Well, who could have predicted the last few weeks’ happenings? With every passing day, the news seems to get more and more bleak. During this time of uncertainty and fear, much of America has become confined to their homes because of the Coronavirus, better known as the COVID-19 Quarantine.
How is this effecting you? Do you feel stir crazy? Do you feel alienated and cut off from society? Equally important, are you afraid to go outside for fear of catching or spreading the virus? You are completely normal for feeling how you feel. Without a doubt, every one of us is dealing with COVID-19 quarantine and its effects the best way we know how.
Sadly, millions of us are all being forced to deal with financial challenges that we were not prepared for. So, how do you stay positive and reduce stress? With this purpose in mind, let me preface by saying, I am NOT a mental health professional. I am simply a professional wedding and portrait photographer, mom of 4 kids, and wife to my sweet hubby, Matthew. Below are a few of the low cost or no cost things we are doing to keep our minds off of the obvious.
Redecorate – I love interior design and decorating. Surprisingly, it’s a stress release for me. I am using leftover paint to touch up our walls. Touching up any scuffs or fingerprints goes a long way towards giving our home a freshly painted look. I am rearranging the furniture for a different floor plan and traffic flow. My wall art and tchotchkes are being getting a facelift too. I am removing some and rearranging others as well as adding a few different ones that have been in storage for a while. Surprisingly, just these few changes are enough for our family to feel like we have a newly decorated home.
Revisit my New Year’s resolution – exercise! Our family is very blessed to live in a very friendly neighborhood where many neighbors walk, run, and ride their bikes daily. We are thankful for being able to walk daily while practicing social distancing. We need this time to decompress and prepare for what may come next. I am also starting a yoga regimen. I am using a video series called “Yoga for Photographers” by Vanessa Joy. (https://www.creativelive.com/class/yoga-photographers-vanessa-joy). Fortunately, this will not only increase my flexibility as a photographer but boost my endorphins naturally.
Hobbies – I have played the piano since I was 4… a REALLY long time. But I usually don’t have much time to practice. So, I have started digging out some of my old sheet music to use for practice. And, I am looking forward to using our backyard to practice a few golf shots like chipping and putting. Matthew is quite the golfer and has been teaching me to play for date days.
When Matthew and I were planning our wedding, I made and designed my wedding dress from scratch. I looked at a picture that he found online and adapted it to my liking. That was the last time, I made time to sew. I can’t think of a better time to use that small stockpile of fabric in the closet than now. Perhaps I’ll make a pair of dress pants to wear to some of our upcoming weddings.
Reach out – At this very moment, I have a MacBook, iPad, and iPhone within arm’s reach of where I am sitting. We have the ability to call, video chat, and email at our fingertips. Even though COVID-19 quarantine requires us to practice social distancing and avoid groups larger than 10, I plan to video chat with my family and friends. I think it would be fun for all of us to play trivia together again. We played Christmas trivia one year on Christmas Day over video chat and it was a blast!
Dream / Vision Board – What is it? It’s a visual way to display specific things that we want to happen in our life. Without a doubt, we believe that through gratitude we are able to “attract” what it is that we want in life. Matthew and I are updating our dream board. As a matter of fact, our dream board isn’t really a “board” at all. It’s several full-size clipboards arranged on the wall that we see often. It looks like wall art and we can change out specific goals/dreams as they come to fruition. Seeing our dream board reminds us to take a second to dream about accomplishing them. “What would it look like if we did accomplish a goal / dream? What would it feel like? How would life be different as a result?”
We are looking to book more photography clients. So, I printed out a picture of a destination wedding and hand wrote the city that I wanted to shoot that wedding in at the bottom and laminated it. You don’t have to laminate it… I just happen to own a laminating machine. I hung that 8×10 picture on one of the clipboards in the grouping. Now every time we look at it, we will think about shooting a destination wedding in that city. Our dream board makes us excited about the future and keeps us focused positive things. (For more information, check out https://blog.mindvalley.com/vision-board/.)
Yard Work – Matthew has the “green thumb” in our house. Indeed, he gets so excited about planting and watering the flowers. His labor of love starts by collecting seed pods from our existing flowers at the end of the blooming season each year. Once the pods are dry, they get planted in small starter pots over the winter. About this time each year, he transplants them to their “forever home” in one of our flower beds. As a matter of fact, several are ready to be transplanted right now, so he’s looking forward to planting them where we and our neighbors can enjoy colorful blooms all season long.
Organize and Declutter – Like may photographers, our office is in our home. Of course, to work efficiently it needs to be organized and clutter free. But to be honest, we are guilty of creating little to-do stacks because need a little more storage. So, we are installing a couple of 4’ wall mounted shelves during our COVID-19 quarantine to give items that we use regularly a designated home. We also plan to purge out-of-date or unused items like magazines, catalogs, brochures, etc.
Family Movie Night – We began this tradition when Matthew and I got married. It was one of two activities that every member of our blended family enjoyed. Each of the 4 kids took turns picking the movie for that night. We popped popcorn and ate chips as well as queso during that movie. We have had some of the best experiences as a family sitting right in our living room. As our kids have gotten busier, family movie night has become scarce. So, we are bringing it back by popular demand.
Date Day / Date Night – Friday nights are usually reserved as date nights for Matthew and me. If there is a calendar conflict, we switch to date day. With the current COVID-19 quarantine suggested restrictions, we are creatively choosing what to do on our dates. Earlier tonight, we watched a Hallmark together and enjoyed some ice cream afterwards in the comfort of our home. Weather permitting, tomorrow we practice a few specific photography skills around our house.
Give – In light of the COVID-19 quarantine, we are humbled to see so many communities pulling together to take care of each other. Certainly, it warms our hearts to learn that people are volunteering their time to pass out school lunches throughout the community. Not to mention that others are sharing hard to find items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer with those who need it. What a beautiful gesture it is to give. It’s so simple but has such lasting effects.
For several days now, we have been praying for ways to pour into our community. Matthew and I feel compelled to give so many others are right now. We are excited to share that we have been blessed with ideas and are currently working out the logistics. We are eager to give of ourselves, our time, and our talents and will share more as we can.
So, remember that you are not alone during this time. Do what it is that makes you happy. Try out that new recipe. Catch up on your book reading. Send out some handwritten cards. Most importantly, I sincerely hope that you find happiness and peace as we all do our best to stay positive while weathering this thing they call the COVID-19 quarantine.
For the latest on information COVID-19, please check out the WHO and CDC: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 and ps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
March 21, 2020