Yesterday, St. Louis City and County Officials announced the Stay Home - Essential Activities Only Order (Health Commissioner's Order #5) in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) in the St. Louis community. The order is effective tomorrow March 23 at 6:00 PM and will last until April 22, 2020 (unless extended by the Health Commissioner). Although the order does not mandate that everyone stay home at ALL times, it is an important to follow this order to the best of your ability. The faster we stop the spread of COVID-19, the faster we can get back to business as usual.
Now that you will be spending more time at home, here are a few ideas on how to spend your time:
1. Take on something you have always wanted to do
If you can, please take advantage of this! Whether it is starting a business, learning a new skill or reading a book, take some time to do that thing that you always told yourself you would do during you "free time" but never found the time to do it. Truth is, it is easy to tell ourselves we will do something, but in the thick of our daily routines and fast-paced lives, we find better things to do or good excuses not to do something. If you want to start a business, take this time to research what you need to do to start said business and begin to work on a business plan. If you want to take on a new skill, take an online course at uDemy or Coursera. Read that book that has been sitting on your shelf for months. If reading is not your thing, maybe writing is. Take time to keep a journal or maybe write your own novel. One more thought, take this time to learn some new healthy recipes! Checking something off your Life's To Do List will give you a sense of accomplishment during this time.
2. Start to learn a new language
This is one of my personal favorites. If you can find some time during the next few months, start to learn a new language. My recommendation is to download an app called, Duolingo. I have used this app over the last few years and it has been an excellent supplement to my language learning. The best thing about this app is its price: $0.00. Yes, you read that correctly! This app is FREE. The app uses gamification to make learning a new language not only fun, but very practical. The way you learn new words and grammar in this app feels natural, making it very easy to digest and retain, which is one of the hardest things to do in language learning. Duolingo also has a podcast that takes storytelling to another level. You listen to an incredible true story in a foreign language with periodic English narration, making it easy to keep up with the pace of stories. This is a great way to perfect your accent and comprehension of a foreign language.
3. Take a walk or jog (while keeping social distancing)
Luckily for us, the Saint Louis Order specifically identifies "outdoor walking or exercise" as an acceptable activity as long as you "maintain social distancing of at least six feet." Given this fact, please get outside to enjoy the weather and sun. Staying inside all the time can make people go mad, so the more we can get fresh air and sun, the less this will feel like a "stay home order." Take a jog or walk daily (if weather permits). The addition of a daily walk or job will make a big difference in your week.
4. Stay in touch with friends or family
Friends and family are important so use this time to stay in touch. Maybe that means calling up an old friend, FaceTiming your parents, writing a letter or having a virtual happy hour. This is a great time to catch up, to make up or to just stay up-to-date with everyone's lives. And yes, I said have a "virtual happy hour." FaceTime some friends to talk and have a few drinks as if they were there in person. Of course It is not as good as having them there in person, but at the end of the day, it will accomplish the same thing. As always, drink responsibly!
Finally, this should be a no-brainer, but heck we often forget about how important sleep is. Not only for the fact of feeling "well-rested," but it is also incredibly good for your health. Getting enough sleep will help you feel better mentally and physically (and will make you more productive). Insufficient sleep is an issue for about 1 in 3 Americans. Do a google search and research how important sleep is. Then, take this time to practice getting enough sleep. It will make a big difference in your life.
Hopefully, doing some of the things above will help you weather this storm. Most importantly, please stick to the guidelines set out in the Health Commissioner's Order. We need to beat this virus as soon as possible. Inevitably, this virus is having a massive health and economic impact on small businesses and workers across the country and world. Unfortunately, it has already taken a number of lives. In this difficult time, we need to do all we can to help our neighbors and stay optimistic. Continue to do your part by following public health guidelines. We will get through this together and come out stronger than ever!
Stay safe. Stay well.