After almost 11 months are you crazy yet? It’s scary out there!! The Covid Virus is real! I have two friends who are nurses and believe me, I hear about it second hand. The news is not exaggerating. So hopefully many of us are still staying at home as much as possible; going out only when necessary and to work. We social distance and wash our hands or use a hand sanitizer.
Remember the song by Styx, “Too Much time on my hands”?
"Too much time on my hands It's tick tick tick tick ticking away (Too much time on my hands) Now I don't know what to do with myself (Too much time on my hands) Too much time on my hands Too much time on my hands Too much time on my hands"
Does that feel familiar? These are some methods for glimpses of sanity in or throughout the times of madness. Since my experience applies more to others in my situation these suggestions are more for single, married, older or retired people and may not apply to families with children.
Since nobody can go to a restaurant with a mask on, talk, and eat at the same time, there are bound to be more virus laden droplets in the air. Droplets not just from those around you but from every one who has been there for the last three hours! So go early if you must and choose restaurants that don’t fill up fast.
Be sure the tables are at safe distances away from each other and are cleaned with soapy rag at least. If you can tolerate the outdoor conditions and the restaurant has an outdoor area, try to eat there. Some restaurants have outdoor heaters, fans, a roof or sheltered area against rain or sun. So go there when the time is safest.
When you are tired of being at home another way to find a change of scenery, peace and quiet is to pick up carry out or take out orders and eat in your car. (A simple meal like a sandwich or even a salad or something you can handle easily is advised.) But if the weather is nice there are parks with picnic tables. There is always a parking lot away from lots of cars for alone time to listen to music or for contemplation.
Last year I ate lunch with two of my friends (one at a time) several times. We picked up our food from a restaurant with pick up or curbside service. Then we drove to an area with vacant parking spaces and parked side by side and opened the window closest each other. It was so good to enjoy wonderful, long awaited get togethers while we ate and not worry about Covid! If you have SUVs or something similar you can back into spots and sit with the cars’ rears facing each other. Then sit in the backs of your cars easily 6 feet apart and safely enjoy conversations with a meal.
Another potential outing is to find the less busy, small drug store near a big “box” store with it’s own drug store, where people shopping for more items. If you only need a few items, find the little drug stores that don’t have lines of customers all the time. I found one and go there once a week to pick up small items and some household goods. Yes, they may be a little more expensive but make relatively safe outings with fewer people and space to walk around in. (If you are wearing your mask; washing your hands; and using social distancing.)
I like to get out of the house every two or three days. Of course I don’t go shopping especially on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, and especially not during pre-holiday sales where things get really busy. I look for parking lots with fewer cars, so fewer shoppers. I also choose large outlet stores with lots of space so I am not bumping into people on every aisle.
Planning ahead is good for the times you need to give presents like birthdays and Christmas. I did my Christmas shopping in October before stores got crowded. There is of course the option of ordering online and putting the address for the recipients on the order again preventing potential exposure to your loved ones.
You can order your groceries online now. At first when I was trying to figure out how to do this I wasn’t sure about what brands or products each store carries. Well when you go online, you search for a certain type of product like fruit and the computer program shows you what fruits they have and their prices. If you are missing something but can’t think of the brand name, it’s there on the screen for you to see and choose.
I find things to do around my home; watch Netflix and YouTube. There are so many more things to see on YouTube that are informative; tutorials can teach you how to fix or do just about anything; even take up a new hobby! You can also watch old shows or some old movies.
Use this time at home to get rid of stuff you are not using or don’t want anymore. I moved from a three bedroom home to a two bedroom condo and donated or threw out a lot of things. But I am still finding things 5 years later that I saved “in case I needed them” but I never needed them! One way to decide if you want to keep something is to check for how much dust is on it!
There are wonderful thrift stores that help good causes. Check them out for what they will accept and what condition the items need to be in for them to accept them. Also be sure the money from the sales of your donations are going to those who need it and not largely to the owner.
Why not learn something new! There are phone apps to help you learn languages; record and identify bird calls (and actually tells you about the birds!) Listening to the birds and learning about them gives you a better appreciation for nature.
There are also apps that identify trees by their leaves. You can take a picture with the app or upload one from your phone to the app and it will identify them. Look up anything on your computer and learn new things about what you are interested in.
Get up and take a walk outside when the weather is good. Try to find joy or beauty in just watching, learning, living and communicating with friends in safe ways.