Words and phrases I would like to ban until further notice:

  • Unprecedented
  • These uncertain times
  • An (over)abundance of caution (not seeing this one as much lately since things that initially were cancelled out of “an abundance of caution” are now cancelled as part of “the bare minimum of things we should be doing these days.”
  • When this is all over (caught myself saying this way too much).

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, how are you? Life is weird for pretty much everyone now, but I know it’s been a heck of a lot harder for some folks. We’ve been very blessed in that our income hasn’t changed, unlike so many people we know who have been laid off work. Ross is teaching from home, which is fascinating to me. All over the country, spouses are realizing, “Wait, THAT’S how you sound when you’re at work?” Since I worked from home anyway for my day job as an executive assistant, not much has changed for me, other than being busier. I work for a nonprofit that provides healthcare in West Africa, so it feels like we’ve been sprinting since late February.

Life during the pandemic has been a strange ping-pong of anxiety over current conditions and enjoyment of the slower pace of life overall (work busyness notwithstanding). I have friends and coworkers seriously affected by the virus and it’s impossible to read the news and not be (rightly) concerned; the world is mourning and will be for some time. But I do think finding the bright side to all this is healthy on a personal level.

Here are my favorite things to do during these unprecedented, uncertain times until this is all over and we can go back to an underabundance of caution:

  • Get outside. I know not everyone can do this right now so I don’t take it for granted, but it’s the number one thing improving my mood these days. We go on long walks and runs with Calvin all the time, and he loves it but is baffled by current circumstances, not to mention exhausted by them. He’s currently slumped at my feet after an hour+ run during which he finally just planted his feet and refused to go farther.

That's the 7th walk today. What the heck is a coronavirus?

  • Looseleaf tea. One of my coronavirus splurges has been ordering tea online from Chad’s Chai and Tin Roof Teas, and it’s my best pandemic decision to date. Both shops are running coronavirus sales. Bonus: you get to support local business.

Chad's Chai tea and mug

  • Get takeout. Speaking of supporting local business, we’ve been trying to keep some of our favorite restaurants afloat by ordering curbside pickup. Neomonde, Sitti, Tangerine Cafe, El Rodeo are some we’ve tried. We even dressed up for date night at home one night.

Date night at the kitchen table

  • Read. My concentration is shot these days, and I’ll bet a lot of you are in the same boat. Light and funny books are the name of the game for me. I recommend Terry Pratchett and James Herriott, for starters. I listened to It Can’t Happen Here on audiobook, and that was a terrible mistake. I’ll save the fascist dystopias for happier times, thank you. Another coronavirus splurge of mine was buying a few new books. Do I have a zillion books to read already? Oh yes. Was I thrilled to get new books anyway? Oh yes.
  • Immerse myself in Icelandic culture. Since our trip to Iceland has been postponed indefinitely (I’m still hoping we can make it in late June, but I’ve reluctantly come to the realization that we may not be able to go until summer of 2021), I’m taking this opportunity to improve my Icelandic, take an online course on Medieval Icelandic Sagas, and read more Icelandic books (see above note about new books I didn’t need).

Sagas of the Icelanders book

  • Video chat with friends and family. This is becoming a double-edged sword because now we chat with folks every night, and it almost feels like we’re too busy again, but it’s still so lovely to see friends’ faces. We’ve caught up with folks we haven’t talked to in years, and I hope this tradition continues long after the pandemic is a thing of the past. We’ve even been playing board games like Settlers of Catan over Skype.

Playing boardgames over Skype

  • Watch TV. Pre-pandemic, I was so busy that I was hard-pressed to squeeze in one hour of TV per week, which made keeping up with shows almost impossible. Now, especially with so many sites offering free month-long trials, I’ve been able to see most of Picard and a few other Trek episodes on CBS All Access, finally finished Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Acorn TV, and have watched the occasional movie. Shocking!

What are some of your favorite coping mechanisms during all this insanity? Are you doing okay? Let me know!