When talk of shut-downs and quarantines for the coronavirus first began, I thought, “No problem. I’m an introvert who stays inside much of the time anyway. This way there’ll be no pressure to be out and about doing other things.” But I’ve discovered that’s not the case. You see, I like being inside and alone by choice, not because someone has required it.
I made a list of things I could be accomplishing. While this has helped, I’ve certainly been working on the list, it’s not always as much fun as I thought it would be. Here’s my list:
• Do additional research to flesh out my already roughed draft of my next book.
• Write a synopsis of each book in this trilogy so I know where I’m going when I start editing book 1.
• Rewrite Prologue of book 1 to give it more action, make it more engaging.
• Keep blogging!
• Read fiction, not just nonfiction research. It’s a great way to get away without leaving your home.
• Clean the house.
• Stock the pantry, best I can, and cook good meals.
• Go for walks…alone, unfortunately.
• Work on that big x-stitch project.
• Catch up on some Netflix. Again, a good way to get away.
• Call the friends I can’t see to keep in touch and make sure everyone’s all right.
Many things are cancelled. My Weight Watchers meetings have gone virtual. Church is now a weekly email with readings and a sermon attached. My hair is getting shaggy and my roots are showing!
These are trying times and keeping busy isn’t always enough. Depression can set in, even for those of us not prone to such feelings. For this reason, we have to make more of an effort to take care of ourselves. Showering regularly and not putting on the same grungy clothes every morning just because no one’s going to see us is a start. If you look better, you’ll feel better. It’s tempting to eat all the junk food we would normally try to avoid because, again, no one’s going to see us and, hey, these sweat pants still fit. (Wear your jeans now and then to make sure they still fit.) We might be tempted to drink more. Eating a quart of ice cream and polishing off a bottle of wine in your stained sweatpants while binge-watching your new favorite Netflix series in the dark is not a good idea . . . even in the best of times.
That’s why I must emphasize a couple items on my list more than the others. 1) Get outside, whether for a walk or to do yard work, weather permitting. It’s a great way to clear your head of the cobwebs and get a dose of vitamin D. 2) Call your friends, family members, your older community members who may be unable, or too afraid, to go out. Just talking to someone can brighten your day tremendously. You can laugh together at your excitement over finding the elusive toilet paper. (Honest to God, it felt like Christmas!) I talked with a writer friend/editor for over an hour yesterday. We’re putting together a group of us to do one hour of writing sprints at the same time every morning. A couple of us started today. A text tells us when to start and when to stop, then we check in with each other to report our progress. I wrote four pages, just over 1000 words, this morning. I hadn’t written anything new, except blogs, in a couple months as I got my book out, went on a three-week road trip, and then the disruption of the pandemic. I tell you, it felt really good. I know I’m not the only writer who feels her creativity had been suffering with all the routine changes. Not anymore.
And don’t forget your local small businesses that are allowed to be open but are struggling. Order take-out, then walk there to pick it up. And be sure to tip. Especially don’t forget your health care workers and first responders. Maybe that police officer patrolling your neighborhood would like a fill-up on his coffee. A friend of mine said she’s baking cookies to share. Others are sewing face masks and gowns. Stop them (but keep your 6 feet distance) and say thank you. A smile and a wave as they pass by. That might be enough. If you see a truck driver trying to get food but not being allowed to walk up to a drive through, stop and drive through for him. With so much closed, our truckers are struggling to keep the all-important supply chain moving. Helping others can quickly make your own load so much easier to bear.
What are you doing to get through these trying times? You might have an idea someone else never thought of.