Hey y’all, it’s been a while since I last posted, and I have a few blog posts drafted that I’ve been wanting to put up, but it didn’t feel right to do so before addressing the current state of the world. As I’m sure you already know, the coronavirus (or COVID-19) has completely disrupted everyday life for people all over the world — stores have shut their doors, people are out of work, and everyone has been advised to stay home to help stop the spread of the virus.
One thing I’ve realized is that you think you’re a homebody until you’re forced to stay home, and after one week of personal quarantine, I was already going stir crazy. I’ve had online school work to keep me occupied for the most part, but it’s definitely been a struggle to find productive ways to spend all of this extra free time (I’ll be posting a life update about how much has changed since spring break soon!). During Palm Sunday mass, Fr. Mike Schmitz talked about how there is always purpose in suffering if you allow there to be, so today I’ll be sharing a few ways that you can use this time wisely to come out a better person at the end of all of this craziness!
1. Read Those Books You Never Got Around To
I have a huge stack of books on my nightstand right now (if you’d be interested in a reading list post, let me know!). I know that there is so much wisdom between those pages, but between school, a social life, and attempting to get a decent amount of sleep, I just haven’t had time for leisure reading in the past few years.
So, while I’ve continued to order books that sound interesting and insightful, I haven’t actually been reading them, and I feel like I’ve missed out on so much knowledge that would have helped me in the past! My boyfriend, Jacob, and I have been doing a nightly book club with a book his mom bought us in the fall (great for couples! linked here), and we’ve really been enjoying it!
So, if you have a book or two (or seven, like me), now is the perfect time to get through them! If you want to get your friends or your boyfriend involved, it’s also a great way to stay connected and continue to have meaningful conversations 🙂
2. Do a Social Media Cleanse
Is there anyone you’re following on social media that constantly spreads negativity, or that incites jealously within you? Now would be a great time to unfollow them and fill your feed with people who inspire you and spark joy!
I’ve seen so many posts from people saying that their screen time has increased significantly since being home, and all of that extra time on social media can certainly mess with your mood, perspective, and overall mental wellbeing.
So, take some time out of your day to look through your following list, and clear out anyone that’s not positively contributing to your life. It may seem like something small, but it can make a world of difference!
Here are a few of my favorite accounts at the moment:
If you didn’t live up to your new year’s resolution to start working out regularly (or never got started at all), now would be a great time to start! Working out is about so much more than the number on the scale or the size of your skinny jeans — it’s a way to show yourself some love by taking care of your body! You only get one, and if the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that health is most certainly something to be grateful for.
Since I wasn’t allowed to go back to Notre Dame to grab anything after spring break (yes, I am surviving on a week’s worth of clothing in Houston at the moment), I ordered a pair of Brooks running shoes to help me get back into shape, and wow. I’m never running in my Adidas athleisure sneaker’s again!
It’s been so nice to go outside and get some fresh air (while maintaining social distancing, of course), and I already feel like my heart is so much healthier and my body is getting so much stronger! So, if you don’t have too many kiddos on your hands, or a bunch papers and projects due, carving out 25-30 minutes to go for a run/walk, do yoga, or whatever else you’d like to get your heart pumping can do wonders for your overall heath (mind, body, and spirit!).
4. Work On a New Skill or Improve On an Old One
I live in a dorm on my college’s campus, and even though every floor has a kitchen, I haven’t been able to spend anywhere near as much time working on my cooking and baking skills as I would have liked. Now that I’m home, I’ve been experimenting with both new recipes and old ones (yes, that includes banana bread, which everyone seems to be baking right about now!), and it’s been so much fun!
I recently ordered a new recipe tin from Rifle Paper Co., so I’ve been able to keep track of all of the adjustments I make to my favorite recipes, and it’s absolutely adorable! I’d highly recommend picking up either a recipe tin or a recipe binder if you like spending time in the kitchen, especially if you’re a college student or a young adult. Once you’re out on your own, cooking and baking will be great skills to have, and how nice will it be to already have a collection of recipes you know you love?
If you’re not a fan of cooking, there are so many other skills you could be working on that you actually do enjoy! Have you always wanted to have a green thumb? Pick up a few seed packets at your local plant nursery, and learn how to grow a few vegetables! Could your spending habits use some work? Learn how to budget using Excel or a budgeting app, and start tracking what you spend your money on every week! Have you always wanted to learn how to play guitar or any other instrument? Watch a few youtube tutorials, and try it out yourself!
While you’re home, there are countless opportunities to learn something new, and rest assured, your post-Coronavirus self will thank you later!
5. Declutter and Learn How to Live Neatly!
This was one of the first things I did when I realized I was going to be stuck at home in Houston for a while! I was notified over spring break that I wouldn’t be returning to Notre Dame for the rest of the semester, so I’m currently surviving on a week’s worth of clothes that I actually wear. After my trip to Destin, Florida, I came home and realized that I had a closet and dresser stuffed to the brim with clothes that I haven’t worn in eons.
It was bad, y’all. So bad, that the few clothes I had brought with me from Notre Dame couldn’t fit in my drawers. I was living out of two open suitcases that were just laying on my floor for a week and a half before I’d had enough and decided I needed to actually go through everything and get rid of stuff I had been holding onto for absolutely no reason. So, I emptied out all of my drawers, pulled all of my clothes off of their hangers, and tossed everything onto my bed. It took forever to get through, but it was so worth it! I have so much more room now, a ton of things to donate, and a lot less to pack up when it’s time for me to move out on my own!
This also doesn’t have to be limited to your closet! While I was cleaning, I went through all of my junk drawers, my desk, my old high school notebooks, my old makeup, etc., and tossed everything I either don’t need or don’t use anymore! Give all of the surfaces in your room/apartment/house a good wipe down while you’re at it, and your entire home environment will feel that much more refreshed!
I always say that my environment has a huge impact on my mood and motivation, so once you’ve got everything clean and organized, learn to keep it that way! Make it a point to wash your sheets every week or two, make sure your dirty clothes actually make it into the hamper, toss things when they’re empty or expired, make your bed everyday (I can’t stress this enough!), and keep other surfaces (like your desk, countertops, and nightstands) looking neat and organized!
I hope this little guide helps y’all stay sane during this time in quarantine, and gives you something to do other than binge on Netflix and spend hours on social media (but, of course, there’s room for those things too!).
I’m sending my prayers your way, and hoping that all of this ends soon!