These are trying times. No doubt about it. For most of us, COVID-19 is the most life altering event that has ever happened to us. In Buffalo, we are used to weathering a snowstorm for several days, but we are definitely not used to social distancing for a month or more. With this crisis just about every corner of our lives is affected. There is a lot of information out there on the technical end of COVID-19, so I want to talk about how to handle social distancing for extended periods of time.
If you had asked me two months ago what ‘social distancing’ meant, I could have guessed, but now we all know what it means.
Definition of Social Distancing according to merriam-webster.com:
: the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection
There are so many things to think about. How safe is my workplace? Should I go to the store? Heck, should I hug my granddaughter when she skins her knee? Not to mention will I get sick, and if I do, what if I’ve already infected someone else? And so on.
There are a lot of unknowns right now.
Look, all we can do is follow the rules as best we can, keep our hands clean and off our faces, and act responsibly.
And make a plan.
A Plan for Social Distancing?
A plan for what you ask? A plan to get through the next few months, under the new rules. And the latest news says it could be August! When I heard that, I thought “There’s no way I can binge watch Madam Secretary while eating take out and junk food, until August!”. Our minds are just not set up that way. Not to mention our bodies. We need to have a purpose. It’s the way we’re wired. Having a plan will help to give you purpose.
So, I suggest sitting down and taking a close look at the next two months. Okay, I’m being a bit optimistic here but, hey, it could be over by mid-May. That’s part of it. We just don’t know. Trust me though, this will make you feel more in control.
Open up your google calendar, or your planner or whatever you use to keep track of your life. Delete or cross off future stuff that you’re sure will no longer happen. This might be tough, but try to think of it as giving yourself a clean slate and starting fresh.
Make a List
Then make a list of all the things you’ve been meaning to get done, but for whatever reason, you just haven’t. Add all the things you can think of that you’d like to do. Anything at all.
Now, go back and cross off all the things on your list that involve more than 10 people and /or international travel. Smart aleck. Your list has to have allowable things on it!
Here’s what my list looks like so far:
- Wash windows -they’re so dirty from winter! (Who am I kidding, this one is for Tim – I can’t wash a window to save my life.)
- Learn how to play that board game we bought to play with our grandchildren!
- Paint the living room, including the trim
- Stain and paint the bench I bought back in December!
- Create a scavenger hunt for our grandchildren – I saw this idea online, and it looks easy!
- Read some of the eight books that are sitting in my kindle library unread.
- Finally get the spare room in shape for guests – it’s so close!
- Keep walking!
- Clean and reorganize my office, including…ugh…filing!
- Meditate and pray to reduce stress
- Complete one of those online Organize Your Home type things. By this I mean I’m going to google ‘How to Clean and Organize My Home in 4 Weeks‘. I’ll see what comes up and pick one that works for me. These typically involve one or two small tasks each day, and by the end of the 4 weeks, your space will be cleaner and you’ll feel more organized.
Make your list whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be all work. Could be all fun things. Include personal things too. Or simple things. Like walk around the block with the kids. Or family game night, date night in, or family bike rides. Spend time with the people you love most, if possible.
Time to Make It Happen
Once you feel like you’re finished with your list, go through it and write out how you’re going to implement each item. For instance, on my calendar for tomorrow evening, it says ‘buy paint for living room’. That works for me. If reminders like that stress you, implement your list your way. Only you know what works for you.
When you start checking things off your list, you’ll feel good about keeping busy and getting things done. Don’t get me wrong, binge watching Netflix has it’s place. I just want to avoid waking up in August thinking, ‘Geez, what did I do with all that spare time?’
I should add too, that when you do family game night or whatever, order out from your favorite locally owned restaurant. Do it as often as you can. They’re struggling right now and if you have the ability to help, please do.
Reach out too. There may be someone you can help. Now, I’m not suggesting you put yourself in harms way. Keep to the rules of social distancing. But maybe offer to cook a meal or send over a pizza to lighten the load for a single parent trying to juggle work with having the kids home from school. If you have an elderly neighbor, check in on them. See that they’re okay, offer to shop for something they need. Basically, be a Buffalonian. Be kind and generous.
Now keep in mind, these are just ideas. Looks like we may have a long road ahead of us with this thing. So give some or all of these a try. Be creative. Having a plan will help to mentally get you through it. It’ll give you that purpose I mentioned earlier. You’ll feel in control, and you’ll have things to do.
And when we are able to socialize again, we’ll be ready to relax and enjoy whatever festival Buffalo will be celebrating! Because you know we’ll be celebrating! And we can enjoy it even more knowing that we did our best to take good care of ourselves and our families!
Resources for Parents During Social Distancing
Need some inspiration? Here are a few resources for parents whose kids are home:
- How to homeschool during the coronavirus crisis with free resources
- Learning resources for kids home from school
- 10 creative ways to keep kids and teens busy and engaged
These don’t work for you? Google ‘parent resources during COVID-19’. There are tons of resources out there. Hopefully, one will work for what you need.
Last But Certainly Not Least
To all who are sick, or have loved ones who are sick, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
For all who are working in hospitals, clinics, and in other medical capacities, putting yourselves in harm’s way to help treat and save our loved ones, thank you sincerely for all that you are doing.
To everyone else working in essential jobs, from grocery store staff members, to truck drivers delivering the goods we need, to the county workers tracking contacts, and everyone else in between, thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts for all that you are doing.
As a wise co-worker used to say, we’re all in this together. And that, Buffalo, is how we’ll get through it. Stay healthy my friends.
*Lead photo credit to FOX59 in Indiannapolis
Note: As you can see I’ve put aside for this week my series on amazing women in Buffalo who are making history. I’ll pick that up again when it feels right.