Coronavirus numbers are spiking, as predicted, and a new round of shutdowns is spreading across the country. Most of us are going to again find some extra time on our hands. Without football or basketball games, movies or concerts, hell, without our commute, there’s spare time. Face it: There’s only so much Netflix you can watch and not turn into a mushroom. Did you make good use of your time in March through June? Whether you did or not, it looks like you’ll have a second chance. Try to find a way to do something good for yourself. Better still, do good for others.
But first, let’s acknowledge two important groups who are not bored: Essential workers and at-home parents.
Essential Workers. It’s not just hospital workers, police and firefighters that are putting their lives on the line these days, although their sacrifices have been huge. Don’t forget the retail workers at Walmart, Target, and grocery stores, the Amazon warehouse and delivery people and the people at the electric, gas water and sewage plants that are keeping our world close to normal. Many teachers have been teaching in classrooms this fall. To those terribly busy and hard-working people, we say thank you(!!) and ask a little patience with this article.
At-home parents: kudos for your valiant efforts to continue your kids’ education and maintain normalcy. When we were young, my wife would take a week of vacation with her friends in Florida and I stayed home from the office with our four beautiful kids. The first time, with a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and one-year-old twins, it was mayhem. I managed to feed them (proven by the variety of foods drying on their skin; their wardrobe was mostly diapers and little else) and bathe them (all at once, one bath, a few hours before mom got home) and desperately clean the house (ONCE after they went to sleep and just before her friend dropped her home). I was never so happy to see her. I had a new appreciation of the work of stay home parents.
For the rest of us, here’s a few ideas for shutdown:
Help yourself. Why not do something you’ve always wanted to do for yourself?
- Finish your to-do list. All those chores around the house you’ve been meaning to get to? There’s great pleasure in checking things off that list.
- Polish a skill. My wife is a great baker, but after watching a few seasons of the Great British Baking Show, she’s been refining her considerable skills. Which lead me to …
- Work on your exercise regime. It’s hard to stay healthy at home with all that food to snack on. Go for walks or jogs (masked), stretch, lift weights… just be reasonable. And if you’re already in great shape, push yourself… train for marathon!
- Learn a new skill online. Have you always admired people who could whittle or woodwork, do pottery or draw. There are literally thousands of people on YouTube that simply LOVE to teach people their skills. Just about any skill is comprehensively covered…and it’s free! (Warning: Check the comments to make sure you’re learning the right way; anyone can post a video, but the commenters are merciless if it’s done wrong).
- Clean Up! How about that basement or storage area mess? What about the closets? Why not purge all those old clothes? Organize the junk drawer?
- Go outdoors. As long as you’re masked and physical distancing, going outdoors is safe. The cold, dry winter air reduces coronavirus floating around. Bundle up and get outside!
- Redecorate. Paint that room you wanted to spruce up, move the furniture around, even….
- Remodel. Why spend money having a company remodel? If you have the skills, or can learn them, you can go at your own pace, and maybe do a better job. Just stay within realistic goals; don’t try to remodel a bathroom if you’ve never even painted a room!
Help Others. While you’re helping yourself, why not help other and the world in general.
- Donate those old clothes you purged to Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
- Pick up trash when you’re outdoors walking or jogging. Bending over is good for you!
- Rescue a new Pet. Helps you and the pet and the humane society.
- Call Senior Citizens (or videoconference). If you don’t have your own favorite grandma and great-uncle, there are nursing homes and other organizations that will arrange for you to check in with a senior or shut-in. Send them flowers; have your kids send them a drawing.
- Donate extra iPads or other tablets to senior homes. Bradshaw and Bryant helped organize a nationwide event last month to do just that.
- Help your Neighbors. There may be people nearby who could use some help. Can you buy groceries for them? Pick up a prescription? Walk their dog? Join NextDoor, a social network that’s neighborhood-oriented.
Essential Workers. What can we do to help essential workers? First, wear your damn mask, citizen! And wear it right. Remember, you only go to that grocery store occasionally, but that checkout person has been there full time, for months on end, facing thousands of people a week. Every dum-dum who doesn’t cover the face and nose, or who pulls it down to talk, or just refuses to wear a mask, puts those lives at risk! Would you want your mother having to breathe that air?
Don’t go out at all if you develop any new COVID symptoms:
- Cough, especially a dry cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
And if you have a fever, especially a high fever, get tested and quarantine yourself! Do not be part of the problem!
And thank those essential workers, just like you would a soldier or a cop. Let them know you really appreciate them; they’re not hearing it enough!
At-home parents, don’t forget to take care of yourselves and your family. Don’t become the not-fun teacher that students resent. There are lots of ways to make learing fun! Do something fun with your kids that doesn’t involve home-schooling. Find one of the activities above and schedule time for fun. Make sure it’s something they want to do, not something you make them do!
Do you have some ideas? Feel free to leave them in the comments!
As a partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Joe Crumley has over 30 years experience helping injured people and their families to secure just and fair compensation. Excelling in personal injury litigation, Mr. Crumley has secured numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements and won accolades such as MTLA’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year” and “Excellence” Awards.