This blog post assumes that you have the luxury and privilege of working from home, if you do not because you are working on the front lines of the pandemic or if you are holding down a job that doesn't give you this option, I sincerely salute you. It also assumes you have some free time on your hands, but for those who have no help with childcare because you are either a single mom, your husband is stuck in a foreign country, or your partner is working out of the home, yet again, I salute you.
With all of that said, for those of us lucky and blessed enough to have homes from which to work, and jobs that afford us that opportunity, aren’t we fortunate? For all we have already given up and lost as a country, we still have so much.
For those of us with exploding refrigerators, healthy family members, and kids with endless energy, let’s just take a minute and be grateful. Unlike with hurricanes (which we have way too much familiarity within Wilmington), we have power, running water, the ability to play and enjoy the outdoors, AC and heat, hot water… basically all the modern conveniences. To that end, let’s put them to use and make sure we look for the beauty (and the opportunities) in our new constraints.
Here are more than 40 ideas for being productive, getting smarter, and reducing anxiety while home due to the coronavirus.
Cook extra food so you can freeze it for the future or share it with a neighbor who could use a little help.
Clean out your closets. All of your closets. Start with the least overwhelming one first. With this current pause on our consumerism, it’s a great time to reassess how much “stuff” we actually need.
Clean out your drawers/cabinets/pantry.
Clean out your garage or carport. Do this on a beautiful sunny day so you can take in the fresh air while you’re at it.
Work out in the yard, weed flower beds, order seed packets for a summer garden, or just sit and take in the beauty of spring. What a great season to remind us that even when it looks like the flowers are gone, they aren’t. Instead of being dead, they were buried. We might relate to this in the coming months.
Pop a bag of popcorn, put on your favorite music, and dump all the puzzle pieces out on your kitchen table for some multi-day fun. There is nothing like the satisfaction of the click of that last piece.
Order books online to read. Or perhaps start tackling the pile you’ve moved 12 times and never read.
Call close family and friends over the age of 60, or those who are vulnerable, or those caregiving for someone at risk, to check in. The sound of someone’s voice is one of the most intimate things in our modern world of texting. Pick up the phone – it still works and we need that human connection more than ever.
Take a long bath. Bubbles optional.
Write “thank you” notes or “just because” notes, because for as long as snail mail continues, the mailbox is going to be a place of anticipation like never before.
Research trips you want to go on in the future. Half the fun of a vacation or an adventure is the planning.
Make brownies, cookies, or a sweet treat that fills your house with comforting aromas.
Pressure-wash or sweep areas with tons of pollen, like your porch, deck, etc.
Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Perhaps stroll with your neighbor or a friend… just walk far apart. Maybe in the middle of the street. It can be your own two-person parade.
Tune into a workout class online. There are lots of free options.
Join a Facebook group to learn local ways you can serve or support others.
Pick one skill that would help you grow professionally. Check YouTube for free videos that would sharpen that skill.
Sign up for a MasterClass account and learn, learn, learn.
“Attend” an online worship service.
Take a self-paced online course for fun or work.
Go to bed early and get caught up on your rest. This not only is a no-brainer way to spend your time at home, but also strengthens your immunity.
Wash blankets, coverlets, duvets, etc. that need some TLC but are often overlooked since they can be a pain to wash.
Ride your bike. Ring the bell if you have one.
Clean out your car, including your glove box and all the tiny compartments. You have no idea what you’ll find!
Go through the photos on your phone (this could easily take you three full days). Start with the most recent snapshots and work backward.
Clean your windows, getting rid of the pollen and the grime from the winter.
Make a list of three things you want to get done while spending so much time at home so you don’t squander this opportunity.
If you have a database of customers and clients, clean it up and sort your contacts. If you don’t have customers or clients, simply clean up and sort the contacts in your phone and email address book.
Hunt down the holiday card addresses you’ll need in December. Shoot those people a text, Facebook message, or email to check in.
If you have a child, separate clothing that is too small and organize extra toys you might have acquired over the holidays. Also, go through their books… there’s a 50% chance you’ll find a library book that disappeared.
Change your HVAC filters.
Change the batteries in your fire detectors, gas detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors.
Take a nap. Getting caught up on your sleep should be high on your priority list.
Do a crossword puzzle.
Break out the adult coloring books. We’re creating our own adult coloring pages for The Inspi Lab. You’ll just need to supply the crayons.
Check in on older neighbors and friends.
Look up a few of your favorite restaurant dishes and try to find copycat recipes (or if you feel comfortable and it’s still allowed in your area, order takeout).
Break out your bread maker and put it to use.
Try a new recipe with one of your kitchen gadgets: blender, panini press, crockpot, air fryer, etc.
If you haven’t done your taxes yet, get on it.
In addition to the above, I have six top priorities during this time and almost all of them are free.
Sleep and get enough rest so I can wake up without an alarm clock.
Read a minimum of a book a week so I can get smarter during this time.
Write all the things I have been meaning to write (that could take two weeks alone).
Cook delicious meals, make homemade pizzas, and bake lots of bread.
Organize everything and purge the ridiculous accumulation of “stuff” I have aquired.
Be outside in nature, take walks around the neighborhood, and be mindful of the beauty in my own backyard.
What are your opportunities during these unusual circumstances? What blessings can you find under constraints? Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.