There are many activities we can participate in during this time to keep us busy and ease our anxiety of the unknown.

By Rebecca Angel Baer
March 19, 2020
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As the number novel coronavirus cases in the country continues to increase, our anxiety is high. We are being instructed to help slow the spread of the virus by social distancing. This new buzz phrase that suggests we not congregate in large groups is becoming a way of life. That means most schools are closed, shifting our children’s classroom to the kitchen table, and many companies are having employees work from home as well. Most activities we would normally be busy doing are now cancelled. We are all going to be at home a lot more for a while. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of this and the uncertainty of what is yet to come. But we have come up with 8 positive ideas to fill that down time and help to calm your nerves. A few can even help your community.

Pick Up a New Hobby

Ever wanted to learn to knit but always said you didn’t have the time? Now is a good time to pick up those knitting needles, and YouTube has a wealth of instructional videos. Do you love to sing but never took a lesson? With bars, clubs, and theaters shut down for safety, the artists who rely on that gig pay are having to get creative on how they will make ends meet now. Some have taken to social media to offer online lessons, like Memphis native, Alexis Grace. You may recognize her from season 8 of American Idol, and she wants to help you find your inner Martina or Reba. Contact her through her website.

Back to Class

We know that many of you will have to become teacher for your children while schools are closed. But education isn’t just for the kiddos. With the wide range of resources available online these days, you can pick a subject you find interesting to you. And the best part? Your grades don’t matter. You can learn for the sake of learning. As the AJC reports, all eight Ivy League universities offer hundreds of online courses for free.

Pick Up a Book

If you’re anything like I am, your “to-be-read” stack often resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa and yet you can’t resist the urge to pick up a new title from your local bookshop. Now, as we all hunker down through this health crisis, heading out for an afternoon of leisurely perusing shelves and shelves of tomes isn’t possible. But fear not, many local bookstores are offering online shopping with curbside pick-up or delivery in a limited area. Two of our favorite Southern bookshops are doing exactly this—Novel in Memphis and Thank You Books in Birmingham are both ready and waiting to safely deliver you the next great read on your list.

Plan Ahead and Support Local

This is a very uncertain and frightening time. We know. We feel it too. But it’s important to look forward. We may be restricted on social activity now, but that will not always be the case. Look forward to when things return to normal and make plans. Now, we can’t predict when the coronavirus outbreak will pass, so we aren’t talking exact dates, but go ahead and plan to go to your favorite local restaurant when it does. Buy a gift card for that restaurant now. This not only gives you something to look forward to, it helps the local business now. Our restaurants, bars, theaters, and local businesses are going to really suffer some significant financial loss when business slows or comes to a complete halt. A gift card or three could help keep them in business for when we are all ready to return. A few restaurants with gift card options right on the website are Interim in Memphis, Haberdish in Charlotte, and No. 246 in Decatur, Georgia.

Or you can support your local restaurants and help you have something to look forward to in the short term. While they cannot serve guests in the restaurant itself, many of our favorite local haunts are offering curbside pick-up or delivery. Pick a day and say you’re going to get take-out to treat yourself (because let’s be honest, this is stressful and we deserve it) and go grab your favorite meal from your favorite place. Some options across the South include Ash in Birmingham, Muse in Charleston, or Theodore Rex in Houston.

Bake!

Let’s face it, baking is a comforting activity and we all need comfort now. Science even suggests it has psychological benefits and can be a great stress reducer.  But it takes time and normally, we tend to lack that. But now, that we’re stuck in our homes, why not break out those cookie, cake, tart recipes from your grandmother. Or did you get a great cookbook for the holidays you haven’t had time to crack open? Go full Julie and Julia and bake your way from cover to cover! Need some suggestions? Try our Top-Rated Desserts.

Learn a New Language

Travel to foreign countries may currently not be possible but we can still dream and plan that big trip abroad in our minds. What a better way to keep a positive attitude than to plan for this trip by learning the language of the country where you wish to travel. It couldn’t be easier with the app Duolingo that you can get right on your smart phone.

Break Out the Crayons

Coloring is not just for kids. Adult coloring books have become all the rage. Sitting down to color is surprisingly soothing, and we can all use all the stress-reducing tools we can find right now. We really love the designs of this one.

Clean out the Closet

It’s time to channel your inner Marie Kondo. We can’t think of a more productive way to spend your time indoors. Think about how organized your closets, drawers, entire home could become!