There is an old saying that reads: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.  Never before has it been quite as apt as right now with social distancing the order of the day. A number of our #ImStaying members have shared with us the things they are doing to stay sane instead of succumbing to cabin fever. These are also good ways to take our minds off the tragic circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic and replace the fear we may be experiencing with something inspiring and uplifting! Now is the perfect time to do some of the things you have always wanted to do but never had the time for.

Toss it out and everybody wins

Decluttering must be one of the most satisfying things to do!  Now is a perfect time to go through all the clothes, shoes, bedding and household items you have not used for ages. Admit it, you have been wanting to do it forever and this is the perfect time to do just that. Imagine the faces of people receiving things they need (and that you no longer want). Homeless shelters, orphanages, early learning centers in underprivileged areas, religious organisations, charity shops… the list goes on and on. All of them are crying out for donations. And what do you get out of it? A great big sense of accomplishment, more storage space, a clear garage or storeroom, and the pleasure of knowing that you have helped others. Before loading your car with all your donations and making your way to the nearest drop-off point, we suggest you phone ahead just to make sure that your chosen recipients do not have strict safety protocols in place.

Decluttering is good for the soul

Make things

If you knit, crochet, sew, or do woodwork, put your skills to work for underprivileged children, aged people, homeless people. Babies’ and toddlers’ clothes, blankets of all sizes, caps, and scarves for adults, wooden toys – all will find thankful owners. Winter is coming and warm things will warm bodies and hearts.

Spend time with the family

This is a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your family, doing things together. Imagine all the bonding you could do in so many different ways. Share some TV programs that are suitable for the whole family, even watch some children’s programs with the little ones for a change. Learn some crafts together or simply teach them what you know. Play games (you can even make up some of your own) -a general knowledge quiz, a jigsaw.

Talk to everyone, either together or spend special time with each one individually, and take time to listen – no need to rush off anywhere. Tell stories. Share what you know about the family history, with pictures if you have them. Turn it into a book with everybody contributing something. Take time to engage with your partner. Share a candlelit dinner the two of you cooked together.

The weather is still lovely, so get up off the couch and get outdoors. Play in the garden with your children (even if it is just to catch a ball) or teach them the games from your childhood – they may surprise you with their enthusiasm! All of you can also exercise together in the garden or backyard. Each one can demonstrate an exercise that they know. Share something to drink and snacks outside with your partner or just chat or read together in the fresh air.

Make memories together

Take a virtual trip

An artist and #Stayer, together with her interns are exploring and traveling virtually, looking for scenes to draw. You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the journey though. So, get on the (virtual) bus, Gus! It is time to go places! There are an infinite number of sites to visit. Let us know of any that you have enjoyed.

You can also take a trip down memory lane by listening to music that will take you back to all kinds of lovely times in your life. YouTube is the place to go! And what about those movies you enjoyed seeing and would like to watch again (and maybe again)?

Explore online learning

There are hundreds of things you can learn online. You can find “how-to” demonstrations on every topic under the sun on YouTube and there are also stacks of free online courses of all kinds on offer. What about all those skills you have been wanting to learn? Cooking, servicing your motor vehicle, DIY projects, and crafts of all kinds, computer skills, how to draw and paint and… and… and… There are also things that you may want to learn about just because they are interesting. The choices are endless!

Did someone say free vegetables?

Start growing your own vegetables. It does not have to be on a big scale. Pots, tubs, planting boxes (make your own), old motor vehicle tyres, a little spot on the plot have all been the start of good things.

Try your hand at growing vegetables

We have not exhausted the possibilities here. But do some positive things and remember to share them on the #ImStaying Facebook group.

“Keep busy guys and do the things you love and never had time to do. Take care of yourselves, be positive, supportive and uplift each other. We will get through this lockdown.” – A Stayer.

Compiled by: Val Bruce

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