I confess. I let the beginning of Lent slip right past me. I let all of the busyness of life take priority. I didn’t commit to giving anything up or to taking on any positive habits. I didn’t even recognize Ash Wednesday.
Then came coronavirus. All around us, life as we know it is coming to a screeching halt. While work still goes on for many of us (possibly remotely), our nights and weekends are now empty. We are all suddenly faced with something most of us haven’t seen in a long time, if ever — extra time. Time on our calendars once held by soccer games, Scout meetings, birthday parties, races, and other events.
If Facebook is any indication, emotions among my circle of friends run the gamut. Many, like me, are concerned about friends and family. While refraining from hysterics (we aren’t hoarding toilet paper), we are practicing social distancing, washing our hands more, and realizing that changing our habits for a while is a small price to pay for keeping ourselves and our loved ones (and yes, even strangers) safe.
There are others, though, who believe this is all a hoax that’s been blown way out of proportion. They refuse to “buy in” and are ranting and raving at all of us “idiots.” Some (though I’ve managed to weed most of these out of my social media networks) are convinced it’s a left-wing conspiracy to make a certain political figure look bad. Insert eye roll here.
No matter to which side of the argument you lean, there’s no getting away from the fact that life will be different for a while. You can spend your time on Facebook arguing with the other side, or posting facts in the hope that people will read them (they won’t)…. or you can find something more productive to do with your time. I choose the latter. And, I hope you will too.
To help, I’ve come up with a list of things to do instead of scroll social media and worry. Let me say – I am not a doctor. You should always use your own best judgment and that of your doctor to determine your level of activity. That said, I’m going to try them and you’re invited to as well.
- Visit your local, state or national parks. Research has shown fresh air and sunshine are good for your health. Hike, run, bike, camp. Sit and stare. You can even take a friend. Just keep six feet apart.
- Take the dog for a longer-than-usual walk.
- Play board games with your family (wipe the board and pieces down with disinfectant to be safe).
- Watch a movie or documentary.
- Use quiet time to pray, read a daily devotional, inspirational story or book.
- Try a new recipe (preferably plant-based, but you do you).
- Initiate a game of hide-and-seek with your kids (this was added by my 12-year-old).
- Turn on some music and have an impromptu dance party.
- Learn a new language (dust off that Babbel app).
- Declutter that kitchen drawer (you know the one).
- Sit on the back porch with a cup of coffee.
- Call or FaceTime with friends and loved ones. Send a hand-written letter. When’s the last time you got one of those?
- Donate to organizations serving those in need.
- Support local businesses by getting food to-go or buying a gift certificate to use later.
I could add many more. School’s out for a month here. But, that’s a start.
What’s missing? Drop a comment below. Let’s keep it PG, please. 🙂