Community Maplewood Millburn South Orange

Hunkering Down at Home? Ideas for How to Spend the Hours and Keep Your Sanity

In just a week or so, we have gone from “normal” daily activities like going to school and work, visiting friends, dining out and going to the gym to secluding ourselves at home with immediate family members, as phrases like “social distancing” and “self-quarantine” have become a regular part of our vocabulary.

It’s a change of pace for most people, and one that can easily lead to feelings of frustration, boredom, isolation and even depression.

Some folks are doing a good job filling their dance cards with activities, some useful, educational or just plain fun. So if you’re stuck in front of your computer wondering how to make the most of this enforced free time, here are a few ideas to help the hours pass more quickly.

Cooking and baking are big favorites for folks at home. It may be because it smells good, or tastes great, or just makes us feel comfortable in tumultuous times.

“Today we had a baking championship with a secret ingredient,” says Lulu Jones. “Then I made my husband dress up as a surprise judge,” she continues. “[W]e have an activity each day that is mom-planned and then a kid planned activity too!”

Making pizza

Teresa Krastel had a different spin, however. As part of what she called her “Corona Carb Clinic,” she and her kids spent an afternoon creating cookies that look like magnified versions of the coronavirus. Now they can eat what’s bothering them.

Coronavirus Cookies

Gardening is another popular activity. It gets you outside for the vitamin D that’s so good for your immune system while you plan for gorgeous flowers or delicious home-grown veggies this summer. Lots of folks are doing a spring cleaning of their yard, figuring out the best way to compost, and one younger member of the community is setting up his “worm farm.”

Children from one neighborhood have started making rainbows and putting them in windows and places around the neighborhood for their friends to find as part of a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt.

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt

Other fun things people are doing with their kids include riding bikes, doing puzzles, learning new languages, and moving with Just Dance videos.

“I just bought my husband some sweatpants,” says Renee Wills, whose husband Ben spent most of his weekdays in suits. “We need something comfortable that’s easy to take off and wash after we’ve been outside.”

“Finding a new pet is a great idea,” says one local parent. “There are so many in need of a loving home, and this is a good time to do things like potty train a new family member. Even if you can’t commit to a long term situation, plenty of pets could use a good foster home right now.”

You may want to teach a trick to a pet you already have. Or maybe do something fun that doesn’t require anyone to go outside. Says Veronica Lombardi of her afternoon of beauty with pups Jack, Rory and Bruno, “2 words – dog salon. They’ve never looked better or hated me more.”

First Client of the Lombardi Dog Salon

Some people are using Skype, Facetime or Zoom to maintain social distance while being social. “[I’m u]sing Skype to keep a lunch date with a friend. Each [of us with our own] lunch onscreen,” says Vivienne West. Others are trying their luck with virtual cocktail parties.

Lunch with friends

And some are trying old school partying methods with small tweaks. Michelle Sassa, says she and her kids do “[t]ailgate parties with my parents. They sit in their garage, their kids and grandkids sit 10 ft away on their driveway. And we bring our own chairs and drinks (then take them home with us).”

It seems a lot of people crave a little time with actual humans, even if they can’t get close. Kent Heacock reports, “[a]t 5:30 pm today about 1/2 our street stepped out front and waved at each other. I believe we are going to do it again.” This type of community check in seems to be the way of things to come.

So whether you bake, clean, learn or find new ways to socialize, keep those ideas coming and make the most of our time in the Coronavoid.

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