If you are anything like me, you have spent the past week furiously moving between despair and hope and saving social media posts, scientific articles, and (slightly-less-scientific) listicles to help maintain some sort of balance. Here is the thing, Corona isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why we need to prepare ourselves to be strong and get through it mentally. Personally, for me to even remotely imagine getting through anything, I need to have my thoughts ordered within the chaos. So, to help me and (hopefully) you, I have put together all my saved articles/ideas/random thoughts into this one master list that we can use throughout this period.
From the top tips for making working from home successful to my saved lists of virtual music events that are happening, ideas for helping your community to motivating yourself to get dressed each morning (I think I have compiled as much as I can think of). If you have anything to add, please leave it in the comments because we all gotta help each other out.
Here we go…
1. Set Some Kind Of Routine
I used to think that there was nothing more undesirable than being a “routine” person, oh how I was wrong. In reality, there is nothing worse than feeling like you don’t have control over your most precious resource…time. The purpose of making a routine during this period isn’t necessarily to make you as PRODUCTIVE as possible. As Haley Nahman perfectly put it, “You don’t have to ‘make the most’ of a global pandemic.” We aren’t forcing you to join “the 5 am club” or feel like you have to be doing something every minute. Instead, setting out a simple routine should help you to move through your days with a little more purpose to keep your mind, body, and soul as content as possible. It should give you time to incorporate daily self-care (whatever that looks like for you), something (virtually) social and things that will help you not to feel as though this time is awful and depressing. We have to stay positive.
I think including journaling, mediation, and some morning movement is essential (and is part of my regular morning routine). Journaling will help you to differentiate the nuances of your day-to-day, even if they begin feeling monotonous. It is also a good way to incorporate some daily gratitude, write down three things you are thankful for to help keep perspective. For meditation, I like to use Headspace, but Lizzo has also blessed the world with a 30-minute meditation that I am certainly going to follow.
For the past year, I have been doing most of my workouts at home. I still love Barre3 online, and I highly recommend signing up because they have so many classes to stream (read more about it here). For cardio, I like the Popsugar Fitness YT channel (finally going to do some of the Bollywood dancing routines!). For yoga sessions, you can’t beat Yoga with Adrienne (who has compiled a playlist “Yoga For Uncertain Times“). However, this is also an excellent opportunity to try out new workouts and support local studios. A couple of mornings ago, I took an Insta live class with Barre Fly Cleveland and then Venmo-ed the instructor afterward. A lot of studios are doing this type of virtual class, so check in with your locals and consider incorporating some of them into your weekly routine.
2. Make A Master “To Do” List
From finally unsubscribing from all those e-mail newsletters to rearranging furniture in your apartment, taking classes on Masterclass or brushing off your language skills, think of this as an opportunity to do (or get started) on some of the projects or hobbies that you generally don’t have time for (presuming you aren’t suddenly trying to homeschool children!). Declutter everything! Deep clean your abode! Finish (start) home improvements! Read all the books! Finish your scrapbooks! Make elaborate recipes! Work through online courses! Send love letters! Watch Youtube tutorials to learn how to do make-up finally! Start your podcast! Set-up the Bluetooth in your car!
Sit down with a blank piece of paper and just brain-dump; I am sure you will come up with something. I believe in you creative beast. This is also a good time to revisit your 2020 goals and “someday” projects to see how you can take a step. With your Master “To Do” list, you can then start sketching out a plan for the week, which will work wonders in helping you keep your sanity. Small things to look forward to make all the difference.
Some things on my Master “To Do” list include completing a closet declutter and starting to sell clothes online, learning to sew, using up my beauty products (some of which require me to take baths!!!), reading the articles I have stockpiled on my Instapaper, organizing my photos and hard drives, reading LOTS, and listening to new-to-me artists on Sofar Sounds.
3. Set-up Regular Facetime Sessions & Phone Calls
We gotta still talk to each other. I have made a list of people that I want to reach out to and call and am going to aim to facetime/skype with one a day. It is kind of nerve-wracking, but I know when I do speak to people on the phone, it feels so lovely, and this is like the best time to bring phone calls back into fashion. Voice notes just don’t compare.
4. Compile An Entertainment List
The fact that society is telling us to stay home and READ BOOKS and WATCH MOVIES seems like a dream wrapped in an impossible nightmare. But, I am not going to fight it. In the past seven days, I have read 4.5 books, and I plan on maintaining that momentum for as long as I can. For book recommendations, I post everything that I read on my Insta, and you can also check out these articles:
- The books my book club are most excited to read in 2020
- My 2020 reading challenge
- The 25 books that changed mine & my BFFs’ lives
Here are some entertainment resources to take advantage of over the next few weeks:
- Haymarket Books is offering ten free ebooks all related to changing the world
- Open Culture is a fantastic resource with free movies, online courses, language lessons, and ebooks
- Digital fashion and textile museum collections for you to peruse from home
- Libby is the app I use to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from my library
- 17 therapist approved self-help books to help you work on some things inside yourself
I haven’t seen many TV shows, so I am looking at this list and this one for some recommendations. Hulu just early-released the first three episodes of Little Fires Everywhere, which is at the top of my list – mainly because it is set in Shaker Heights where I grew up! I also wouldn’t mind finishing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) and Babylon Berlin (Netflix), both of which I started at the beginning of the year but haven’t made much recent progress with. Oooooh! Fauda (Netflix) is supposed to be amazing. Film-wise, I would like to work my way through this list of documentaries, features, and shorts exploring diverse environmental issues.
Anyway, there are a gazillion lists of books/movies/podcasts/tv-shows/tik toks to entertain yourself with – my suggestion is that you compile your own little list so that you don’t get so overwhelmed that you don’t enjoy anything (me!).
5. Put Virtual Concerts & Events In Your Calendar
Celebs, they’re just like us! They are isolating and need to occupy themselves, which means we are getting tons of content from them. Miley Cyrus is hosting an hour-long talk show, “Bright Minded” every Mon-Fri @ 11:30 am PT on her Insta, which is fun and uplifting. Other Insta personalities are hosting live streams and talks every day; I have been enjoying Doina’s and those on the Man Repeller account.
But what brought the biggest smile to my face this week was Chris Martin’s 30-min concert from his home as part of #TogetherAtHome. The next day, John Legend did one, and Chrissy was there drinking wine! So, I am expecting that it is going to continue to spread around (follow Global Citizen to stay up-to-date). SO COOL!
If you still need more music (I don’t blame you), NPR has put together this handy-dandy list of live virtual concerts, which has a gazillion options for every night of the week. Whether you want a Sofi Tukker DJ set or to see the Met Opera, it is all listed there. My friend Yaron is doing a “Quarantine Concert” tonight on Piano Cleveland, which my Mum and I have set a date to watch.
Finally, if you usually spend your weekends walking around a museum, you don’t have to give that pursuit up either as Travel and Leisure has put together a list of 12 famous museums that offer virtual tours. Why not ask a friend to (virtually) join you, enabling you to talk about your (very valid) art criticisms without offending anyone around you who may have progressed past “Art History 101”. Will you be heading to London or Seoul this Saturday afternoon?
6. Figure Out Working From Home
Unlike most of the population, I have never had the experience of working in an office, and WFH is my norm. But, even after doing it for years, I still find it challenging (hence why I often go and work in a coffee shop). If you can WFH over the next few weeks and months, don’t feel bad if it seems exorbitantly tricky to get to the same level of motivation that you have while in an office. But, you still have to do your job, and there are a few steps you can take to make it slightly more pleasant!
Establishing a morning routine is critical – shower, get dressed, eat a good breakfast, you know the drill. Approach the day as though you are going to see other people; otherwise, you are very quickly going to become disconnected. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. This is my expertise, unfortunately. Literally, I try to take daily outfit photos on Insta because it is extra motivation actually to get dressed. Do what you must! This is SURVIVAL.
Additionally, have a chair or a table or a corner of your studio apt that you can designate as your “working space.” Tidy it up when you are finished for the day, just as you would in your regular office. I like to use the Be Focused – Focus Timer to help me stay committed to the task-at-hand as it enables you to break up tasks into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. Planning your day is the best way to make the most of your time; I will often break everything down on my Google Calendar and have it all color-coded so that things feel more legitimate. Otherwise, I feel like I have unlimited amounts of time in front of me, and then BOOM suddenly it is 8:30 pm.
7. Support Your Community
If there is one thing that COVID-19 has demonstrated, it is that we are all very interconnected. Therefore, you have to think about your community and help its members as much as you can. There has been lots of talk about buying gift cards to local businesses (such as hairdressers, workout studios, coffee shops, restaurants) that you can then use after this is over. Still, I have read that in many cases, they don’t actually get the money until the gift card is used? So you might want to check with them on a case-by-case basis!
What you can do is order take-out food/coffee from local establishments, this is SO important because if we don’t help eateries out over the next few months, they are going to fail to exist. I have seen people put together guides of restaurants that are doing delivery or take-out in many cities, so a quick Google/Insta search should be enough for you to locate one applicable to your locale. Otherwise, check your favorite local spots on social media, and they are pretty much guaranteed to have given an update.
Similarly, avoid chains (such as Amazon) as much as possible and try to order anything you need from local shops and makers. For example, my local bookshop is closed, but they are still doing online orders and free delivery. Similarly, most of my favorite local makers have closed their physical operations but are continuing their e-commerce as much as possible. As with restaurants, all these local businesses need us to support them as much as we possibly can. They are such an integral part of our communities! I don’t even allow myself to think about them not existing…we aren’t going to let that happen, right???
I have read that musicians/other artists are asking people to consider taking private skype lessons with them or opting to buy their music or merch – especially if you were planning on going to a concert and it got canceled/refunded. Everyone is going to feel economic pressure over the next few months, but there are certainly some industries that are already taking a bigger hit. If you can, Venmo your friends who are in the service industry or are independent contractors, or send them some food. We all have to get through this together.
Speaking of which, food banks, homeless shelters, and other essential organizations are in desperate need of donations to continue helping those who are the most vulnerable in our society. For Clevelanders, here is a list of organizations that you can donate to. Finally, if you have elderly family members/neighbors, offer to go grocery shopping/run errands for them to ensure they don’t have to expose themselves to the virus. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) is a national membership network of more than 600 agencies that serve aging people. They have an Eldercare Locator that can connect you to an organization in your community that needs support.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE HAVE GOT THIS NOW????????