Surviving the Stay-At-Home Order

So, here we are.

I don’t know how everyone else is doing, but here in my state we were just ordered to stay at home for another 2 weeks. At first they asked us nicely to socially isolate as much as possible; now the gloves are off as things are getting more serious. Many other nations have been dealing with lockdown situations for longer than we have, and for some of you this situation may be coming. Times are really getting tough: an invisible enemy, stress, grief, loss, and economic uncertainty. And now you need to stay home for who knows how long…

Well, as it turns out I have some experience with staying home in self-isolation. I’ve been social distancing for months now; it started last summer when I switched to “night shift” to avoid sunlight, and then I doubled down when the flu season started. Hey, sunlight activates my scleroderma, and I was blue-faced and panting for air, so catching the flu was a really terrifying thought. Rats! I contracted the flu anyway, and just as I recovered I became aware of this looming new coronavirus…  I was motivated to self-isolate, which may be or not be the case for you, but I do have some insights and strategies to pass on to anyone who wants them.

Okay, I just want to acknowledge that this is really, really tough. I absolutely understand that my situation, under no circumstances, should be confused with the stress of a pandemic and the coinciding economic repercussions. Still, in case any of this helps, here it is.

  1. Make lists. Lots and lots of lists! It helps so much to bring some internal structure and purpose to your days. I make lists of things to do each day, and more lists of long-term projects that I think I might like to tackle. Make lists of blog post ideas. Add new things that you think of to your lists, and reorganize them as needed. Keep yourself going, and make plans for the days to come. Really, it helps!

    One of the projects that I put on the long-term list is to knit at least one sock from each of these books. There are a lot of technically challenging socks to choose from: should keep me busy, huh!
  2. Structure your time. When I lost my work-day structure I just didn’t know what to do with myself at first; creating a new structure helps with that. Plan a daily walk, watch a set show each night on the television, create blocks of time for specific tasks (like knitting!), do a puzzle or read each day; don’t forget to stick in yoga, meditation, or journaling if they appeal to you. Just don’t spend all day on one thing that will be finished at the end of the day. It actually is better to chunk multiple tasks over several days so you won’t hit a dead zone.

    Right now I am working on this quilt every afternoon for a couple of hours.
  3. Exercise and get sunshine. Unless of course the sunshine will make you sick. I can’t emphasize how calming and peaceful some time outside can be. Even gardening inside helps. Get some exercise! That can be one of your daily blocks of time, even if it is only your physical therapy and the number of steps daily on your Fitbit.

    Spinning is exercise, right? I thought that an hour treadling my wheel was a good idea. My hip begs to differ…
  4. Create zones in your home to keep you moving around. Right now I have transformed the dining room into a quilting area, and there is a reading zone in the living room with a weighted blanket (and my monster orchid) waiting for me. I have a desk with my computer in the room that used to be my office, and I have a knitting area all set up. The trick is to keep moving, and link your movements to your activities. Maybe staying on the couch works for you for awhile, but it is not a good long term plan, people!!
  5. Plan and make nice meals for yourself.  Oh, look! Another list! Does anyone have any yummy recipes that I can cook in a crock pot?
  6. Record your days and your progress. Keep a journal, or maybe just a day planner. Write on the calendar. Try not to write on the walls, but if that makes you happy, go for it!! Sign up for challenges on places like Goodreads or Ravelry. Maybe create your own challenges. Do it!

    Every night I record my knitting progress into my day planner. It’s kind of cheesy, but it helps me keep going. Last night I cast off the sweater and made sure it would fit me: it fits!!! Tonight I will start on the pockets.
  7. Clean and organize stuff. In a world where we don’t have a lot of control over what is happening, it sure helps to create a nice, clean, tidy environment for yourself. Go after the cabinets and clean the closets! Organize the pantry. Arrange your books, or games, or whatever you have cluttering around in your living area. Clean up your music, photos, or the files on your computer. You’ll be so happy that you did. I cleaned the garage last week and I am still riding the wave of good feeling. Next week: the yarn stash!!
  8. Connect with everyone you can. Talk to neighbors from your doorstep. Chat with family and friends online. My book group is working out how to meet virtually next week. Remember to text to check in with people often. Being isolated doesn’t mean that we need to be all alone.
  9. Don’t forget to shower, people!!

So that is my list. A list! I made another list, look at me go! Take any of this that is of use to you, and absolutely ignore the items that aren’t. Feel free to chime in and add any other ideas that you have to cope with being forced into inaction during a time that screams for action.

Be safe, everyone!

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled kittens. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

38 thoughts on “Surviving the Stay-At-Home Order”

      1. Our fines are pretty big, but they are so worried about the prisons that they are letting some of the people out who are high risk for complications and low risk to the community. I can’t see them putting anyone into jail right now in these circumstances.

    1. Thank you. I will try the lower chair, but I think that the problem is that the hip joint is so bad. I was supposed to go for an injection of steroids into the joint as soon as the MRI results returned, but because of Covid-19 that has been put off indefinitely. Sad hip.

      1. I cleaned the brass on my door yesterday for only the 2nd time since we moved in 14 years ago! Amazing what you’ll do to take your mind off Covid-19. Must be so frustrating having pain relief being put on hold because of it.

      2. My doctor prescribed me a topical anti-inflammatory that really works wonders, but I really got into trouble with that spinning! It isn’t so much that it hurts, but that it refuses to work and kind of slips out of joint so I can’t walk. Okay, it does hurt when that happens… Wah!! Will I go back to spinning anyway? Of course I will! You should see this rose-grey alpaca fleece that I have!!

  1. This should be required reading! Thank you for sharing:) We are getting a little stir crazy here. Our governor just extended the no school date into May. That is a long time to keep a 17 year old away from his friends and entertained, not to mention educated.

    1. Oh, dear. It is so hard to stay home when you have so much energy. Hugs to you and your son. I just texted my oldest son that he needed to build a Rube Goldberg machine with his son to keep them busy. They are hard at it even as I type this… I think that there are Legos involved…

  2. One of my favorite crock pot meals is Dublin coddle.
    Sausage 3 pounds
    Bacon 1 large pack, my family loves bacon!
    Onion 3, or whatever you have
    Potatoes 3 pounds

    Cook up the bacon and sausage…I usually do mine in the oven, 350 for 30 minutes. While that happens, cut up your taters (peels are fine, or use red. I hate peeling potatoes, also cut up your onions.

    Cut up onion, put on bottom of crock, add a little (half a cup, maybe a little less, you dont need much “wet” in there, season with salt, pepper and parsley.

    I cut the cooked sausage into bite sized pieces…it goes further that way, throw that in on the onion, then the bacon on top of that (also bite size chunks…my kids would try to take all the bacon). Potatoes on top, with more salt pepper and parsley. I would put about 2 strips of bacon on top.

    Put crock on low and let it cook. The longer it cooks the better it is!

    It’s a bit labor intensive at first, but is a absolutely delicious, and makes awesome leftovers!

    1. Oh, wow, that sounds great!! I love everything with bacon. 🙂 This week I’ve been eating green chili hash browns that sounds related. I brown the hash browns in a big pan, make a well in the middle to pour in eggs for scrambled eggs, stir it all up, then add chopped green chilis and top it all with shredded Mexican cheese and diced bacon. Once the cheese is melted, it is ready.

      In my state (Colorado) we can buy green chilies by the bushel and they get fire roasted before you take them home. I’m still eating the chilis from a couple of summers ago.

  3. I’ve read several shelter at home posts, but yours is the first to suggest creating zones and then moving between them. I’m an organizer by trade, so I do some of this instinctively, but as a way to keep moving, it’s gold.

    I love your soft pink sweater (minus pockets so far which made me smile). I’m trying to pick up crochet again, but I’m not a natural. Lots of small projects though keep me moving. Stay well.

  4. Thank you for sharing your tips on getting through this in better shape – much appreciated! I’m sorry you have been having to go through all this, but glad you found good ways to keep yourself feeling OK and engaged.

    1. I first started making lists when I was still in the classroom and just getting slammed with work. I started writing everything down as soon as I thought of things that I needed to do, and then it was like I no longer had to worry or try to remember them. Now I can’t function without lists of just about everything you could think of. As soon as something crosses my mind I get it written down.
      It is so hard to not worry now, I totally understand. I think that exercise does help, and maybe something productive like woodwork, or painting a room, or digging a garden. I started knitting compulsively when I was first diagnosed and got the bad news about the survival rates for systemic sclerosis; it was the only way I could get the panic and grief under control. That’s why I thought of repetitive things like sanding or painting. I’m so sorry this is happening to all of us. Hugs, and stay safe.

    1. Aww… thank you so much! I’m glad that the post has held up well over time and through the Covid lockdown that we all experienced because here we go again. I noticed that I only had 9 points in the post; I would like to add a 10th which would be if you start to really struggle adopt a companion!! I really was saved by my pandemic kitten, I think.
      Since that post I also learned to use lots of services like Instacart, Drive-Up-and-Go, and DoorDash to bring me food. I’m sad that we are still dealing with Covid-19. Hugs and stay safe.

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