We are now in week five of what started as our self-quarantine and later became mandated isolation and stay at home orders. At just over 40 people per square mile, Maine is one of the least dense states in America. That in itself provides a layer of protection in this Covid-19 pandemic that may not be available to folks in places like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Still, with a little planning and reasonable safety precautions (both for you and for others you might encounter) this period of self or familial isolation doesn’t have to be a burden. In fact, it may be just the opportunity you need to catch up on projects around the house, learn something new, touch bases with people you don’t get talk to often enough, or just take a walk/ride to discover the hidden beauty in your own neighborhood. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things my husband and I having been doing during this time to stay active, keep in touch with loved ones, maintain a healthy weight, and accomplish meaningful tasks that will free up more “fun time” when this difficult period is over.
Once we realized that this mandated isolation may well last a good bit longer than any of us would like, we knew we had to find a way to replace our 3x a week gym visits and watch our diets if we hoped to avoid unwanted weight gain during the quarantine. In addition to our usual 2-3 mile morning walks with our dog, I added a 3-4 mile afternoon walk up and down our street. To make it more interesting I downloaded a couple of books on tape and listen to a few chapters a day while setting a good pace on the mostly empty roads in our neighborhood. To break things up, we will make the short drive to the University of Maine for our walks on the student-less campus. We also downloaded an exercise program that we can do at home without any special equipment. Also, doing yard work, like raking leave, dethatching the lawn, and mulching the flower beds not only burns some calories, but frees up time for later. Once a week we take a road trip in our jeep to a lesser-used trail to take a walk in the woods, share a picnic lunch and comune with nature. So far, we have not encountered any other hikers on these trails this spring.
One of the routines we established well before the Conornavirus pandemic, not watching TV during the day, was easy to extend into our home quarantine. On a stormy day, we might put on a Netflix disc (we are still old-school) in the afternoon as a special treat. But ordinarily, if we in the house, we are listening to the radio, reading books, doing laundry, prepping for meals, or working on projects in the basement. Don has started a “ship-in-the-bottle on his workbench in the basement and practices his Kalimba (thumb piano) in his spare time. I write cards and letters, email or call friends and relatives. I even tuned my guitar and practiced a bit -something I haven’t attempted in a couple of years. Together we have done a couple of jig-saw puzzels and talk about places we would like to go once this is all over. And I am confident it will be over, but it may take a while before things are back to normal.
It would be disingenuous to suggest that I am not eager to be free of the restrictions that impact our everyday freedoms. But I think given the potentially deadly consequences of not maintaining safe social distancing and/or stay home orders, it is not unreasonable to do all we can to prevent further spread of this nasty virus. With every sunrise we are one day closer to finding a vaccine, to flattening the curve, and to the rhythm of our lives returning to the familiar. I look forward to arriving there healthy along with my family and friends. I hope you do as well.