Friday, May 01, 2020

Covid Lockdown: Choose Your Poison or Ten Helpful Hints

Melinda Palacio

My walking and shopping outfit 
Balcony Birdwatching 

I’ve heard from many panicked friends who are having trouble figuring out how to enjoy life while the world is on lockdown. While my anxiety about not seeing friends and family in person is real, I have ten strategies to share with everyone on how I cope with the isolation and not being able share food, music and quality time with people I love. I’ve had to lean on my inner introvert and find joy in all of my solitary activities. 

  1. Learn to breath with a cloth mask over your nose and mouth. Practice at home before going out in the world. I've seen many people who have a mask with them or on them, but are not wearing it effectively. This means (and I hate to say it), you must become a mouth breather. Mouth breathing, at least for myself, prevents my glasses from fogging up and prevents me from feeling anxious and panicked. Once we can be with each other in public without a mask, this habit must stop. For now, mouth breathing is your Covid friend and will make stressful situations, such as grocery shopping, more tolerable. The key is to keep your mind and body calm. 
  2. Learn to look forward to trips to the grocery store because it means you will be able to cook meals the way you like them, with ingredients you choose, and not  with a delivery service's substitutions. 
  3. Screen wars may be lost for parents with children of all ages, especially toddlers, but you can give yourself a screen break by turning off your device while reading in another room.
  4. Speaking of reading, now is a good time to start tackling that pile of books by your nightstand. 
  5. Take five minutes a day to clean something that hasn’t seen a duster or rag in a while (dishes do not count). 
  6. Try a new hobby, mine is sewing. As I mentioned in my last blog, the learning curve for the Singer 603 has been steep. In the past two weeks I’ve made a total of six masks. I've finally gotten he hang of using a sewing machine, but now I’m waiting for supplies to arrive. Hopefully, the fabric and elastic will arrive before I forget everything I’ve learned. 
  7. Enjoy daydreaming. There’s a pandemic and you can’t go anywhere. I look out my balcony and birdwatch. Lately a pair of Mourning Doves competes with a pair of Channel Island Scrub Jays. The Jays always win. Yesterday, I saw the most beautiful Oriole, but wasn’t able to photograph it.
  8. Sometimes, I take my daydreaming and guitar playing out on the balcony and play for the birds. My favorite blue jay, Elvis, enjoys my playing. 
  9. Learning a new instrument is easier than ever before thanks to YouTube. YouTube is where I turn to when I want to learn a new song on guitar or ukulele. You can even find a tutorial on how to play the washboard. My number one advice for learning music, especially guitar or ukulele, is to learn an entire song before moving on to a new skill set or instrument. If you learn one song, chances are, you’ll be able to play several others in the same key. 
  10. Tips from friends. La Bloga’s Michael Sedano suggests playing the Oldies game and answering questions such as Who Wrote the Book of Love. Another friend suggests puzzles and coloring books. I’m no longer surprised to see adults take to chalk art in the sidewalks and driveways in front of their house. Here’s to finding a little joy in everyday activities. 

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