I can’t remember being so consciously aware of a pandemic before. There have been others (click this CDC webpage to read more about past pandemics) but none that really touched my daily life. However, this COVID-19 virus is rapidly becoming a very scary, shared experience for all of us. The expression, “We are in this together” takes on new meaning.
With each news report, declaration, guideline, headline, rumor, and conversation that I overhear at the gym, I sense a growing fear and panic within. And this feeling is vaguely reminiscent. It reminds me of the meltdown that happened in 2008 when the recession began. Although it wasn’t a medical emergency, it might have well been one given the dread, fear and pain that ensued. So many people lost their jobs, livelihoods, homes, and their security. The stock market took a beating, and key industries like banking, housing, and automotive needed resuscitation. And it took some time to get back on our collective feet.
I remember one moment during 2008 when several of my big clients called to cancel upcoming work engagements. They told me that there was too much uncertainty and they needed to suspend all non-essential activity. Budgets and spending were frozen for the foreseeable future. That was an inflection point for my business and life. I realized that I had a choice. I could either sit around bemoaning the situation or I could change my attitude and my actions and find new ways to be productive and move forward (albeit slowly).
I had that same feeling today, a personal moment-of-truth. I made a decision to change my attitude to be more positive and resilient. And I wanted to help others do the same. I shall begin with this blog post. I’d like to offer my readers a dozen creative ways to redirect your time and energy during this “downtime.” We can have fun practicing social distancing. We can still be productive even if we can’t go to work in the normal way. We can still grow and improve ourselves personally and professionally during this time of uncertainty. And we can continue to look out for one another in ways that unite us. Remember, this pandemic is a shared experience. We have to get through it TOGETHER!
Try some of these approaches and activities to fill your time during the stay-at-home/social distancing quarantine:
Be Silly. Have Fun.
I recently heard someone say that Corona beer sales were slumping due to the confusion between their brand name and the new virus. I don’t actually know if that’s true, but it made me want to support Corona beer. I’m not normally a beer drinker, but there’s something about squeezing a lime into a bottle that makes me smile. So over the weekend my husband and I enjoyed a bottle of Corona Extra (with limes) and shot this very short kitchen video. We were unscripted and playing off each other. The punch line spontaneously came at the end. We hope this silly video brings you a little levity in an otherwise serious time.
Pick up Trash
At times like this we have to redefine what entertainment looks like. I’d like to offer an unusual but productive activity that you might just enjoy doing. If you have school-aged children now at home because of school closures, consider inviting them to play along.
If you are able to go for a walk, do so. The fresh air will do you good. Bring along a few trash bags, a pair of disposable gloves, and if you want, bring one of those nifty-nabber reacher grabber tools.
As you stroll down the street, notice the litter and trash that has been carelessly discarded by someone not thinking. Ahh….this is your treasure. Pick it up and put it in your trash bag. Keep doing so until your bag is full. When you return home (or find a trash receptacle or recycling bin along the way), deposit the trash properly.
If you have kids, consider rewarding them for their collection (by volume or by weight). Or make it a competition. The kid with the most trash collected WINS!
Your results and impact will be immediately measurable. You will have done a positive community service. And for just a few minutes, your mind will have focused on something else, rather than the pandemic virus.
Rinse and repeat.
Read a Book (or two)
Hard to make this fun, but… If you are like me, you might be having a little trouble finding the time (or motivation) to do your tax preparation. Good news! You now have two weeks to focus on it. Get it done. April 15th is around the corner.
Remember JFK’s famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Perhaps he was really talking about paying your taxes (on time).
Clean Your House
If you are stuck at home what else are you going to do? Watch TV or play video games all day? BORING. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you will feel after eradicating all of those dust bunnies hiding in plain sight? Or eliminating the germs and grim that have set up shop in your bathroom and kitchen? Grab the spray bottle with cleaning solution and have at it. That mess doesn’t stand a chance against you. You are a relentless cleaning machine!
Re-organize Your Filing Cabinet
If removing something from your business office cabinet cabinet feels like trying to squeeze into an old pair of jeans, it’s time to take action. Good news! You don’t have to eat less and exercise to improve this situation. You just have to apply the S-P-O principle of de-cluttering.
- S = Sort l (put like with like);
- P = Purge (Get rid of old, unnecessary papers. Recommend shredding documents with financial or client information);
- O = Organize (put things back in a more logical, easy to find order);
Find Out What’s In Your Pantry
p.s. Please leave a REPLY to let me know how you are creatively and productively using your time and energy during the COVID-19 virus outbreak shutdown.