Eight Self-Improvement Activities For Quarantine
People ask how I’m coping with being “quarantined.” And I’m not sick, so, of course, “I’m great! And grateful for that.” But I can’t help also exuberantly sharing all of the postponed projects I’ve finally accomplished, amazing missions I’ve finally undertaken, delayed chores I’ve completed, and longstanding plans I’ve finally been able to set in motion… all because I am under lock down!
I am blessed because my husband and I both have offices, but we also both work quite a bit out of our home. We are acclimated to working in the same space. So that part of the quarantine is pretty much old hat to us.
I do miss the hugging and kidding around in the normal course with my staff, but we still talk a lot every day despite that we’re each home alone.
But I’ve made some very positive discoveries about this stuck-at-home situation I, and you, too, find yourself in.
So here are some creative and positive ways to spend some fun and (dare I say it?) “rewarding” time with yourself or your family while we’re all in forced confinement together. Some of these ideas I’ve already got underway; some of them are still on my wishlist. All of them are valuable! So pick the ones that appeal to you and let me know how it goes at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com!
There are pros and cons to everything, even this COVID-19 pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but I have piles of books I’ve accumulated over the years that I really want to read, but that I don’t have time for. Guess what? Now I do! As for recommendations, Malcolm Gladwell’s, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, happens to be one of my favorites! Let me know what you think of it at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com.
Get Things Done
Maybe you took my advice on reading books from your list or your bookcase and have now finally gotten around to Getting Things Done: The Art Of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, the ultimate book on personal organization. When I did, I felt compelled to reorganize my entire approach to not only my professional, but also my personal tasks. It probably took me an entire day just to reorganize my various lists, the ones actually written and lying around the house or the office, as well as the ones on my computer, on my cell phone, and on my other devices.
Finally, I had a really effective way to prioritize what mattered, and to cull what did not. And even more rewarding, I removed many of the tasks that had been weighing me down by taking them out of my head and putting them where they belonged, on a list of things that I knew I would get done at the appropriate times.
Once done, it was time to move on to actually getting those things done.
Cleaning my house used to be anathema to me, especially so because I am truly anal. While that quality makes me a great lawyer, its repercussions in my personal life can be rough. I finally hired a cleaning lady to come every two weeks because when I clean, I really clean. It takes me from 6 am to 6 pm, just to do what some would call a “normal cleaning”; I always seem to find extra chores that “must” be done, like cleaning out the fridge or dusting the ceilings to get down spider webs. Others would call this Spring Cleaning. But it’s a horrible way to spend every Saturday.
Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo? Did you happen to catch her Netflix special, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?” Want to get started putting her declutter theories into action in your own home?
Or perhaps you’ve been putting off annual chores like cleaning out your refrigerator or reorganizing your closets. Now that you can’t go to the office anyway, this is your chance to clean out the garage or to reorganize your pantry.
Include your kids in accomplishing these home projects. Don’t send them off to do separate tasks separately. Work together as a team and teach them some life skills at the same time.
In fact, one of the chores my daughter and I undertook annually was to go through her clothes. I taught her to reorganize what still fit, and to yank out what had drifted to the back of the closet or drawer either because it didn’t fit anymore or because she just didn’t like it any longer.
Such larger chores always seem daunting, but if you approach them one task at a time, they won’t overwhelm you. And you’ll all feel more accomplished if you get one of these big jobs completed each week.
Make sure to pack up your castoff clothes, kitchen appliances, and other discarded items for delivery to your local charities when the quarantine is lifted. Those in need will be more needy than ever when this is over.
Replace That Lightbulb
Although it’s likely been out for years, you just noticed it. After all, the range hood has two of them, so it wasn’t that important. Guess what? Now’s the time.
How do you get it out of there? If you don’t know, ask Google “how to.” Better still, ask your eldest child to help you out and look it up for you. Then have him/her walk you through the steps. Or reverse the responsibilities, but do it together.
Oh, and when you get it out of there, you’ll find that the screen next to it, that probably had to be removed to get the bulb out of the hood, is filthy. Run it through the dishwasher before you put it back.
With all of our favorite eating spots closed or limited to delivery/takeout , now is the perfect time to hone your cooking skills, recreating family favorites from your childhood (OMG Green Gook!) or pulling some delicious recipes from all the internet possibilities, or to create some delicious dishes of your own.
If you’re like my husband and either have no cooking skills and/or despise cooking in general, try the AllRecipes.com site; their recipes range from easy to complicated, and you can pick your poison. (Wait, did I say that? ☺)
Or for those on strict quarantine, try the Instacart.com app or site as an easy, simple and inexpensive way to get groceries delivered from your usual grocery store to your home. Don’t forget to sanitize the groceries, as best you can, as they come in the door. These days, although I am a veteran re-user of shopping bags, they are all going in the garbage can outside the minute they are emptied.
Do a puzzle. Play in the sprinklers in the yard. Play a sport together. Remember all those activities we used to spend our days doing as kids? In this era of technology, many of those experiences have been overlooked. But they were fun then, and you can make them fun now.
Or do you need some “Me Time?” If you have a yard and can go outside, do some gardening, alone, by yourself. Here’s the silver lining to this international pandemic; it’s spring! How wonderful!
Whether in your backyard or on your kitchen windowsill, planting now will pay off with a reward when the weather warms up. I started years ago with an avocado seed; that 20’ tall tree stands right outside my kitchen window and bears my favorite fruit twice every year. And its children (yes, I germinate its babies every year) grow in all of my friends’ yards, as well.
Tip: start seeds (buy on-line or use the ones in fruit from the grocery) using under-cabinet fluorescent light and a tray (Amazon can help you out there) in your kitchen. You can transplant them when seedlings set in in warmer weather. Try Gardening Basics for Dummies as they give easy and understandable guidelines for multiple climates & settings.
You’re probably extremely overwhelmed with your new job as a homeschool teacher. But try not to get caught up in the stress of just teaching your kids about scholastics. Many true home school parents will tell you that they only spend a couple hours on school stuff per day, and the rest of the time, they do activities in life skills. The children often don’t even realize they are learning. Teach them how to make pasta or to boil an egg. Show them how to better clean their rooms. Teach them how to write a check and balance their checkbook. Teach them how to do laundry. When your kids leave home, they will be happy to have learned these real-life lessons.
Years ago, back when Resident Evil first debuted and long before we ever anticipated any real pandemic, my sister Sam was confronted by a problem; her eldest child was returning from his day in school, just to bully his younger siblings at home. It took her some time to identify the problem; school was inadvertently teaching him this brand-new behavior, that he was older and therefore the one in charge. This from a first grader!
So Sam thought, perhaps, that homeschooling for a brief period might solve the problem. There were other considerations, too. She and the kids’ father travelled a lot because they are both movie actors and directors, speakers and producers, and they were taking their children out of school when they did. Sam would request the work to keep the kids up to speed while they travelled, but this was happening more and more frequently. So certainly homeschooling while the kids were still in primary school and the schoolwork was fairly simple, could solve another problem that they saw confronting them in the future, that of having to leave the children with a caregiver while they travelled for work.
I remember she and her husband, both public school alumnae, suffered so much angst about whether it was the right thing to do for their children, and whether my sister, who would be in charge, was competent to do it. I remember, she tried three different public and private schools before they ultimately decided to homeschool. Permanently. Sam Sorbo is now, among other things, a homeschooling advocate!
You don’t want your children falling behind. Just do your best. Most of us are not teachers, and even for those who are, it’s sometimes more difficult to teach your own children than others. Don’t send your kids to their bedrooms to do their homework by themselves. Do it together.
Do it all together. You’ve only got each other for the moment, so make the most of your time together and enjoy it. You could make it the best of times! I promise you; you’ll look back and miss these simpler moments.
We have an opportunity here to turn lemons into lemonade, lemon seeds into lemon trees. Carpe Diem! Let’s turn this time that we are forced to stay home into a learning experience for our kids and a fun time for the adults. Keep your eyes open and I’ll share more in my next blog on OpenPalmLaw. In the meantime, virtual hugs and air kisses, and stay well.
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About this week’s author, Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.