It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago, the thought of COVID-19 reaching the city of Denver was so far off, but in some ways we all knew it was inevitable. We live in such an interconnected globalized society that it was only a matter of time before this looming virus made its way into our daily conversations.
I’m guessing this story will be something that people all over the world can relate to right now.
As soon as the first two positive cases in Summit County were reported in the media, everything started to move so quickly; the virus and the changes to our daily lives. Everything started to get postponed and then started to officially cancel. Literally everything from sporting events to schools to restaurants to workplaces. Life has changed. In the span of one week, my work life went from “business as usual” to not allowed on campus. We are currently trying to figure out how my work will receive something as simple as mail when the employees do not have access to the buildings.
All of this has felt very confusing, frustrating, and rushed to be honest. We all have our thoughts about how the response to COVID-19 is being handled, good or bad, but I am not here to go over that today. With all of this going on, it is what it is, so I have been trying my best to make the most of it and to adopt a “go with the flow” attitude more than I ever have before.
Everything will be ok, I know it will, I just can’t tell you what will happen next or when. No one can. I just know that we are in this together and that the best thing we can do is try to support each other through this confusing and difficult time.
Even as I tell everyone (even myself) that I need to just go with the flow and that everything will be alright, the truth is I am really freaked out. My anxiety is at an all-time high and I have to constantly remind myself that every time I grab an extra box of pasta at the grocery store that I am actually contributing to the problem. I somehow find myself panic buying and thinking that surely everything will sell out and we’ll all go hungry. I know that’s not true, but when the line to get into Costco is almost wrapped around the building, it’s hard to not let everyone’s anxiety get to you.
I think about all of the kids that can’t go back to school, the teenagers and young adults that are trying to process what’s going on, the elderly and other high risk groups worried about everyone they come into contact with, people who have lost their jobs because of businesses that have been forced to close to maintain social distancing, and healthcare workers on the front lines working day in and day out. They all have families too.
I also think about how we are all literally in this together on a GLOBAL level and dealing with it in our own way at the same time.
What I’ve been doing A LOT of lately is thinking. Thinking about how I can keep from getting sick, but also how I can best manage my time in this new way of life. I’ve been thinking about how I can best serve my daughter as she stays home from school so that she can continue to grow and simply be a kid. I’ve been thinking about how I can continue to do my job remotely when it wasn’t really designed to do so. I’ve been thinking about how we will manage our financial obligations when my husband is one of those that has experienced a severe decrease in hours and responsibilities at his service industry job. I’ve been thinking about how I can continue to fill my cup through self-care. I’ve been thinking about how to manage all of this when life as we know is completely different than what we are used to. There is just so much uncertainty.
Let’s get to the bottom of this – what is COVID-19? PDF from CDC.gov, OR watch this video from CDC.gov:
What is social distancing and why is it so important?For an excellent description/illustration of it’s importance > Click HERE.
In the midst of all of this chaos, I have also begun to notice a silver lining. As I currently sit at my new work space at home, I face a window that looks out at our street. I have seen families pass by, that I didn’t know lived in our neighborhood, go on a walk to get some fresh air. My daughter just ran into the room with her new “bug house” because she caught a Roly-poly to show me and my husband is spending time in the garden he loves, but “never has time to tend to”. I have seen more people walking their dogs than I ever have before. I see people maintaining social distancing while leading a small work out group in the park. I have seen people out and walking around the park more than I ever have before, all doing a great job of maintaining social distancing.
Life is different now and for the time being, but could this change in our daily routines actually be doing something positive for each of us that are stuck at home if we let it?
Could it be that this shake up has actually done something very healthy for us on a societal level? We are getting out into nature more, we are able to actually stop and see the flowers because we can only sit in front of a screen or in a house for so long. People are contacting each other more than they have before through social media, face time and zoom platforms outside of professional use because now they have time to do so. People are stepping up on Nextdoor and other platforms to create organizations to help the sick and vulnerable, the poor and hungry, and the healthcare workers that are on the front lines. For the most part, people are seeming to make the best of a really scary, confusing, and frustrating situation and people are stepping up!
Mother Nature is responding in such a positive way too. They say that the smog in some cities is lifting to reveal clear skies and stars at night because our industrial processes have been paused. Although this virus has had some extremely negative impacts on the global systems and people of this world, I hope that we can all come out on the other end of this difficult time looking at our world, the creatures, and the people in it a little bit differently.
I hope we can start to see more of the beauty in each other and be thankful for this planet and the people in it a little bit more. I hope we can look at each of our lives as being infinitely beautiful and so incredibly precious. This world, the environment, the creatures, and the people are all worth fighting for! We are all in this together.
All of this being said, I don’t want to skip over the fact that there are so many people out there that are currently fighting this sickness and may be very afraid. OR you may know someone that has a high risk of catching this disease. OR you are a healthcare worker on the front lines. Please know that if that is you, I want to validate and recognize your concerns, your frustrations, your fears and the uncertainty that surrounds us. Also, please know I am with you, we are with you and there are so many of us out here that know we are all in this together and that your life and our lives collectively are worth fighting for and protecting. If you are healthy, please abide by social distancing to protect the people in our community, the incredible healthcare workers, and our world collectively from the spread of COVID-19.
For those of us that are healthy and are staying home, what do we do with this time? How can we best manage our time? I cannot specifically speak to your situation, but I want to share my thoughts with you as I try to navigate this new way of living. I hope that you can either relate or take some of my ideas and apply them to your lives to make the best use of your time.
So what do we do with this time?
1.Most importantly,how can you contribute or help the members in your community affected by COVID-19?
- Reach out to an elderly, disabled, or chronically ill/immunocompromised person in your neighborhood (while maintaining social distancing). Ask if you can pick up something for them on your next grocery trip, etc.
- #denverfeeditforward – Fundraising to feed Denver’s front line healthcare workers with local meals during the COVID-19 outbreak. Follow this initiative on Instagram @denverfeeditforward
- Become a Hunger Hero with Food Bank of the Rockies, or email your neighborhood school to see how you can help them by contributing to help low income families in your area.
- Foster or Adopt a Shelter Pet – many shelters will be overrun with pets that people can no longer care for given the current circumstances. Life is Better Rescue, The Good Dog Rescue, Maxfund, Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue are all great local options!
- Donate blood with Vitalant.
- Having a drink at home? Virtually tip a local bartender (or other service industry professional).
- Domestic Violence Victims – The worse place to be right now is stuck inside with an abusive partner. Click HERE for resources to get help during this pandemic.
- Purchase everyday items from local businesses that have inventory available for sale online instead of big box stores or chain grocery stores. Many local businesses are transitioning to online platforms to keep their virtual doors open.
- Maintain social distancing!!! Refer to this graphic for a reminder on why saying “No” to attending a community BBQ is best thing for you and those around you.
- Make face masks – we all know by now there is a shortage of PPE literally everywhere. If you know how to sew, knit, crochet, etc. watch this How To Make a Face Mask video.
- If you have an idea as to how you can help, share it with others!!! Our world is so interconnected with social media. Your ideas matter and could help someone in a difficult situation!
2.Stay up to date with COVID-19 information specific to your area:
- Download The Weather Channel App (they have a COVID-19 specific button) or visit their website for location specific updates.
- Colorado Department of Health and Environment Website for daily COVID-19 case updates at 4pm.
- What does the Stay-At-Home Order for Denver really mean?
- COVID-19 Information for the State of Colorado.
- COVID-19 Information on a USA level.
- COVID-19 Information on a Global Level.
As for things to do when you are forced to stay at home:
1. Looking for a new podcast?
These podcasts have been game changers for me over the past couple of years. Specifically speaking about the first two listed, those women have provided so much incredible guidance and encouragement to me in so many areas of my life. They both publish podcast episodes regularly, but I suggest following their Instagram accounts for daily motivation and guidance, as well. Click here to take you to their Instagram pages > Cathy Heller and Sahara Rose.
Create your own virtual book club with friends!
Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube Adrienne’s at-home yoga is my ultimate go to for literally everything yoga. Adrienne has yoga for all age groups and experience levels, plus it’s free! Every year in January, Adrienne creates a 30 Day Yoga Challenge and this one happened to be called “HOME”. Not that she had any idea what this year had in store for the world, but how fitting that she happened to come out with a yoga series named after the very place where the whole world is spending most of their time. Cosmic Kids Yoga is also free and my daughter LOVES it!
4. Is going to church a part of your weekly routine?
Literally search “Online Church (Your City Here)” on Google to find an extensive list of churches in your area from a variety of different denominations that offer online services. Many churches have already been recording their sermons every Sunday and make them available at any time online.
5. What about a good workout?
ACTIVE by POPSugarFitness
@demibagby on Instagram
The Body Coach TV on Youtube – all ages.
Centr – Chris Hemsworth’s training team/program. Currently offering a 6 week free trial!
Email your local rec center/YMCA/gym for online training sessions with local personal trainers and online classes. What better time than now to go outside, put some earbuds in, take Fido out and go for a good old fashioned run? Or if you are looking for more structured and diverse workouts, check out the options that I listed above for some excellent and motivating home workouts to keep you motivated and working towards your fitness goals. Plus, keeping your body healthy physically is extremely important right now. Good nutrition and exercise! P.s. did you know that “one cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange—190 mg.”?
6. What if you just want to dance? There are online options for that too!
There are many dance studios across the country offering dance classes online. There is literally no excuse to not move your body!!! Get up and dance! If you aren’t into an organized dance class, join this family in continuing the Quarantine Monday dance challenge by grabbing the people in your house to have a dance party. Because why not?!
7. Can’t see people in person? Need to have a meeting with coworkers? Does someone have a birthday? Or is a loved one stuck at home by themselves?
Use any of these platforms to host everyone in one virtual room to say hello or sing “Happy Birthday”. We were able to catch up and celebrate my mother in laws birthday through Zoom this year. She would probably say that experience was a first! Based on her response to seeing all of our smiling faces, she looked so happy. Happy Birthday, Jan!
8. Were you affected by restaurants, bars, and other businesses shutting down by executive order?
USBG National Charity Foundation – Apply for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program Grant
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation – Apply for aid.
Check your eligibility for unemployment benefits. There have been announcements made that unemployment benefits could apply to people that have experienced a serious decrease in hours or have been laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Check your state’s unemployment policies to see if you are eligible.
9. Are you an artist or an art organization affected by the outbreak of COVID-19?
“The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation is dedicated to fostering, through arts and culture, a creative, inspiring and connected community in the Denver region.” Click on the link above for resources if you are an artist or an arts organization if you are in need of support during this time. They list Denver specific and National resources available.
10. Are you a small business that is affected by the outbreak of COVID-19?
Check your eligibility for Small Business Loans. From the sba.gov website, “The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.” For more details and to see if you qualify, visit their website.
11. Support your local businesses like never before!!
Look up Nextdoor Groups – for Denver residents, search and follow “Denver Small Business Offerings”. Many local businesses have moved to an online purchasing platform to keep themselves in business and serving their customers. Before you make the trip to a big box store or chain grocery store for basic needs, search online to see if your neighborhood local businesses carry the items that you need. We have to support our local businesses during this time, they are also being affected.
12. Don’t buy items made from plastic!!
Now more than ever, plastic wrapped items are flying off the shelves and the demand for more items wrapped in plastic is on the rise thanks to panic buying. People forget or don’t know that all of the items to supply our basic needs are available online from zero waste or environmentally conscious companies. Another benefit – what better way to maintain proper social distancing than ordering online? Join me as my family continues to convert our house to a plastic free environment even in the midst of a pandemic. For a list of some of my favorite Zero Waste Stores and Eco Friendly Companies see below:
- Zero Market – Online ordering, plus now offering curbside pickup at the Stanley Marketplace location ONLY and making local deliveries in the Denver area!
- Who Gives a Crap – TOILET PAPER!!! check out my blog post about this company and why these products is my favorite! Click HERE.
- For alternative options to paper towels – Click HERE.
- Give a Sh!t! Eco Friendly Dog Poop Bags – more people are out walking their dogs and more people need to clean up after there dogs. See why this company and this product is my favorite! Click HERE.
- Nudi Goods – Plastic Free Goods online.
- Well Earth Goods – Online natural zero waste store. Family owned.
- Zero Waste Store – Eco friendly, all natural, sustainable products online.
It seems so counter intuitive to be talking about gratitude at a time such as this, but it actually couldn’t be better timing. Not only can practicing gratitude daily help improve your mood and change your perspective, Summer Allen writes about the health benefits of practicing gratitude. In her article she states, “In their study of 186 patients, more grateful people reported better sleep, less fatigue, less depression, more confidence in their ability to care for themselves, and lower levels of systemic inflammation (an immune response that can have negative effects on the body, including the cardiovascular system). Patients who did daily gratitude journaling for eight weeks also showed decreased markers of inflammation at the end of the experiment.” Saying and recognizing the things in your life that you are thankful for can literally improve your health.
If you are looking to get started with a gratitude Journal, click HERE for my current favorite.
14. Start that podcast, blog, YouTube channel, etc.that you have been putting off for far too long.
15. Your child’s school got cancelled and now you’re the teacher?
Most schools have moved to teaching their students online, but there will be parts of the day that your child might need to be entertained by you. That becomes even more difficult when you now have to work from home. I’ve listed a few ideas and resources for you below to help you support your child as they continue to grow and develop:
- Support For Students Facebook Group – a wide variety of support and resources for teachers, families, students.
- Project Quarantine 2020 – This group is similar to the Support for Students group in that it gives you lots of options and activities to support your kid in their at home educational journey.
- Over 30 Virtual Field Trips – live zoo cams, outer space, Yellowstone National Park, and so much more!
- Denver Zoo “Zoo to You” Virtual Safari.
- Swallow Hill Music School – “As a home for individuals and families who want to learn about, listen to and perform music, we invite everyone to connect and experience music in their own way.” Instructors are teaching classes and performing remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Search their website using the link above for a variety of options available to you.
- (For the older kids) New York Times What do you see in this picture? Activity – Explore with others what might be going on in each of the pictures posted.
- My daughter helped me to create a daily schedule by writing down what she did during the day at school. I added/modified a couple of the items on the chart to better fit our new stay-at-home lifestyle. See my example below, keep in mind my daughter is 5 years old so this schedule may not work for your child depending on their age, but it might be helpful in creating your own schedule based on your child’s needs and the routine they had at school. Sometimes having a routine helps to bring a sense of normalcy to a chaotic situation.
*Disclaimer – I am not a teacher or educational professional so my suggestions are not based on that knowledge or any certification, but this is currently what is working for my family and maybe it will for yours also.
16. Looking for some encouragement in a difficult time? Watch this video:
Although, this is a crazy stressful time for everyone, in some ways we have been gifted time. In our rushed globalized society, how many of us tend to look at our to do list and prioritize what needs to get done? We all do otherwise nothing would get done. However, those things that have always fallen to the bottom of the priority list now have an opportunity to rise to the top. These are the things on the to do list that you usually look at and think, “I don’t have time to do this.” Guess what? Now you do. You have been given this time. How will you best use it?
If you need To Do List Templates to get you started > Click HERE for free downloads of my To Do List Templates.
Remember, we’re all in this together and everything is going to be alright. #AloneTogether
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Welcome to thekyliebee. If you have additional ideas as to how to use your time during this pandemic (because there are SO many things we could be doing), leave a comment!
Until next time,
*Disclaimer – I am not being paid or asked to review any of the products that I mentioned in this blog post. I simply love sharing what has worked for me and my family in hopes of helping you, the people you do life with, and the environment, as well.
*Disclaimer – I reserve the right to remove any comments on here that are degrading, abusive, or negative in demeanor. Only positive vibes here please!