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6 Things you NOW have time to accomplish...

Updated: May 25, 2021

If you are living in the state of Michigan, like many other states in the U.S., you are currently on "lock down" also known as the governor's "Stay Home - Stay Safe" executive order. To suppress the spread of COVID-19, all non-essential businesses are closed. School is out. Sporting events are cancelled. Not only are we being asked to social distance (keep 6 feet away from everyone on the planet unless that person resides in your home), but now must suspend all activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. I won't nag you about how you should be taking this seriously... I suspect you are already doing your part by staying home. What choice do you have? (And we are on, what? Week eleventeen? Seriously, what day is it?!)

We sit and wait anxiously to go about life again and maybe look for some way we can contribute to society. Fortunately, there are some things you can do in your own home that will not only make an impact right now, but may also have a lasting affect on you, your spouse, and your family. Consider these options for using your time wisely and investing in your family's well being. They may seem insignificant in the short term but you'll be amazed at how they could make you feel in the end!

1. Get organized. Clean your home and finally tackle that room/closet/basement/garage that you've been putting off. Marie Kondo your living space. Go through your wardrobe and toss (set aside for donating at a later time) those items you no longer use. Have a bonfire with the 12 years of receipts you've been collecting. Decide if you ACTUALLY are going to use all of those scrapbooking materials you've been saving, and if so, how you're going to make that happen. If you have kids, recruit them to help. Create your ideal living environment for you all. Hey, you're going to be spending quite a bit of time here in the near future!

2. Train (or retrain) your body. The good news about not seeing anyone or going anywhere is that you aren't seen. This is the perfect time to transition to fewer hair washes each week or even try the No Poo Method for healthier hair. If you do happen to suffer a bad hair day, no one else will know or care! (If you desperately need something natural to help you get one more day in before a wash, try AMN's Dry Shampoo.) Stop using deodorant. Chances are, you are exposing yourself to harmful chemicals for little or no reason at all. Yes, you still want to keep your pits clean, so shower regularly (and after work outs), but you may find that after you detox from your current routine you can live without the phthalates and parabens. Try a menstrual cup. You won't need to worry about stocking disposable products during a pandemic (and it's better for the environment). Develop good "sleep hygiene"; create healthy sleep habits that exclude electronic consumption 30 minutes before bed and be sure to allow for 7 hours of sleep per night. And get yourself in shape! Exercise has probably never been more important than it is right now. Statistics are constantly changing, but we do have data to suggest overweight patients are more likely to experience severe cases of COVID19. Maybe you don't have to tackle all things at once, but concentrate on a routine you've been meaning to adjust anyway.

3. Nurture a passion. This looks different for everyone but it might mean attempting a new art form, learning a language, or dusting off that sewing machine you inherited. Discover something about yourself or spend some time focusing on your talents. Bake. Write a song. Journal. Read a classic book. Go for a long (and then longer) run. Start a garden or take yours to the next level. Self care is extremely important for stress management; find something that will truly make you happy and be intentional about making it happen.

4. Create a new family tradition. This is easiest for families in quarantine together, of course, but still not necessarily easy. Our family of five never agrees on the same game or TV show. But, spending time together is more important now than ever before. Young children especially have no idea what is going on and older children just miss their friends and activities. This is a confusing time for all of us and the perfect opportunity to bond as one family unit. Come up with a "team" name or secret hand shake. Build a Lego set together, complete a puzzle (even if you work on it in shifts), develop a shared exercise routine, or read a book together and then watch the movie! And don't get discouraged about the traditions you might be missing out on. Easter/Mother's Day 2020 will be like no other. This is an exceptional year and all we can do is make the most of it.

5. Research. At some point, if it hasn't happened for you already, you will be tired of reading Coronavirus statistics and watching the analysis of Trump's latest briefing. But, perhaps, there is a subject that you would be better served to school yourself on. Maybe you've always wanted to raw feed your pet but just didn't know where to start. Perhaps you're curious what cannabis has to offer. Potentially, you've been interested in studying both sides of the vaccine debate. Are they really safe? And how effective is the flu shot, really? Whether it's discovering how bad 5g really is for your health, or the impacts of disposable plastic on global warming, today is as good as any (if not better) to finally go down that rabbit hole.

6. Build relationships. Happy hour looks a little different these days with restaurant dining prohibited, but scheduling a virtual meeting with your besties over a glass of wine is still an option. Possibly the best part about social isolation is not being forced to spend time with anyone that you don't want to (unless, of course, you live with them). Perhaps you still take that weekly call from your mother-in-law (I love you, Debi!), but, that consistently rude lady at carpool or that insanely arrogant coworker can be totally written off (at least for now). Consider the relationships that you truly value and make an effort to grow them.

I won't say, "we're in this together." I recognize that everyone is affected differently by this situation. Some are working more, caring for others that are sick, or "stuck" in living situations that they would otherwise not be in. Every person's life has been affected differently. While the end is not yet in sight, we do know it is coming. And we can choose how to emerge from this when the time is here. I encourage you to focus on doing the things you can do to make a positive impact on your life and those around you. Be a light in a dark time. And stay safe.

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