In these trying and emotional times, when our lives have been horribly disrupted by health and financial challenges, we still need to get up every day and do things to retain some semblance of normalcy. Some of what we do may be new and refreshing, and other things might be crazy and off the wall. With a little levity, here’s what I’ve been doing during this difficult period to try and remain sane and a person in motion. 

Recognizing gratitude for really little things – You know that old adage about whether your cup is half empty or half full? Well, in my case, I’m just happy to have a cup! And instead of worrying about whether it’s half empty or half full, I’m just going to pour myself a little whiskey or wine, and with my friends over Zoom, enjoy one of our newfound ways to have a virtual Happy Hour. 

Expanding on the meaning of “Essentials” – I’m trying to think more outside of the box on this one. Yes, I do worry about not having enough toilet paper (even though I probably have a six-month supply in my basement) but more and more, I’ve been reading all about these bidet attachments. From my online research, I’m debating whether to get the Tushy Bidet or the Clear Rear Bidet. Although both are very similar and reasonably priced, home projects, no matter how simple, can often be a barrier for me moving forward. 

Turning a closet into a meditation room – I think all of us have a junk drawer where we just throw in a bunch of knick-knacks, thingamajigs, and stuff we don’t know what else to do with but can’t bear to throw them away. Until recently, I had a junk walk in closet that I wasn’t able to physically squeeze in for years. So, what did I do? I cleared everything out and put it all in my garage for the next cleaning stage. In the meantime, I have converted that little 3 ft by 5 ft space into my personal hide away. I’ve put a mat in there and when I sit down, shut the door, and close my eyes, it brings me back to my childhood remembering about how much fun it was to play in the closets with my toys. Believe it or not, it’s truly a mentally restorative experience.

Keeping up with my singing voice – Thank goodness for Zoom as it has not only allowed me to stay in touch with a lot of people easily, more importantly, I’ve been able to continue with my choir rehearsals. Although technically I’m a mezzo soprano, practicing with everyone and seeing their faces on-line has been so inspiring, it has boosted my singing range. In addition, the real nice thing is that I can participate in our Saturday morning rehearsals while still in my housecoat sipping an espresso. 

Cooking like I’ve never cooked before – I’m not saying that I’m cooking better, I’m just cooking with what I have in the refrigerator and pantry, and punting! For example, I never thought I’d open up a can of sardines and add them to my penne pasta in creamy vodka white sauce. Not only do I have a new dish, which was surprisingly delicious, I think I’d make Julia Child proud (even though this new meal in my culinary repertoire is Italian). 

Reading to keep the gears of my brain moving – I finally started reading those big heavy coffee table books on French Antiques, the Russian Revolution, and Ancient Chinese Calligraphy. Once I’m done with these easy to digest literary mammoths, I plan on putting together my own coffee table book titled, “Successful Women in the Field of Debt Collection.”

Exercise has been more than refreshing – Although a necessity, driving to and from work every day for many years does have its drawbacks. Besides not moving the body much, the neighborhood changed without me even taking notice. But now that we’re sheltering in place and working from home, my husband and I have been taking long walks throughout the neighborhood, waving hello at everyone whether we know them or not, and being pleasantly surprised to see that we have (for several years now) new neighbors just a few doors down from us. 

Putting Life in Perspective – Whatever inconveniences I’ve been struggling with, they don’t compare when our health, families, homes, and futures are compromised. So as much as possible, I have been reaching out to my community to volunteer and donate when and where I can. As they say, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

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This article has been edited by Steven Gan.

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