We are staying in and staying safe here in Oakland County, Michigan during the Coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the past few weeks, we have learned that our schools are closed, restaurants are open for carryout only and now we are being asked to stay home unless we are providing essential services or going to the grocery store or pharmacy. My son is a senior in high school and this has been hard for him. He is taking his classes online thanks to the great teachers in Troy, Michigan. These educators recognized that they needed to mobilize online learning on March 13, 2020 and closed schools even before the Governor did so that they could gather to develop an online learning plan. While we do not know if the Michigan Department of Education will allow the hours will count towards his graduation, I think he finds some comfort in the schedule of checking in with his teachers and classmates virtually. We are not sure if Prom or Graduation will happen and have cancelled his Spring Break.
My daughter is a senior at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She and some of her friends were scheduled to travel to Florida for their Spring Break and cancelled the trip last week even though other college students carried on with their plans to travel and party. She learned that her college will continue via online classes for the last trimester. The College closed dormitories and we have moved her out of her apartment in an abundance of caution and with the hopes that we can get out of her lease somehow. It was a tough day moving out because we were not sure if she would see her friends again or if there will be a graduation ceremony for them in June.
As a freelancer and a substitute teacher, I am not getting paid right now. When schools shut down, I lost my substituting hours and did not qualify for unemployment benefits. My clients are saving money by handling their own social media marketing and people are really only buying essential items online so my affiliate income is non existent. But I have been through layoffs before so I know the drill. And I have a Master’s in Public Health so I understand the importance of social distancing and sheltering in place.
Our business, The Heathers Club is carry – out only now. We would have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a party and it would have saved our month but instead we are making it work with carryout and a skeleton crew. Time will tell if we can have our Easter Brunch which is one of biggest days of the year in terms of sales.
So with all of this in mind, I can tell you what is working for us in keeping our spirits up during this time and I hope you will share your tips in the comments section.
Go for a Walk
I go for a walk at least once per day, sometimes a couple times per day. It is nice to get outside in the fresh air and see the sunshine. Although we had a Spring snow earlier this week, it did not stick to the roads so I was able to walk my route and see my neighbors from a safe distance. It has been nice to see people that I have not seen in awhile and in some cases, have never seen! Walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise and I write about it often in my blog.
Ride your Bike
My gym closed down when the schools closed a few weeks ago, so I have been using my exercise bike and catching up on shows like The Crown. I also use my laptop to watch Ted Talks that I have not had a chance to watch. Even if it is just for 15 to 20 minutes, it makes me feel better and helps burn off the extra calories we all have been consuming. And when our Michigan weather is not ideal for riding a bike or walking outside, it helps me stay active. When the weather gets warmer, my daughter and I hope to get outside for a bike ride.
I have seen a lot of people posting on social media that they use Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and the like to keep in touch during this unprecedented shelter in place order. Last night, I did two Zoom calls and then participated in another this morning. I did a yoga class last night with Northern Yoga Center which was wonderful and much needed to calm my nerves. I also did a call with several of my college roommates and we laughed and had a fantastic visit. This morning, I participated in Coffee and Conversation with my local Impact100 friends and found it really inspirational.
Set Up a Workstation
If you are working from home or studying online, it is essential that you set up a workstation. Having a designated place to get your work done not only increases productivity, it helps break up your day. My family has found that as we share space, we are feeling better if we stay on a schedule with our exercise, work and meals. When we enter each of our work stations, it helps us to realize that it is time to work or study. Then we can take a break to exercise by going outside or going to the basement to use the exercise bike and weights. And for mealtimes, we go to the kitchen and socialize etc. Whether it is a desk in the kitchen, the dining room table or desk in your bedroom, it really is important.
I have a variety of resources for online learning. My LinkedIn Premium subscription grants me access to Lynda.com which has tons of classes. I also participate in webinars for human resources benefits, marketing and public health and wellness. I try to schedule some type of learning each day. I have studied and earned certificates in WordPress, Social Media Marketing, E-mail Marketing and completed continuing education for my Human Resource certification online. Not only does it give me something to do, it keeps my mind active and it is something I can look forward to each day. It really has been my window on the world when television or reading is not keeping my interest.
So, that is my list of ways we are getting through the pandemic here in Michigan. I hope you will share your ideas for coping with staying indoors during this trying time. And if you would like to support my blog and business with a donation you can do so here. Stay safe and healthy!