March 14, 2020
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6 ways you can make the most of staying home for a while

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Derek Runnells of Dedham takes a break on a bench while hiking in the Frank E. Woodworth Preserve in Harrington.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, March 13, test results show that two Maine residents have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.

It is safe to assume that the vast majority of us are going to be spending a lot of time indoors over the next few weeks, and possibly months. While things such as TV, movies, books, video games and board games are the first things people will likely turn to when looking to entertain themselves while stuck at home, there are plenty of other things that you can do that are not only safe, but are also inexpensive and actually fun.

Here are six ways you can make the most of your social distancing or time in quarantine. Having to stay home isn’t ideal, but it’s absolutely necessary, and it doesn’t have to be a total drag if you’re creative about it.

Go outside

One of the many things that is truly wonderful about living in Maine is our easy access to the outdoors — the majority of Mainers live within just a few miles of a park, preserve or outright wilderness. What better time than now, just as the weather is beginning to warm, the snow is melting and green is beginning to emerge, to get out and experience it?

It’s good exercise, regardless of your level of physical fitness, it’s almost always free and most importantly, it’s a safe way to go out and enjoy yourself. Whether you want to go for a rugged hike or take a long, leisurely walk through a preserve, this is a fantastic opportunity to utilize Maine’s greatest natural resource. If you need suggestions, well, have we got the person for you! All the stories from the BDN’s Aislinn Sarnacki, documenting Maine’s thousands of miles of trails, will get you started.

If you encounter other people while outside, keep your distance as you would anywhere else. And if you’re in quarantine, rather than simply practicing social distancing, this is not the option for you. But given how big, remote and often empty Maine’s woods are, you hopefully won’t have too hard of a time finding a spot far removed from other humans (and hopefully not too far from spotting interesting flora and fauna).

Chris Lee | TNS
Chris Lee | TNS
Old-Fashioned White Loaf

Cook something new

By now, many of you have gone to the grocery store to stock up on supplies. With a packed pantry and freezer, lots of people are now flush with food at their homes. This is a great time to try something new in the kitchen. Ever tried baking bread? King Arthur Flour has some super easy recipes for first-timers, and in most cases, all you need is flour, water, yeast, a dash of sugar and/or salt to get started. Want something to please the whole family? The BDN’s Sarah Walker Caron has lots of family-friendly recipes in the Homestead section.

If you want to jazz up some dry good staples, there are literally thousands of recipes out there if you just Google “pasta recipes” or “rice recipes,” not all of which require tons of ingredients you might not readily have on hand. Have fun. Make leftovers.

And, in the interest of supporting local restaurants that may be seeing decreased business right now, order takeout once in a while. And put a tip on the bill.

Stock image | Unsplash
Stock image | Unsplash

Write letters and make cards

Seeing as we’re all going to be seeing a lot less of each in person for at least the next few weeks (and likely longer), it’s all the more important for people to keep their connections strong through other means. One of the nicest things you can do is to write an old-fashioned letter, or get more creative and draw up a handmade card. Have someone get some paper, envelopes and stamps, bust out the pens and markers, and have a crafty letter night. Older folks that are more strictly confined to their homes will love it. Honestly, anybody will love it. Send a letter to that cousin you haven’t seen in years. Reconnect with an old friend. How nice would that be?

Sam Schipani | BDN
Sam Schipani | BDN
Cleaning with hydrogen peroxide.

Clean everything

You’re probably already doing some of this, but boy, the coronavirus sure gives new meaning to the term “spring cleaning,” doesn’t it? In addition to keeping surfaces clean, this would probably be an excellent time to do things like go through closets full of junk, do a purge of old clothes you don’t wear anymore, and generally Marie Kondo, or de-clutter, your life. Yard work, too, and cleaning out your car. Do it now. When else are you going to have this much time to devote to getting stuff done around the house?

Learn a new skill

Now, we’re not saying you should go out and spend tons of money on, say, woodworking equipment or a brand-new sewing machine. But there are lots of things you can do that require little investment. For those with deft hands and creative eyes, embroidery is a super-easy sewing project that can decorate any piece of fabric. Paper flowers are incredibly easy to learn to make, and require just paper, tape and wire in many cases. Ever tried learning magic tricks? There are hundreds of video tutorials that show you how to learn basic card tricks. When life gets back to normal, you can totally impress people at parties.

And for those looking to really step up their game, you could try learning a new language with free apps such as Duolingo or Babbel, or paid products such as Rosetta Stone. You could learn how to code through sites like Codecademy, which is free. You could even learn basic home plumbing through one of any number of YouTube videos out there.

General self-care

Everyone feels better after a little self-care. By self-care, in this situation, we mean doing things like taking some extra time to do your hair, perfect that skin care routine, give yourself a manicure or pedicure, or even do your makeup. Why not? Sure, almost nobody’s going to see it in person, but who cares? You can take a bunch of pictures and post them online if you want to. At the end of the day, you’ll feel better for it. This goes for guys, too. Pedicures are good for everyone. And we all need a little comfort, during this uncertain time.

Watch: What you need to know about handwashing during coronavirus






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