By Deanna Anderson
During this time of isolation, laziness can be an easy trap to fall into. Now that social distancing is the new "norm" for the time being, we risk becoming more isolated and more connected to just our electronic devices. But, it is important to keep not only our minds but our bodies active.
READ: This is the perfect time to read that book you have always wanted to but never had time for. Make it a family night and read one chapter a night, or have children read their favorite stories. Take notes, and write a book report or a review about what you read (reviews can be posted to Amazon, which authors always appreciate). If a full-length novel is not your thing, try reading poetry or a magazine.
MOVIE NIGHT: In the '80s, slumber parties among teenage girls were very popular. We gathered together, watched movies in our pajamas, ate junk food and slept on the floor. Since we're isolated at home, have a slumber party with the people in your home. Watch a movie franchise, binge-watch a TV series or each person pick a favorite movie. After, discuss what you watched and analyze the characters or storyline (and yes, even something as simple as Tom and Jerry cartoons can be analyzed).
TRY A NEW RECIPE: Dig through that recipe box, cookbook, or check out recipes online at www.allrecipes.com or Pinterest. Set the table with the fancy silverware and fine china, or take dinner outside and picnic in the backyard. Let everyone in the house help out with some part of making the meal or setting the table. When it is time to eat, put down the electronics and have a real conversation.
EXPLORE: Social distancing doesn't necessarily mean we can't be outside. Go for a drive, or walk and explore neighborhoods you haven't seen before, or take that road less traveled. Visit a park and play an outdoor game or enjoy the views (visit www.sumtersc.gov for a list of all the parks in the city and county). Go for a hike at Poinsett State Park, hike the Cypress trail or walk the tracks at the various parks. Make it a goal to visit all the parks. (Editor's note: State parks will be closed at least until Friday. Also, City of Sumter and Sumter County playground equipment at all parks are closed because it has not been sanitized. According to city officials, parks will remain open, but residents are asked to exercise precaution and practice social distancing while outdoors.)
LITTLE LIBRARIES: Sumter has 10 little libraries (that I know of). These libraries are owned by private residents, and the idea is to "take a book and leave a book." Search out neighborhoods for libraries to trade books or leave little positive notes for library owners. Hint: Check the historic district, housing developments, or the area off Miller Road across from USC Sumter. You can also visit www.littlefreelibrary.org and search by zip code to find ones registered with the site.
SPRING CLEAN: We can stay active around the home by finally getting to that deep cleaning we've always meant to do. It is the season for spring cleaning, after all. Clean out that closet, scrub the baseboards or reorganize the cupboards. Take the cleaning out to the backyard, too. The weather is warming up, and we've had some beautiful days that are perfect for heading outside to plant a garden or work on outdoor projects.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Become an amateur photographer. Take pictures of things around your home, yard or neighborhood, and be creative. Look at things from a different perspective, and take pictures at different eye levels. Be artsy. Share your photos with others on social media.
ARTS AND CRAFTS: Use this time for arts and crafts that can become decorative or useable art for the home, gifts or to sell for profit. The internet is a good source for arts and crafts activities, and many things can be done with items around the home. Pull out photos from old albums or boxes, or print from electronic devices and scrapbook them into decorative albums with stickers and other embellishments and funny or serious captions.
GAME NIGHT: With school and many jobs closed, we are spending more time together, so make it a family night with board games, card games, playing charades, karaoke, or finally complete that 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle at the back of your closet.
SOLO ACTIVITIES: If you live alone and are self-isolating, be productive and keep your mind active by starting a journal, writing a story or novel, playing a game of solitaire with cards or working in a crossword book.
EXERCISE: Keep your body active by finally starting that at-home exercise regimen. Involve the kids, or do a neighborhood exercise program with everyone standing in their own yards and exercising together from a distance. Walking, bicycling and running are great exercises to get you away from the house for a while.
The point is, there are things out there to do while still maintaining social distancing. Use this time to create fun, constructive, creative or memorable moments, but make sure that whatever you do, if asked "What did you do during the quarantine?" your answer is not: "Nothing."
Inspiration for this article comes from Deanna Anderson's book series "Make Each Moment" available on Amazon. Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to share your story or your ideas? Email email@example.com.
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