Tag Archives: corona virus pandemic 2020; survival tips

#coping during #covid19 The #NewNormal , part 2

So the other day I had so many responses to my question about how my writer friends are coping with the new normal in the pandemic world, that I had to write 2 blogs to post them all! hee hee. I have really great friends.
Writer Lucy Kubash sent me this: 
 My husband and I retired two years ago and we’ve gotten use to being home a lot more in that time, but knowing we can’t just jump in the car and go somewhere is a bit unnerving. Since we live where it’s still quite cold (Michigan), we also have learned to deal with staying home more in the winter weather. But, here are a few things I do to try to keep from going too stir crazy when stuck at home, and so I’m not just at the computer all day.
Get outside at least once a day. Fill the bird feeders and feed the squirrels. Take the dogs out in the back yard (My husband tries to walk one dog every day. I say try because Ace doesn’t always want to go, lol!)
Choose one household project per day to finish, something I’ve been putting off for a while. Then I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I have a long list!
Have a treat in the afternoon; hot chocolate, coffee cake, something that makes me feel good.
Post soothing/fun photos on Facebook/Instagram and try to avoid the scary stuff.

WRP sistah and friend Julie Howard has these recommendations for sanity:

I thought I’d chime in on my own sanity tip for your blog.
Spending too much time indoors is a guarantee for craziness, no matter if there’s a pandemic or not. I have to get outside and walk. Fortunately, it’s spring and there are blossoms and buds to admire on nearly every tree. Daffodils are in full bloom which means tulips aren’t far behind. This is a wonderful time to clear the cobwebs in my brain, process all that’s happening, and even conjure a plot or two in one of my books. I always return home refreshed. Who knows what tomorrow brings, and so I focus on the moment. Small pleasures, like a simple walk.
Another wonderful WRP sistah, N. Christine Samuelson sent me this:
I, too, pretty much prefer the isolation of the writing life; but it’s curious, now that I’m told I have to stay home, I want to go out visiting & shopping, esp. the bookstores, lol! Human nature, I guess. So, like yo, my routine isn’t changed drastically except no more last minute running to store or restaurant for take out dinners; and no more escape to a movie theater once a week. Instead, I’ve changed my routine like this:
Cooking meals instead of eating out-  I’m finding it soothing and something to look forward to — finding a new recipe and making a great meal for family. Never thought I’d have fun finding new dishes & actually taking the time to cook them!
Sharing information:  I know many elderly people/family who either don’t use a computer or are limited in its use. So I’m researching local stores & restaurants to find hours, & places that have pickup service and/or deliver groceries & meals, & even medications. I also offered to bring food & place at their front door if they run out or can’t cook.  Helping others takes me out of my own head & problems.
Getting out for fresh air & sunlight to walk even just for 20 min where others are not congregated, ie: around a pretty-much deserted neighborhood or beach. Or if I start getting really claustrophobic, we just drive around in the car and look at nature or a sunset. Find something each day to do for yourself that takes you away from all the bad news and your own fears. (Thank goodness for Netflix, Prime & wonderful BOOKS!)
Faith & prayer. When fear of the future grabs me, praying and reaching out to family & friends via internet/phone/skype always helps. We’re all in this together.

         Click to learn   :  How to wash your hands correctly

My dear friend and fellow New York sistah Charlotte O’Shay has been self isolating for the past few weeks and gives these tips for coping:

“Covid-19 is war. With a large immediate and extended family in the New York metro area and with some including me with underlying respiratory vulnerabilities, we have to win it.

Living as we do, cheek by jowl in NYC, is a challenge even in the best of times and these days are not the best of times. Here are some of my coping methods.

#1-Stay connected

FaceTime conference calls with family and friends, photo-sharing, recipe sharing, story sharing, joke sharing. We’re sitting around a big virtual dinner table cheering each other up and on. This is not easy as many of us have been furloughed, let go or business has plain stopped during the pandemic.

#2- Structure

My husband and I have been self-isolated for 10 days. We structure our days as work days, take a break to walk at day’s end while keeping social distance. Saturday spent cleaning.

#3- Daily

Constant hand washing, reading, writing, meditation, prayer, listening to music. Last night we had a mini James Taylor concert via Spotify. After actual though virtual work, husband reads Hemingway and binge watches the Last Kingdom. I’ve written 75% of a new indie romance.

#4-Food

My mom raised us to respect a dollar and water down eggs and tomato sauce to stretch the meal and I’ve been doing the same. It’s a challenge to see what I can come up with out of my pantry and it’s distressing and depressing to see some hoard. My sister and I scoured NYC to grocery shop for my disabled brother and elderly mom. We continue to give to charities like Food Bank. Their work providing food to those with food insecurity is more important than ever and my kids have given as well. When I couldn’t buy corned beef anywhere, we picked up corned beef takeout for St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve ordered takeout from two local restaurants which we are allowed to do with precautions of surface cleaning and hand washing.

I’m not really baking aside from sodabread for St. Patrick’s Day. With all of the enforced inactivity and pasta, I don’t need the calories though I confess I’ve eaten much more than my fair share of cheese lately.

#5-Only listen to/read trusted news sources. This is very important. Gov. Cuomo’s news conferences, WHO, Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Info, NHI, CDC are the sources of my information.

#6-Social media distancing-while I try to find the humor in anything I post or read in this unnerving time, I confess I’ve never been a big fan of social media. I’m having trouble watching people via FB or Instagram or Twitter who aren’t seeing this pandemic for what it is when so many of their fellow American health care professionals, first responders and other essential workers are going all out and risking their health to serve and protect.

#7-I’m reading A LOT and I’m guessing others are too. I’ve put my books on sale.”

When this is over I want to give everyone in my life a big hug.!

Peggy here: me, too!!!

 

One of my newer WRP sistahs, Marilyn Barr sent me this heartfelt email about getting through these trying times:

Six years ago, my son was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases and declared too sick for school by our local private school.  I quit my job as a public school teacher to manage his medical care and homeschool him.  He has grown stronger over the years and can now handle moderate groups of kids for short periods.  He will be exhausted but with his immunotherapy, he will not contract illnesses from the limited exposure.  We must carefully examine every acceptable risk which leads to some hard choices for my husband and me.  When we made these life changes, it was a difficult transition but it has been worth it.  These are my top 5 tips and tricks to being in isolation.

·         Replace the rhythm supplied by school and work.  Having work or school meant a schedule of activities leading to a natural rhythm.  Being devoid of this can be jarring to our systems and can cause anxiety.  You can recreate the rhythm by setting alarms on your phone at the same time each day for a special activity or having a theme each day of the week.  In my house, Laundry Day is Friday, In-house Date Night with my spouse is Thursday, Baking Day is Wednesday, Deep Cleaning is Tuesday, Trash Day is Monday, Sunday is Yardwork Day (year-round) and Saturday is Game Tournament day.  Some daily themes are more fun than others.  Every day my phone has alarms for 5:00 am writing time, 11:11 am meditation, 2:30 pm yoga, 4:00 pm silent reading, and 9:30 pm star-gazing and moon-spotting.

·         Balance screen time with screen-free activities.  Screens provide enjoyment but can eat up a large portion of our day.  Parents are grateful for the temporary peace screen-time provides until their children become dysregulated from too much exposure to artificial lights and stimulation.  By utilizing the alarms on my phone, I can break up blocks of screen time with low-tech activities to give my son’s eyes a rest.  My favorite screen reset activities are yoga and meditation because they calm his nervous system further.  However, a nature walk, time spent playing with the cats and practicing his piano are all healthy activities.  Silent reading, playing cards, and craft projects also help process some of the stimulus provided by screen time.

·         Maintain pride in your appearance and surroundings.  While pajama day once in a while is fun, ignoring hygiene makes for unpleasant-smelling roommates.  I always feel better when I look better and hypothesize it is the real reason why Donna Reed vacuumed in her pearls while her family was at work/school.  Maintaining shower schedules, housecleaning schedules, and hygiene routines all contribute to the daily rhythm which regulates our emotions.  I highly recommend taking this one step further and dressing up once a week for a candlelight dinner in your dining room complete with your favorite outfit, make-up (if you wear it), heels, special jewelry, and cologne.  You will be amazed at how special you feel being dressed up when you have nowhere to go.

·         Utilize technology to create worldwide social opportunities.  While my son has never been to school, he takes live classes on Outschool.com.  In his French book club, he met his best friend who lives in Belgium.  He sings in a choir whose director is in Calgary Canada.  He learned electronic dance music equipment and toured his teacher’s club booth in England in virtual music remixing class.  He met some of his French social club friends on our last vacation to Montreal.  Zoom, Facetime and some MMOs provide ways to connect with friends virtually.

·         Brainstorm curiosities you didn’t previously have time to pursue.  Instead of lamenting the extra time you have, you can turn it into a positive one.  What have you always wanted to study but never had the time?  I have always wanted to visit the megaliths of England and was excited to find free virtual tours of the world’s landmarks offered to bust quarantine boredom.  Also, if you are like me, your TBR tower reaches for the ceiling.  Reading new books and having the time to leave reviews has been a bonus for both myself and my son.  Nothing gives him more satisfaction than reading his opinions on his school materials to us.  (My last planned science lesson got “zero stars – does not recommend” with “change science to poetry” as the suggested recommendation for service improvement.)

I hope this can provide some inspiration for those thrust into a different lifestyle.  The hardest part of isolation is providing the natural rhythm and structure for yourself and maintaining your standards of living with no outside motivation.  By balancing the fun of reduced responsibilities with the needs of our sensory systems, we can recreate the inner harmony to stay happy and well-adjusted.

And my friend Maria Imbalzano has this wonderful take on how to cope:

We all have predictable schedules during our normal lives and we usually can’t get it all done. Now that we are working from home and have more time for ourselves, you may want to consider some of the things I do every day when I take a break from working on my novel.

  • Read the New York Times and a Local Paper
  • Do a Crossword Puzzle, cryptoquip, scramble, and/or sudoku
  • Read a book
  • Pick up the phone and have a conversation with a friend or relative
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle (can you tell I like puzzles of all kinds)
  • Take a walk outside or some other exercise

The following I should add to my list, but the jury is out.

  • Clean out a closet or drawer
  • Cook something good

Great ideas I saw on the internet

  • Take a virtual tour of one of 12 museums around the world
  • Take a dance lesson
  • Borrow one of 500,000 books free from the New York Public Library
  • Take a virtual trip to an aquarium or zoo

Take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace, the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef

Is it any wonder I love my writing sistahs sososos much??
Until next time, peeps: WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

 

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#coping during #covid19 The #NewNormal , part 1

As we get into the second week of our self-isolation and social distancing practices, I thought I’d ask a few of my author friends for tips on how they are coping. After all, most writers already are experts at self isolating. We spend the better part of our days alone, in our writing caves.
I sent out the call to my writing peeps, and, as always, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, I got so many responses, I decided to do a two-parter for this post, today, and this Thursday, so stay tuned and checked back on Thursday!
Here are a few ways we are all attempting to get through this trying time!
First, me. If you know me you know I love to cook and bake. Well, my husband has been having a  real eating feast for the past 13 days from my baking attempts. I’ve made a series of muffins that are almost gone on a daily basis! Click on the video link to see my latest endeavor:

Video- baking

I’ve also started posting my MORNING MOTIVATIONS again every day on my Instagram account as a way to stay positive and give encouragement. Here’s a recent one:

Fellow ROMANCE GEM Caroline Clemmons told me this is how she and her husband are coping:
~ More time to read—yay!
~ Keeping up with friends via Facebook and text and messenger so we don’t feel isolated
~ Our Sunday School class is having our lesson by conference call (since not everyone can Skype).
~ Our church has online services
~ Binge watching a TV series on Amazon Prime
~ Continuing to write my stories
~ My husband plays with his ham radio or watches documentaries and Ted talks
Fellow Wild Rose Press Rose, D.V. Stone does this:
I love to make soup. Cutting up vegetables is quite cathartic to me. Adding and building flavors leading to fragrant and hearty comfort food which is also healthy for us.
Bonus:
Take precautions and pack it up in individual containers to share it with friends or family. Call ahead and leave it on their porch.

Another WRP sistah and fabulous writer, Kristal Dawn Harris sent me this lovely, and thought provoking note to share, since she is in a high risk category, health-wise:

“Like so many of you, I’m stuck at home adhering to safety protocols for the Coronavirus pandemic. I am in the high-risk group because of a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. I only go out for food, make sure I keep my distance, and wash my hands, as well as my clothes, and anything I buy, upon returning home. As an author, I am used to spending long periods alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t succumb to boredom, miss people, or need a break from writing.
There are many projects I have been wanting to do around the house, such as painting the bedroom, and now I have the time. I also get outside, in my own yard, when the weather cooperates. I’ve ordered seeds to plant a garden, so I should be able to do that soon. I exercise, listen to music, watch movies, read, and I’m thinking of cleaning out the garage (my husband will be so happy…lol). I am always searching for interesting articles online about places I’ve never been and weird topics, and sometimes I post them to my social media accounts.
With Skype, I can talk to and see my children and other family members when all else fails. There are so many ways to fill your time, so don’t let the quarantine ruin your life or your mind!  Humans are curious creatures by nature and there are plenty of ways to satisfy that side of yourself!”
Writer, friend and talented author Jennifer Wilck shared this with me:
“This self-isolation is anxiety-producing and kills my concentration. I’m an introvert by nature (a friendly one, though) and while my own personal habits don’t need to change much, having the other three members of my family home in my space definitely requires some adjustment. Some of the ways I cope are:
1) Each morning I remind myself that “this too will pass” and I tell myself how lucky we are.
2) I make sure to get exercise—the elliptical machine in the basement and walking around the neighborhood. I ask the rest of my family to join me on my walks, or I walk with a friend (keeping our 6-foot distance, of course) so that the blood gets pumping, the endorphins flow, and I have someone to talk to. And we try to discuss things other than the state of the world.
3) I try to keep to a schedule, so I feel productive. I follow a to-do list and cross things off as I do them. I make plans for later in the week, and give myself down time as well.
4) I cook or bake or try to find new uses for leftovers.
5) I clean—both for preventing Covid and for spring cleaning.
6) I read or watch TV or both.
7) I check in with my family and friends to make sure everyone is okay. It makes me feel better to think of others.
Hope you’re coping as well. And remember, this will eventually end.”
Another Rose sistah, Jana Richards had this to say:
I’ve had trouble with my back and sciatica, and I’ve found that regular exercise, especially stretching, is vital. So when my gym and my Pilates studio closed ( because of the virus), I started to worry. Fortunately, my yoga teacher found a way to offer live virtual online classes at the same times as our in-house sessions were scheduled to happen. I was sent a link and tuned in at the appointed time. It was fantastic! I felt connected to my instructor and so enjoyed hearing her familiar voice. I not only was able to stretch and strengthen, but felt a bit of normalcy in times that are anything but.

A quick Internet search will show you lots of online classes and exercises, many of them free. I found this one from Orange Theory that I’m going to give a try. So the moral of my story is that we don’t have to give up completely on exercise during this difficult time. Your body and your mind will thank you.

One of my dearest writing friends, the ubertalented Donna Simonetta  had to postpone her planned vacation last week and is having a staycation instead. Here’s how she’s been coping:

As a writer, I work from home. So, with my husband working from home too, I’m having LESS alone time than normal during this time of self-isolation. Haha! .One happy thing happening in our world is that Spring has sprung here in Maryland, and we’re enjoying all the flowering plants and trees in our yard and neighborhood. We take a little stroll around our yard every day to look at our daffodils and camellias.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Jean Grant’s take on self isolation mimics mine:

“It’s almost like ( as writers) we were made for this, right? I already deal with a lot of isolation and loneliness…now add in my husband and two kids, and home-school schedule — oof!

I’ve been listening to music and audiobooks, reading, and getting on walks. Staying physically active is important to mental health. I normally walk and exercise 4-5x a week. I love Denise Austin’s videos – she is a positive lady and still super fit at 62. She’s even offering live feeds and free videos during this time. I take walks in my neighborhood (with family or alone) and on local (quiet) trails, and I’ve started some spring garden work (though more snow is coming Monday). I’ve been baking, too. Cleaning/purging/sorting. Indulging in happy movies. Creating a schedule for my children has helped us, as they thrive on routine. Drinking my usual amount of coffee. ;-)”

One more for today: Writer Wendy Kendall, also a Wild Rose Press sistah, has this to offer to help you get through these trying days:

All kinds of music is helping me cope. Especially new kinds I never tried before, but also my favorites and familiars and tunes id forgotten. Music is a whole other way to tell a story, whether with lyrics or not. It lifts the spirit and touches the soul. Whether I’m listening while doing something else, or I’m focused only on the song, I am relieved and I am not alone.
Peggy here: All of these are thought provoking ideas, no?? I love them and can see how each is so helpful.
Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for more great tips from all my friends!! Remember: together, we can all get through this – even if we are isolating!! Hee hee
 And remember: 

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today’s #coronapocalypse2020 PSA from…me

Had to do it…sorry for the shameless selfpromotion….

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