Challenges, finance, Health, Living, Uncategorized

Opportunities and Avoidances while Staying Home

Man oh man. It has not reached quarantine levels in my household yet, but I suspect we are going to be spending an awful lot more time at home in the near future. Like many blogs out there, this one is going to offer some humble opinions on how best to spend that time.

Avoidances

Don’t do these!
  • Fearmongering. For the sake of everyone around you, stop sharing stories on your social media about how terrible everything is and how we are all doomed. It doesn’t help anyone, including yourself; in fact, it will probably serve to make you stressed out and sick.
  • Stockpiling. I don’t think I need to say much about this, but no one needs a years’ worth of toilet paper. Be thoughtful about what you can do with the food you already have at home, and continue to buy fresh produce to keep your body healthy. A bar of soap can be just as useful as several hand sanitizers.
  • Checking your portfolio. I’ll admit, I have a slightly perverse sense of curiosity about my investments – I want to learn from past recessions to make the most of my money. Seeing my net worth plunge down does not cause me to panic – but it might make others. Looking at your portfolio every day is a recipe for disaster. Stay the course, invest if you can, and forget about it.
  • Online binge shopping. It is tempting to stay home and continue to shop, shop, shop. None of your new toys or clothes will make you happy in the long-term, and it is more of a distraction than anything else. Find another way to spend your time.
  • Going to bars. Pictures of packed bars and restaurants for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were a little jolting to see. I understand people need a release from the tension that has been going around, but we owe it to ourselves and the other members of our community to show more common sense than this.
  • Clogging up the health care system. Follow your medical system’s recommendations; mine say not to call or go to my gp/hospital unless it is a bona fide emergency. Health care workers are modern day heroes – don’t waste their time because you have a tickle in your throat, or worse, “just to make sure I don’t have it”.
  • Morphing into a slug. Some are voluntarily at home, others are not. Regardless of your situation, stay active as best you can. You are not doing yourself any favours by laying on the couch all day every day. This is a great article from Nerd Fitness about at home workouts you can complete. Make food choices that give your body something to work with.

Opportunities

Fuck yeah, indeed!
  • Learn. What a chance to finally learn something you’ve wanted to for a while. If you are staying home and are struggling to find a way to entertain yourself, head on over to the old Internet and find a free online course that tickles your fancy. There are so many options that they make my head spin, and it is a good way to keep your mental faculties sharp and focused. I myself have been learning how to sew and how to cook. I already have the supplies, now I have the time to find the knowledge on how to use them.
  • Create. Instead of mindless consumption of tv and movies, find a way to create something. Maybe a short story or a blog. Maybe an arts and crafts project. Do something that makes you feel productive and you might even find a new passion or hobby.
  • Exercise. Learn how to do bodyweight exercises, like push ups, squats and lunges. Try out a handstand against your wall. Follow a yoga tutorial. Walk around and around and around. Lift up your furniture. Get moving.
  • Play. If you have kids, play with them. If you have a spouse, partner, roommate, pet, play with them. If you are on your own, be as silly as you can. My husband and I started arm wrestling on a whim yesterday and we ended up breaking down in a fit of giggles. It made us both feel a lot better. When he is at work, I throw on some 90s dance tunes and put on a concert for an invisible audience. Make play a priority and you will find plenty of moments of happiness.
  • Socialize responsibly. I plan on calling all of my family members for a good long chat this week. I will also be calling my friends in Scotland and across Canada. I realize that I have not been socializing with them in any really meaningful sense in a while, and I need to rectify that.
  • Read. Last week I stocked up on so many books from the library that they didn’t fit on the normal shelf I keep for them. I picked a wide range of topics, from self-help to mystery, and I will enjoy reading each of them. If you don’t want to go to the library, mine offers ebooks and audiobooks for download, all for free. Check out your local library’s website to see what’s on offer. **Tip: if you can, walk around while reading your book. It’s some extra movement that your body will thank you for.
  • Halt consumerism. The panic buying extravaganza really showed me how dependent we are on stuff. This needs to change, and needed to change even before coronavirus dominated the headlines. We owe it to ourselves and the planet to stop consuming so much shit. Take the time now to really think about if you need whatever it is you want to buy – chances are you don’t. Your wallet and the planet will be forever grateful if you change your shopping habits, even just a little bit.
  • Clean. Here in Vancouver it is Spring, and it’s a great opportunity to throw open the windows and get some fresh air in. I am currently on Spring Break (and school closures may happen during this outbreak) so I am cleaning like a madwoman. It’s oddly satisfying, and a good use of my time.
  • Be old-fashioned. Plant some herbs or a vegetable garden, if you are able. Make some homemade canned goods. Sew up some patches in your socks. Do a puzzle, write a journal, knit. Play a board game. Don’t rely solely on your devices for entertainment and purpose.
  • Support local. So many businesses will be struggling. In my area we have a lot of little shops that offer a variety of wonderful things. Starbucks does not need my money. The little cafe on the corner might. Show responsibility with your dollars and support people who need you to stay afloat for the next few months.
  • Breathe. We are all stressed out. Take a few minutes and breathe. In and out, in and out. Don’t think about bad things – in fact, don’t think at all. Just focus on your breathing.

Who knows, maybe this is a catalyst we needed for supporting major change in the world. For moving away from cheap consumerism and creating more meaningful contacts with people. For recognizing and appreciating what we have. For realizing that maybe what we were chasing before simply wasn’t worth it. Will the world change overnight? No, of course not. But while we are going through this pandemic we can can make choices that can affect us in the long run. Good luck, and find something that makes you smile 🙂

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