As we are all adapting to a new normal, I thought this a good time to share some things I'm doing to keep my spirits up while staying at home every day, as well as some ways we can help others.
In this time of social distancing, hardship, and loss, I’ve been heartened to see so many acts of kindness and compassion. People working together for the common good, leaving bags of groceries on elderly neighbors’ doorsteps, calling old friends to check in, and supporting the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic with donations, thank-you notes, and rounds of applause.
But though these acts are wonderful, there is still so much more we can do to help. Many people are losing their jobs, small businesses are suffering, and all of us are struggling to stay connected while in isolation. Though it can be hard to decide how and where to direct our efforts, I have found that your own back yard can be a good place to start.
Businesses are hurting terribly right now. And none more than the small independent businesses that are such an integral part of our communities. For those businesses to remain in our towns and cities, we need to come to their aid. Here are a few practical ways to help out…
- Purchase a gift card to your favorite restaurant or café. If you normally grab your morning coffee at a local bakery or eat out every week at a neighborhood bistro, buying a gift card (for yourself or someone else) is a excellent alternative. It will inject much needed cash into the business, helping them to weather their temporary closure.
- Shop online. Many small shops are still offering online shopping (as well as gift cards). With spring inventory just in, it’s a great time to find something unique while helping the store. (Plus, Mother’s Day is around the corner!)
- Write positive Google reviews for your favorite businesses. It’s a simple gesture, but one that can have a really positive impact on small businesses.
Another rewarding way to help out is checking in on your elderly neighbors, friends, and family. With many of us feeling isolated, a Facetime or Zoom call or a little gift left on a doorstep is so welcome.
And joining a virtual neighborhood group (such as Nextdoor) is a great way to uncover the needs of your local community. I’ve seen posts asking for help with grocery delivery, volunteer groups making masks, and family members of doctors collecting PPE to distribute to hospitals.
We also need to take care of ourselves, physically and mentally. So I thought I’d share some things I’m doing to keep my spirits up during quarantine.
- When it comes to work, I need a schedule. So working in my home studio on all things Lupin, Monday through Friday, is a given. Having said that, there has been the occasional variance over to another activity!
- Do one or two of those little things that make you happy every day. For me that’s enjoying a cappuccino on a chilly morning, sipping a glass of wine while cooking dinner, arranging leafy branches and little flowers from the garden, and cuddling up with my dogs to watch a movie.
- Do things you don’t normally have time to do. Spring Cleaning in the garden is a great way to get outdoors. And if you’re inside, I find there are always areas of the home in need of de-cluttering or organizing. From what I’m seeing, I think this spring we’ll see some of the tidiest homes and gardens that we’ve seen in decades!
- To make a treat out of staying in, Saturday evenings are our ‘Dinner In’ nights. We’ve been concocting new cocktails, baking desserts, and getting dressed up to make a little more of our evening. My daughter has even designed the menu. Tip: prepare the main course several days in advance and freeze until Saturday – because you don’t cook when you go out to a restaurant!
- Seek out nature. Taking a walk can lift the spirits, and there’s no better time than spring to feel the sunshine on our skin and watch the buds turn into leaves. If you’re really missing the great outdoors, you can take a virtual tour of five national parks including Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska and New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park, courtesy of Google Arts & Culture and the National Park Service.
- Enjoy Afternoon Tea. Of course, being British this is a natural and favorite pastime of mine! My parents in England joined us virtually for tea recently. My Mum and I made scones on opposite sides of the pond, and enjoyed tea and conversation together. It’s not only fun, but helps us all feel more connected.
- If you’re missing out on culture, there’s a wealth of virtual options to fill that gap. London’s British Museum, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and the Guggenheim in New York are just a few of the many museums now offering virtual tours. So you can experience their beautiful buildings and art from your armchair! And if you’re a ballet or opera fan, The Royal Opera House in London and New York’s Metropolitan Opera are both offering digital performances.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Stay home, stay safe.