COVID-19 – Single Living during Stay-At-Home Order

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Ardath Waller Selfie

Actually the Stay-At-Home order here in Indiana did not start until the week of March 23rd making this officially week number 2.  But the week prior, we saw the schools close and the advice was to stay at home & not have gatherings of more than 10 people.  We were all in disbelief that this could actually be happening.  Was this real?  We watched the statistics of the virus traveling around the globe and knew it was just a matter of time before it arrived here.  But how bad was it really going to be?

And now, on the start of the official 3rd week but actual 4th week of staying at home we know the answer.  It is going to be bad.  We have already seen the number of deaths spiking each day and we are being told the peak will not be for another week or two – possibly.  The number of people exposed to the virus is spiking as well and we know not everyone is tested.

I am fortunate in that I already worked remotely out of my home.  Many people are making the adjustment of working from home for the first time.  And to top it off I just have my trusty Baxter with me while many others are working from home with working spouses and children e-learning.  But still, this is a huge adjustment for me as well because I looked forward to the evenings with personal plans and that was my opportunity to interact with people.  I invariably had plans each week to watch my grandchildren play sports and to meet with friends for drinks and dinner.  So in the end, I have had to adjust as well since my house is super duper quiet anymore.

So this is what I have been doing to help offset this super duper quiet time.  I hope this provides some helpful hints to you at home as well. 

  • Remodeling – I had a few projects I immediately jumped into.  I ordered a few things that were delivered the first week but now I am continuing with what I have on hand.  I have remodeled my entryway, my office, and painted my piano.  I still have a few more things to tackle but these projects have occupied my time in the evenings and weekends.
  • Organize – I never have enough time to organize but now I have all kinds of time!  I hear many people are taking advantage of this time to organize.  This applies to offices, closets, drawers, kitchens.  My Goodwill is still accepting donations but my recycling center is closed so check before heading out.  My garage is the staging place for now.
  • Reach Out – Take breaks during the day – even when working – to FaceTime or call a family member or a friend.  Humans are social and when our social outlets are limited, we can become hermits and get depressed very quickly.  So be sure to reach out and “not touch” someone!  Here are some examples:
    • Facetime with grandchildren or siblings – it helps to see faces right now
    • Call elderly family members – they will be thrilled to hear from you as they are completely bored
    • I have a group of friends that meet almost every Thursday night for dinner.  Last Thursday night we meet on Zoom and had a blast!  We talked for hours and it was obvious we all needed it.
    • My family of brothers, sisters, out laws, nieces, nephews, my children and their spouses, and my grandchildren all met on Zoom for about an hour this weekend.  It was great to actually see everyone!  Be prepared to spend the first 30 minutes with some members getting used to using Zoom for the first time. 🙂
  • Make new memories – we are not going to be able to get together this Easter.  Such a sad statement, huh.  But we need to adjust to a new way.  So I have set up a Zoom call one evening this week for my children, grandchildren, and I to dye our Easter eggs “together”.
  • Comfort Food – now, we are hearing from many that being home is an issue.  The refrigerator is so close!  But I have been preparing comfort food thru this pandemic.  At first I stuck to my normal meals because I was bound and determined not to gain weight but after a while I realized I NEEDED comfort food.  And comfort food for me are meals that my Mom would make – meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and Spanish rice & pork chops.  And I have learned how to make homemade chicken noodle soup!  Whatever you consider comfort food, make sure you do this.  I just make sure my portions are realistic.  It is like a big hug from Mom.
  • Exercise – this is kind of fitting to follow comfort food, huh.  Be sure to get out and walk, ride your bicycle, do yoga, take advantage of some of the free on-line exercise classes, etc.  Now that the weather is breaking a bit here in Indiana, this is becoming easier.  You can also get out and clean those gardens from the winter mess to prep it for spring.  Getting outside for fresh air is essential.  Take the precautions you need but get outside and feel the sun on your face!
  • Neighborhoods – and speaking of exercise, many families are walking together.  Because many playgrounds are now closed, some neighborhoods are making the walks entertaining for the little ones by putting hearts or bears in windows.  They can count and see if the numbers grow over time.  Others are drawing warm messages with chalk on sidewalks and driveways. 
  • Shopping – try to shop when the numbers are the lowest.  For me, I have been taking advantage of the store hours for the 60+ people.  I only go out once a week so I plan all week to make sure I get everything I will need for the next week.  If you can find enough for 2 weeks at a time that is even better.  (This is my goal for this week since the peak of the virus is just around the corner.)  And while shopping, wear gloves and cover your mouth and nose.  There are instructions out there on how to make a face mask with a bandana and pony tail holders.  ( Be safe out there!  Don’t touch your face, wash your hands, leave what you can in the garage for the recommended timeframe, wipe down what you can’t with antiseptic wipes.
  • Music – I love music and I can tell you I have been comforted by all the free little musical events that are happening from everyone’s living rooms.  I have seen two living room concerts on TV in the past week, Jimmy Buffet had a wonderful tribute to Bill Withers, Mary Chapin Carpenter plays a song with her dog and cat roaming around her feet, Keith Urban had a mini-concert while Nicole Kidman danced around, just to name a few. Just search your favorite musician and I am sure you will find something.
  • Free – and speaking of free, there are many companies extending free services for a couple of months.  Check out free services right now and you’ll see what is being offered.  And remember these companies when we are back to normal! (
  • Work from Home – As I told you I normally work from home but staying at home all of the time has forced me into new work habits.  These are some of my recent changes:
    • Enforce start and end times – make sure you get away from work and think about other things like exercising and socializing.  It is essential to do this, otherwise, you will become stagnant at work and stressed.
    • Take walking breaks or talking breaks or combine the two during the work day.  Think about it, you probably stopped and chatted with co-workers in the lunch room or heading back and forth in the office.
    • Make sure you have a window by your desk at home.  It helps to see the actual daylight while out of your normal office area.
    • Change it up – work from the porch if the weather is nice, or move to the kitchen island if you can.  Maybe work in a different room.  It just helps to move your workspace around a bit.
    • Keep your work laptop, etc. in the “office” area when not working – make sure you close the laptop and get away from work during non-working hours.  Kind of the same idea as the first point.
  • Take Time Off – be sure to treat yourself and get away from chores, work, home projects, etc., and have down time.  You are entitled!  Watch a movie, stay in bed all day, take a long hot bubble bath, do whatever will rejuvenate you.  I take one day off a week – usually Sunday.  If I want to stay in my PJs, I do!.  If I want to be a couch potato I do!  Make sure you make yourself happy!

I hope this helps someone – please let me know what else you are doing to get through this timeframe.  One evening over a week ago I grabbed my camera and hopped in my car.  I was tired of taking walks around my neighborhood.  I went to downtown Greenwood which is really dead like so many other small towns in our country right now.  But it was an opportunity to get photos without the normal high traffic.  Please enjoy!