Five Suggestions for Living in Lockdown

Well, isn’t this an interesting time we find ourselves in (collectively)?

All those things we’re always saying we wished we had the time to do: we can do them now!

But something tells me I’m not alone in having discovered that there are some things I could be doing now that, actually, when push comes to shove (like now) I find that i really really really. REALLY! don’t want to do them after all.

Because now I have the time, and guess what?

Still not doing ’em… 😦

Nonetheless, in the spirit of sharing a few ideas about those hard-to-get-to tasks that “sheltering in place,” quarantine, and/or total lockdown present a perfect opportunity for, here are a few suggestions for ways to make whatever period of time you may be “stuck” at home more productive. (Also in the spirit of “Do what I say, not what I do…”)

And don’t worry. After my suggestions, I’ll share the link to a wonderful article that will help you feel better even if you’re really not (yet) up to doing any of them… 🙂

1) Deep clean your house, especially the kitchen and bathroom. (This is a doubly good idea in the middle of a pandemic.) There are some great tips about how to go about it here.

2) Organize family photos and videos. Probably don’t need to say much more about this. You can find some great tips about how to safely label and otherwise preserve old photographs and letters here.

3) Read, or (as my coauthor suggested last week) take advantage of the opportunity presented by the internet to enjoy cultural events online. My coauthor mentioned having “taken an [online] tour” of an orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden last week. I found myself pleased as punch to be able to “attend” a poetry reading that was held at the University of Virginia years ago. Who ever has time for these things? Well, many of us do, now.

4) Clean your closets. What more perfect time could there be than this, for that? And if you find a stash of old war letters in one of those closets that you’ve been meaning to read, now could be a very good time to do it. Then, if and when you don’t want the responsibility of keeping them in your family anymore, you might consider donating them to The Center for American War Letters. (Be sure to check with everyone in the family before doing so, though.)

5) Just enjoy spending time with your family, and friends whether it’s together in your home, or online through social media platforms. There are so many of them and it is wonderful to see all the newly creative ways they are being put to use these days, everything from online seders and Easter services, to…I dunno…yoga classes!

Finally (and importantly): If you find yourself too unsettled, or just not ready, to do any of these things, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just take the main necessary precautions about which surfaces in your home to disinfect, and let the rest go for now.

One of the things many people are having a hard time with these days is feeling “productivity pressure.” This article is aimed at academics, but there’s a lot of valuable advice, and helpful tips, that can apply to almost anyone.

Hang in there, everyone. We’ll figure out how to get through this time. (Or rather, the doctors and nurses, and scientists, will.) Then the rest of us should listen hard to whatever they have to tell us in terms of health (of ourselves, of the planet) from here on out…and make sure they get the kind of thanks, attention, and respect they really deserve.

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher. She is coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home and author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You


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