Before we begin, let me just say, this is not meant to be a political post. In fact, it has almost nothing to do with the politics surrounding Covid-19 and questions of continuing to shelter-in-place or not.
Science says we aren’t out of the woods with Covid-19 yet and probably won’t be for another two years. I’m not here to comment on whether states should open back up or not because I believe the issue is scientifically simple, economically complex, and emotionally volatile.
Therefore, I am staying the hell away from it.
However, I am just saying for the record that because of my own immune-compromised status due to my kidney transplant, I’m going to continue to pretend I’m on lockdown for a while longer.
Therefore, anticipating new psychological challenges going into the next stage of quasi-shelter-in-place, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve done in this first phase to stay afloat.
One: Use up your hot chocolate
Yeah, yeah, I know. What am I talking about? It’s May! And I don’t even like chocolate! But seriously, I found an awesome thing: hot white chocolate!
Whatever flavor you prefer, I’m betting you, like me, have a couple of loose left-over packets or a half-full canister you’ve been meaning to use up. Really, we’re going to make it. Any day now.
We have the Great Grocery Crisis of 2020 to thank for this discovery. When one week, I couldn’t get milk, powdered creamer, or any other kind of creamer for my coffee…I turned in desperation to my powdered white chocolate.
And…wouldn’t you know it? It was pretty good! Not, of course, like real, fresh cream and a touch of sugar, but definitely doable. Plus, the smug satisfaction of having life-hacked my creamer crisis made it all the better (okay, I know it wasn’t really a crisis, and it’s not much of a life hack, but dammit, it’s mine, and I’m owning it!).
Two: Use up your toiletries
I don’t know about you, but I have this weird thing about not wasting toiletries. I mean, not the basics like deodorant and toothpaste and soap. I’m talking about moisturizers, face masks, and hair product and things like that.
It’s a mystery to me why, but I am seriously parsimonious when it comes to stuff like that. This results in my having a guilt-inducing shoebox full of products I never use.
I decided to declare Sundays as my spa days and finally use up all that stuff. I mean, yes, it’s more like spa hour (I have two six-month-old puppies, so yeah, an hour if I’m lucky), but it still works.
So far, I’ve used two foot masks, half of my back supply of Biore strips, cracked open the toner I’ve been ignoring, and moisturizing more than my usual habit (i.e. twice a week vs. never).
Have I experienced a skin miracle? No. I don’t think so. Maybe. But, that’s not the point. The point is that I am using up something that has been sitting around, treating myself to an hour of guilt-free Pinterest surfing, and changing up my routine a little bit. And when every day is Monday, any little routine change helps.
Three: Wear the good jewelry
We all have pieces of jewelry stashed somewhere “safe.” You know the ones I’m talking about. The fancy pieces that we only wear, as my Nonna Romana would say, “on the death of the Pope.” Basically once every ten years.
We don’t wear the good jewelry for going out usually, worried about losing it, getting mugged, or just being too ostentatious in general. But hell, why not wear it at home?
So, that’s what I’m doing. Not every single day, but I am making a conscious effort to wear a few of my favorite nicer pieces on days I’m not gardening or doing marathon cooking sessions.
Hell, today, I’m wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but I decided to break out a ‘parure’ set I got myself a long time ago from a high-end French costume jeweler called Sayoya. So yeah, t-shirt, shorts, with a full matching sparkly set of earrings, necklace, bracelet, and ring.
Because I can. And, I’m debating which sapphire ring to wear with my sweats tomorrow. BOOM, BITCHEZ!
Four: Day drinking
While cocktail hour traditionally starts to roll in around 5:00 p.m. chez moi, nowadays, it seems like everyone is indulging a little bit starting at…oh…11:00 a.m.
And why not? It has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN (or not, but whatever) that we can work from home and be productive while secretly day-tippling.
I’m not talking about getting ragingly drunk. But, a glass of wine with lunch? A gin and tonic while sitting outside on a hot afternoon and working on our laptops? Why not?
And if drinking isn’t your jam for whatever reason, choose whatever forbidden fruit you want and roll with it. No pants rule? Great! Mid-afternoon sex break? Sure! Painting your nails while on a boring conference call that would have been an in-person meeting? I’ve always wanted to do that.
In a time where we all have to pull together and follow the rules, we need to let off a little steam by breaking a tiny rule here or there so we don’t go nuts and start breaking the REALLY BIG rules.
Five: 15 Minutes of Fury and 10 Minutes of Terror
I’ve lost count of all the “10,001 tips for cleaning/decorating/konmari-ing your house since you now have all the time in the world being stuck at home all day” blogs that are making us all feel a little guilty for NOT doing that stuff.
Let’s be honest. By the end of May, most of our homes will look fairly similar to the way they were in January. Some of us will have done some big projects (my husband and I have no choice – we have multiple remodeling projects going on). But most of us won’t have developed seven new highly effective super deep-cleaning daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly cleaning habit schedules.
For several years now, I’ve tried to do something I call “Fifteen Minutes of Fury.” And, no, it’s not deep-clean project or anything like that. It’s just the fifteen minutes I need to spend every day to make the bed, hang up the clothes, straighten the cushions, and go through the mail.
Nothing fancy. Nothing even hard-and-fast about it being 15 minutes or what I have to do. But, it’s just most days, that’s what I aim for. And most days, it works.
Do I have bigger projects that I’m dreading and putting off? Well, yeah. I mean…don’t we ALL? So, during shelter-in-place, I’m trying out a variation of my Fifteen of Fury and doing Ten of Terror. It’s just ten minutes a day on one little tiny piece of a project. It doesn’t even have to be the same project (hello, ADD brain that can’t prioritize). But, Ten of Terror has helped me reorganize the dish towels, go through the first aid supplies, turn a couple of old t-shirts into cleaning rags (take that, paper product shortages!), and sort two stacks of papers and mail into file/throw piles.
I don’t even do Ten of Terror every day. I aim for three times a week. If I can’t get to it…meh. No one has run out of toilet paper because I didn’t get it done. But, it’s one teeny tiny little annoying thing off my to-do-eventually list, and it feels good.
Those are just some little takeaways for me so far from shelter-in-place. And, while I am a writer and work from home, I DID used to leave the house at least every other day LOL. So, even I am getting a little stir crazy.
Share your tips with me in the comments below! Maybe we can put them all together in one of those super smug, annoying “50 Great Ways to Handle Staying Home” posts!
Stay well for yourself. Stay safe for others!