As calendar editor, my job each week is to compile a list of activities and shows occurring in the area, letting readers know of enriching and enjoyable things to do.
But now, coronavirus has suddenly caused many of the entertainment and cultural venues in the area to temporarily “close up shop,” hoping to stop the spread of the virus with the practice of social distancing. So we can’t gather in groups — we need other leisure activities, those that can serve us in this uneasy time.
These are some of my ideas on how to spend some downtime in ways that can be soothing, productive, or both.
Walking: Take a walk in nature, or even around your neighborhood. Be on the lookout for early spring blooms. Their arrival is always somehow so reassuring. The mini-daffodils blooming alongside my driveway were messengers to me that spring is still on the way, bringing growth and beauty.
Photography: Take a picture. Bring your phone or the camera you haven’t used in ages on your walk. Try your hand at capturing that first spark of spring or a beautiful architectural detail that always speaks to you. Share it on Twitter or Facebook and let someone else enjoy it, too. We need to keep community alive, even though we are physically distancing.
Community: Offer to help a neighbor, especially one who is a senior or has medical needs. You can pick up groceries and leave them at the doorstep.
Cook: Make some chicken or vegetable soup. Knowing I’m doing something healthy for myself makes me a little more confident and in control when facing an invisible threat. Use your favorite recipe, or that one you saved months ago on Pinterest, and fill it full of healthy, nourishing, ingredients. Sharing some with a friend or neighbor can be fun, too.
Get outdoors: Capitalize on one of these warm afternoons by doing some yard work. Being outside in the sun is restorative, and doing work where you can see actual results is very satisfying. If you have garden areas, you can get them ready for planting and look forward to their fruition.
Virtual visit: If physical labor is not in your plans, or you are resting from it, a virtual visit to a museum could be a fun diversion. Google Arts and Culture Collection has over 500 museums and galleries available for your viewing pleasure at artsandculture.google.com.
Art for arts sake: Do you have a set of watercolors, pastels, or crayons in a drawer? You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy artistic expression. Coloring is widely believed to be therapeutic. How about setting up a still life for everyone at home to render their version of, and compare results?
Read a book: Re-read one of your favorites to glean new nuances, or download a new one to your Kindle. This is a great time to check out that title (or titles) you’ve been meaning to read.
Music: I have a favorite Pandora station, based on music by John Prine. But I’m ready to create a new one and be surprised by something fresh.
Skype: I’ve avoided this technology hard. But this could be the time to embrace it. Keeping in touch with grandchildren and friends is worth it.
Baking: I bought yeast in my stock-up trip to the Stop and Shop, and I plan to make some bread. It makes me feel capable and reminds me I can do for myself if I need to. Plus it’s delicious. I plan to use the recipe for peasant bread from alexandracooks.com.
Board games: Did you get any for Christmas, or do you have some old ones? How about a deck of cards? This is a great way to spend some quality time with family members, and can even serve as fun reading and math practice with printed material and dice.
Learn a skill: I have a guitar in an upstairs bedroom — it was purchased by a family member who meant to learn to play it. We have an instruction booklet, too, and there are lots of how-to videos available online. If you also have an instrument in the house, here’s your chance. Take it out and give it a whirl.
Curate a collection: Do you have seashells, photographs, figurines, blue glass, Witching crystals, all those mini make-up samples, etc., you’ve been meaning to gather up, arrange, and organize? I would love to find a way to display my vintage kitchen textiles. This could be our chance.
Have something to share about an event going on, especially during the coronavirus response, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.