I live in Pennsylvania, with Tom Wolf as the governor. Whether you agree with his politics or not, I don’t envy the job he’s been elected to do. Especially since he’s ordered Pennsylvanians home for another month. While I, gratefully, still have a job, I never thought I’d see the day when I actually can’t just go out to dinner after or see a movie with my mom on Discount Tuesday.
As a writer, I’ve got plenty of work ahead of me. But, without fail, writer’s block sets in. Or stretch my legs. So, if you’re life’s dramatically changed with current affairs and need something new to do, here are fifteen things you can do as you #StayHome.
- Whittle down your To Be Read book pile
If you’re a reader or even a writer, you already know all the excuses you give yourself to not read. You don’t have to do any of those Goodreads or Kindle book challenges, or keep others appraised of your progress. You know that pile’s been on your mind. Go read!
While I’ve never been able to get into journaling myself, I know it’s incredibly therapeutic for many others. There’s bullet journals, art journals, prayer journals, food journals; I could go on but there’s so many types out there. If you need help getting started, have a read of Jofelo’s article for inspiration.
- Plan ahead – give yourself something to look forward to
Last year, before COVID19 reached Pennsylvania, I’d already decided to tour more historical places around my city for novel research. I’ve got at least five places to visit when the weather’s a bit warmer, and it’s something to look forward to. What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!
Puzzles are a Redman Family Christmas staple activity in my family. Without fail, we’ve done one each holiday season, even after both my grandparents died. Now, I find completing a puzzle spirit lifting and relaxing. Puzzles both keep my anxiety in check and are something I know I have control over.
- Go through and organize your digital photos/files
As a writer, I have many MANY files, folders, graphics and documents. Every once in a while I’ll discover a duplicated folder, or five of the same image. When I get to that point, it usually takes 2-3 hours to sort, delete and combine. And hey, if you decide to do this, that’s one afternoon right there!
- Borrow some non-fiction titles from your local library via eBook
Since many libraries – if not all – are currently closed, grab your library card and head for your county’s online card catalog. While not every title will be available to borrow electronically, there should still be a large list to choose from. Just remember to return the book(s) when you finish them. Someone else may be waiting to devour them!
- Explore old family recipes, or discover some new ones
After my Grandma Redman died, we kept her metal box of family recipes. Many years later, all the ladies finally got a cookbook of her most popular dishes and desserts to try making ourselves. One of our favorites is her corn casserole (now loved by my niece and nephew). But, if you don’t have a stash like that, there’s a ton of recipes for every cuisine available online.
- Finally do that gardening project you’ve stared at all winter
Have you got a patio, deck, or a full yard? I’m sure, then, you’ve got at least one or two tasks out there that need done. I started on mine Sunday afternoon. However, the wind advisory cut that short. I just need a slightly warmer day so I can start planting my fairy garden!
- Participate in that “Chalk Your Walk” challenge
My sister and her kids did this last week. My walk got a bunch of random “E’s,” but it’s the thought that counts. If you’re a parent, I’m sure there’s chalk somewhere in your house. Go for a walk with your chalk and bring some smiles to your neighbors.
- Send “snail mail” to family and friends
This is something I used to do all the time as a kid. I’ve since fallen out of practice, with Facebook and all that social media. There’s just something magical about holding a physical note in your hands, because it means someone decided to take the time to sit and write it. The paper and stamps don’t need to be fancy. Just let them know how your family is and check up on them.
- Start your spring cleaning, one room at a time
For some reason, when people hear “spring cleaning,” they think they have to do the whole house at once. With a worldwide focus on cleanliness, perhaps now’s a good time to deep clean your home, one room at a time. You don’t even need to start with the messiest. Work your way up to it; use it as motivation to finish.
- Watch a new show you’d never consider before (like Star Trek?)
Personally, there’s no hope for me when it comes to this category. I grew up on Trek and science fiction shows like Firefly and The X Files. Now, I’m very much into Korean, Japanese and [some] Chinese dramas. That being said, you don’t need to “get hooked” on what’s new and popular. There are loads of fantastic shows available online from the past several decades to divulge in. Now’s a perfect time to explore a “new” old show.
- Research local history
Since 2016, I’ve taken a deep dive into Southwestern Pennsylvanian history. Granted, most of it is for my historical work in progress, but it’s opened up another level of learning I never before experienced. Much of what I’ve learned was never taught in school (or, if it was, I don’t remember). Every city/town has its own history. Perhaps it’s time to explore?
- Practice some self care
With everyone being encouraged to “stay six feet apart” and “social distance,” self care’s never been more important as the current state of anxiety rises. Remember: It’s okay to take time for yourself to do something you love. Have a night dedicated to rewatching a favorite show, or reread a favorite book. Or, if you’ve got the supplies already, grab some nail polish, a face mask, a snack or two and have a night of pampering.
- Actually shower + get ready for the day
I don’t know why this one isn’t first on the list, but here it is. Let’s face it – we all need a “pajama day” once in a while, but doing practical things like showering, making your bed and laundry will help keep you grounded in some form of normalcy.
And there you have it. Fifteen things to do as you #StayHome this week (or next). If you’ve already done something suggested in this list, try something else. Remember, it’s okay to have a little fun in these uncertain times. Don’t worry – you’ll get through!