbs right in your kitchen.
If you do have the luxury of having a patio or small backyard, consider small planters or pots. You can even build a planter yourself using common household items and a few pieces of recycled lumber (check your local hardware store; they often throw out the scraps). An alternative would be purchasing pots from a thrift store or online from Wish or similar apps.
Save the root end of onions, soak them in water until you see new roots forming, then plant those outside. You can also let one of your potatoes root, cut it in chunks, then plant each chunk. Seeds from most fruits can be dried and planted. Or, just purchase some seeds on eBay or Amazon, just be sure to check what time of year they should be planted, as well as what kind of weather/climate they do best in.
Forget ordering food for pick up or delivery. Save your money and the unwanted preservatives and cook at home! If you can still find bulk goods in your area, do that; you'll save money and trips to the store. Most items will freeze nicely if you don't use them all.
Try experimenting with new spices and ingredients. Find a cookbook, or make something up yourself. Cooking at home allows you to only put in a dish what you want. No oil? Sure! Sugar-free? Absolutely! Learn fun ways to substitute out ingredients you're not interested in using. For a little cheat sheet on items you should stock up on, go here.
Also, learn how to preserve food and eliminate food waste using Mason Jars.
Record a Podcast or Start a YouTube Channel
These days, you don't need a fancy studio, nice equipment or even Adobe Premier to get something going. In fact, studies have shown that some of the more popular YouTube channels are those that "appear more real", and are usually just recorded from a cell phone! Podcasts are easy. Download Garage Band, get a mic, and get started. I like using Libsyn as a host for its user-friendly platform, multiple destination publishing, and low pricing.
Make Your Home the Gym
It's really easy to sit down and eat all day when we're bored. Bands, Ab-Rollers, and make-shift weights do almost as good of a job as the real thing. Consider getting some durable home improvement gloves and some cinder blocks from your local hardware store. These can be used for squats, presses, crunches and so much more! Check out my IG video here. And, once you're done with them, you can actually turn them into pots for your soon-to-expand garden!
A lot of people on Instagram have been tagging their friends in sit-up and push-up challenges; start your own challenge, tag your friends, and encourage them to do the same.
Finish an Old Project
As much as none of us want to admit, almost all of us have some project around the house that we never wanted to finish. Weather it's paining, going through old clothes to donate or cleaning out the shower drain of stuck hair and gunk, there's always something that can be done!
Speaking of donating old clothes; now is really the time to do so. Many people are in need, and what a better time to give back!
Volunteer at a Rescue or Animal Sanctuary
Many are not open to the public, but call around! Non-profits are especially feeling the blow of this crisis, and most of them don't have the resources to survive without help. Some of them need help with yard work, repairs or simply feeding the animal residents. Others are in great need of goods like feed or hay. Some may even have animals available for adoption. Be sure to call before you show up, just to be sure they're accepting the help.
I hope this helps. There are plenty of other things you can do as well. Try coloring, painting or drawing. See if your elderly or at-risk neighbors need help picking up groceries or prescriptions from the store. Look into investing in precious metals. Keep your pantry and First Aid supplies stocked. Know how to change a tire. Keep your gas tank full. Always have tennis shoes, water, a sweatshirt and a few snacks in your car. Look up survival websites for more tips, and EAT MORE PLANTS!