Whelp. Here we are. Figuring out how to live with the new normal and how to stay at home all the time.
I originally wrote this post as an issue of my weekly newsletter, but a few people asked for an easier way to share the information. I hope this info helps you as we go forward into the unknown. Love you guys. -Mel
I hope this finds you safely AT HOME, not too stir crazy yet, and with plenty of your necessary items. And of course, following the basic guidelines from the CDC.
This week has been SO different for all of us – so while I’m going to try and maybe get back to some of our regularly scheduled programming next week, today I wanted to share some of my tips for being home all the time, things I’ve found that helpful, and ways to stay mentally and physically healthy for the weeks to come. For us, this week this has mainly involved a lot of freshly baked carb consumption.
I sort of feel like I’ve been preparing for this situation my whole life – I stay home almost all the time even when things are normal. I’ve been working from home for well over a year at this point. I live with moderate chronic anxiety. I unfortunately read the internet more than I should and love to shop & research online. So, I figured I can help and why not share?
How to be at home all day and not go crazy:
- LEAN INTO FASHION. Two ways to do this: Embrace Comfort (live that no underwire, all elastic, flowy fabric life) or Dress For It (things you would never wear to the actual office, big jewelry with a tank top, anything with sequins). Shoes not required for either. Do what makes you feel the best that day. Key here is to actually change clothes everyday when you wake up.
- HAVE A LOOSE SCHEDULE. I’m not talking minute by minute, but it IS helpful to keep your mind and body on track if you still wake up, eat and work on the same schedule as you always have.
- GET MOVING & USE YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE. The biggest thing I can tell you is don’t simply sit at your dining room table all day and work. There is nothing stopping you from sitting in your backyard, stretching out on the floor in your bedroom or even standing at a kitchen counter while keeping the work going. If you work in your living room, watch tv in your bedroom at night and vice versa – physically separating working and relaxing can help your brain switch off when work is done. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and stretch every 90 minutes. Move your body. Step outside to get some Vitamin D.
- KEEP YOUR HANDS BUSY. For me, this is my No. 1 anxiety reducer. Playing the piano, doing embroidery, baking something elaborate, organizing closets and drawers, coloring in a coloring book, or making or building anything stops my mind from dwelling on the things it shouldn’t. I also end up with a physical something that will remind me going forward that I survived what my brain was trying to tell me.
- STAY CONNECTED. Text the fam that’s on the other side of the country – even just a quick “How you doin?”. Set up a daily Zoom coffee or wine happy hour with your friends. Throw a lunchtime dance party on IGTV. Post a video of what you’re doing every day in the group chat. Read a storybook to your nieces and nephews via FaceTime. Just do something EVERY DAY that connects you in real-time with another person in your life.
Ways to help others
I will also say that helping someone is WAY up there on the list to cope with Anxiety.
- If you are salaried, pay your service providers (hairdressers, manicurists, house cleaners, nannies, dance & yoga teachers, interns, assistance, etc.) ESPECIALLY if you are not using their service right now.
- Support your beloved small business, restaurant or bar by buying a gift card for later or ordering their merch online now.
- Give generously to arts groups and non-profits.
- Give money, not food, to your local food bank.
- Sign up for your local newspaper’s digital subscription.
- Text your neighbor to see if there’s anything you can pick up for them when you go to the store.
Support for yourself and others
So, so many ways to give back and help those around you.
RESTAURANT WORKERS SUPPORT: One Fair Wage Emergency Fund
BARTENDERS SUPPORT: USBG National
PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS SUPPORT: MusicCares
JOURNALISTS SUPPORT: Hand Up Fund from SPJ Florida & Oregon
FREELANCE ARTISTS, MUSICIANS & PERFORMERS SUPPORT: Freelance Artists Resource
CFL ALICE FUND: UnitedWay (for those working but with reduced hours)
ACTBLUE CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND: Donate to 8 groups at once, organized by Crooked Media
Even though we’re separated, we’re still all in this together!
Totally Free Online Arts & Sciences
ART & DESIGN
Imagineering In a Box from Disney Imagineering
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Drawing Class with Wendy McNaughton
Stop Motion Animation Classes with Trisha Zemp
Free Online Craft Classes for 2 Months from Creative Bug & Joann
Studio Sessions from Design Observer
#isolationcreation with Jaime Beck
DANCE, MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS
Dance Challenge from Donte Colley
Nightly Opera Performance from the Met
Music Concerts from NPR
Weekly Online Jam Sessions with Jammr (check the forums for times)
Flatten The Curve Music Class from Arkells
VISUAL ART, READING & WRITING
Virtual Museum Visits from around the world
Online War & Peace Book Club from A Public Space
Prime Reading from Amazon (with Amazon Prime)
SCIENCE & NATURE
Home Safari from the Cincinnati Zoo
Live Cams from the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Old Faithful & Upper Basin Live Cam from Yellowstone National Park
Geography from Space Quiz from the Smithsonian
Free Online Courses from Scholastic (Kiddos)
Free Online Courses from Ivy League Schools (Grown Ups)
Distracting Instagram Feeds
Tiny Gentle Asians (big fat babies – you need this right now)
National Park Service (the captions!!!)
Learn About Something YouTube Channels
Pasta Grannies (Italian Nonnas Cooking In Their Own Kitchens)
Lisa Eldridge (Make-Up Tutorials that anyone can do)
Great Big Story (Short Form Stories About the World)
Atlas Obscura (Unique Stories from Around the Globe)
The Art Assignment (Art History with a Twist)
British Pathe (Historical Film & News Clips)
Vox (Explainer Videos About Current Events and Pop Culture)
Smarter Everyday (Science for Everyone)
Chill, Relaxing YouTube Channels
Baumgartner Restoration (Fine Art Restoration)
Luke Towan (Miniature Model & Diorama Construction)
Liziqi (Modern Off The Grid Living in Rural China – JUST TRUST ME)
Rousseau (Visual Piano)
CBS Sunday Morning (the normal show, broken into individual segments)
Primitive Tool (guys using ancient techniques to build shelter, and sometimes a real crazy pool)
If you’re struggling to find a specific online service or tutorial, or trying to find a product online and can’t – EMAIL ME at email@example.com, and I can help you. No charge – just give me something to search for and I’ll do what I can to help.
If you have any specific tips or ideas you’d like to share, send them along to me and I’ll publish them next week for the whole fam.
Be kind to yourselves. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane!