At home with a pandemic
Even the streets are starting to feel so different. The current state of our neighborhood/the World has us on full alert for the safety of our health and welfare. So, per usual, I will come at the story with a positive angle. Like all the new take-out and delivery options!
Please know, I am not making light of how serious this situation is, however I am highlighting how extremely lucky we are to live where we do.
For the past week I have been keeping a watchful eye on the neighborhood (camera in hand) to show how people like you are coping with their newly found free-time. A handful of friends from all around the Lake Minnetonka area (Orono, Shady Island, Minnetrista, Mound, Chanhassen) were generous enough to let me photograph their household just as they were, spending time together at home while avoiding others in order to "flatten the curve".
And not everyone is enjoying their in-home-suspension. Many residents have resorted to boredom busters like puzzles, board games, video games and binge watching TV. While the more productive types go for a good ol' deep cleaning of their home, and of course they don't overlook organizing the garage. That followed by writing out those overdue Thank You cards, and sketching a plan for the garden (growing your own food is suddenly very popular). All great options.
I secretly find it a little amusing, that after less than a week of isolation some people are already wondering what to do to keep themselves and their kids busy. 1 week. Spring Break is longer than a week! Calm down, you don't have to prove your worth by "doing something" or being constantly on-task. Take it easy on yourself and let the to-do list come to you.
It seems that one of the most noticeable yet easily masked issues, when being quarantined at home, is one's mental health.
On an average day, family time is often put by the wayside for more pressing things. But now, you can take full advantage of this togetherness. And you must. It's not a punishment but an opportunity. An opportunity to sleep in (haha, sorry friends with littles), stay in your PJs as long as you want, and snuggle as often as you wish!
An opportunity to get outside and get your hands dirty. Grow through what you go through. And bake.
I'm all for learning a new skill or picking up an old hobby. I think that'd be a great use of our extended time at home. But maybe don't resort to cutting your own hair just yet. Many SAHR (Stay At Home Residents) are video chatting with friends or logging onto YouTube for beginner lessons on crocheting or knitting (or cutting hair). While that might not be for everyone, a fun activity I think we should all try is to see what type of dish or meal you can cook with the random ingredients left in your pantry (before ordering more groceries for delivery).
I've spoken with families that create special themes for each day of the week so they have something short-term to look forward to. Dress Up Day, PJ Day, Sport Day, Formal Day, Date Night, Game Night, Movie Night etc. Whatever gets you through.
Even I recently agreed to go camping (sleeping bags in the living room near the fireplace, with flashlights) to kick off Spring Break this weekend! If the nights warm up sooner than later, we may be in a tent outside with the owls, deer, and turkeys.
Of course teens always find a way to hang out with their friends.
Now let's circle back. Unlike some, I'm not in fear of running out of toilet paper or food. What I am afraid of is that people today are running out of imagination, creativity, and the ability to find peace when it's handed to them.
My suggestion for these anti-social times, go for a walk. Every day. A long walk. Bring water. And hit the pavement, or trail, or even make your own way. Wave hello to fellow trekkers. Pick up litter. You'll notice things you hadn't before. Hear the song of birds having just arrived for the season. Inhale a new scent every few steps. Let the animals cross your path, instead of you barging through theirs. Notice which trees are budding, and where the ice is out. See where the sun hits the landscape around you. Note the time, and how it doesn't even matter. Then realize how far you've walked, and how easy it was. You just got exercise, fresh air, and a peek into the real life of your neighborhood! And it was free. Repeat.
And soon enough, we'll at least be able to open our windows, if not store, school & office doors.
A special shout out: THANK YOU to those pictured for being so kind, accommodating, and willing to participate! Like so many others, each of them asked how I was doing and if there was anything they could do for me. Such a great community we have in Minnesota.
Have you started something new as a result of social distancing? Comment below with your new hobby, talent, animal companion, work-around, way of life etc.
Please note: All photos were taken from at least 10 feet away, and were done so days before the Stay At Home Order from MN Governor Walz was enacted.