Making most of time during pandemic

Staying at home during COVID-19, while challenging, offered opportunities for those of us who used the time wisely.

When it all started, my teens had dreams of our time at home being an extended vacation. I told them that whatever this time was, we would make the best of it. I wrote up a guideline for our time, saying that weekly, we would: clean something, fix something, read something, learn something, exercise something, and cook something.

First, ‘clean something.’ I think that most of us started our spring cleaning early thanks to COVID-19. Once that was done, I went onto more obscure items like defrosting the freezer and washing the stove fan filters. Once the snow was abating, there was also the yard to clean up. As the weeks went on, clean something turned into clean or sort something. Then the boxes in the attic and filing cabinet drawers started joining the weekly list.

‘Fix something’ has involved gluing broken items, fixing our fence that a bear and a fallen tree damaged, changing furnace filters, and mounting our rechargeable vacuum on the wall. Two additional ‘fixing’ items doubled up for ‘learning’ items. I had never oiled a bicycle chain. I had also never sharpened a knife before, let alone a serrated knife, which thanks to the power of the Internet and a fun new tool, I have now mastered. As a side benefit, these turned into ’empowerment items.’

‘Read something,’ is relatively obvious, but I did state that it needed to be a physical book or educational magazine. I’m trying to reduce screen time, as difficult as that can be.

‘Learn something’ can overlap ‘fix something’ as already mentioned, and can overlap with ‘read something’ as well. Under ‘learn something’, my kids and I restarted using our free Duo Lingo accounts. I’m trying to improve my Italian, and the kids switch between French and Spanish. One documentary a week is another way we fill our ‘learn something’ goals. So far, we have opened our minds and changed our eating habits with: What the Health, Cowspiracy, In Defense of Food, and Planet of the Humans, among others.

‘Exercise something,’ may seem self-evident, but for me it also includes doing my physio exercises, and stretching. Exercise outside should get double points, because now more than ever, we need vitamin D, fresh air, and a connection with nature. A walk in the woods is my favourite way to check off the exercise box, especially because Hiawatha Highlands is so stunning.

‘Cook something’ is my favourite category. Cooking and sous-chef-ing with my kids is always a highlight of my day.  We have made very elaborate meals like salmon wellington, and have taken on making all kinds of things from scratch, including perogies and gnocchi. As much as I’d like to keep this category related to cooking, I think I should modify it to cook/create something, as my daughter has created some amazing sketches, paintings, poems, and more.

As I write this, I feel like I should have also added: ‘Connect to someone/something.’ It’s more important than ever to feel connected to our loved ones, pets, and our planet. It’s a time when connections can be mended or created, through conversations, board games, and even through doing any number of these above activities together.

Thanks to this opportunity to put fingers to keyboard, my list for the best things to do during COVID-19 now includes clean or sort something, fix something, read something, learn something, exercise something, cook or create something, and connect to someone/something.

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