Words of encouragement hang on the marquee at University Inn Academic Suites on Park Street in Orono in this March 27, 2020, file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

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As of April 2, by order of Gov. Janet Mills, all Mainers are required to stay at home with few exceptions such as getting necessities or performing jobs deemed essential through the month of April. This has put people in an unfamiliar spot — living, cooking, education and perhaps working from home.

The stay at home order has been some time coming for Maine — several states enacted similar orders in March. But, regardless, it still leaves many Mainers wondering how to handle everyday life issues, how to manage budgets and more. Plus, some Mainers are struggling to juggle working from home while finding themselves to be the de facto homeschool instructor for their bored, cooped-up kids.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

Whatever your situation may be, we’ve compiled our tips and guidance on how to thrive while sheltering in place during this unprecedented time.

Entertain yourself without breaking the bank

Though we’re all probably spending a little more time than usual with our laptops and televisions, it doesn’t have to stretch your budget. There are endless opportunities for entertainment without subscribing to yet another streaming service. Check out these free options for entertainment, from “live” social media concerts and art festivals to virtual museum tours and zoo livecams.

Hack homeschooling

Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

OK, maybe you’re less concerned about “hacking” homeschooling than surviving it, but still, we’re here to help. Set a schedule for your new students, and follow these tips from parents who have been homeschooling since long before the coronavirus in order to make sure your children don’t fall behind on their studies.

Celebrate when you can

Credit: Courtesy of Geoff Bell

Finding joy in the little moments will help this challenging period pass by even faster. Whether you are celebrating a birthday while social distancing or enjoying a toast to another day survived in quarantine, try to make special moments even in these unusual circumstances.

Try a crafts project

Have you been meaning to finally figure out how to use that sewing machine? If you are short on supplies, here are some craft projects that you can try with items you probably have around your house, from no-sew T-shirt tote bags to upcycled planters.

Plan your garden

Credit: Courtesy of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation

Though it may seem like eons have passed since social distancing began, gardening season is right around the corner. Take this time to plan your garden. You can even grow some vegetables quickly from the comfort of your home if you’re looking for a fun project that will up your stores of fresh food. If you have never gardened before, what better time to start? Here’s what first-time gardeners need to know to get started.

Practice self-sufficiency

Credit: Stephen M. Katz

Now more than ever, people are interested in living more self-sufficiently than perhaps they once were. If you are one of those people, but don’t know where to start, here are some tips from homesteaders about how to survive social distancing. Having a large piece of land with a rustic, historical homestead isn’t even a prerequisite to living more sustainably and self-sufficiently. Here’s how you can start homesteading from your apartment.

Get cooking

Credit: Keivn Bennett

Cooking is like a crafts project, chemistry experiment and boredom buster all wrapped up into one tidy package — that you can eat, no less. Spend a little time in your kitchen trying out new recipes. Maybe you can hop on the Internet craze of making sourdough bread (or, if you feel like bucking the trend and don’t want to wait two weeks, bake this super easy and delicious beer bread).

DIY essential items before going to the store again

Part of the shelter at place order is to go out as infrequently as possible for essential services. Before you go shopping again, try to replace your household staples with homemade mixtures using items you probably already have around the house. This goes for cleaning supplies (though be careful about combining certain chemicals) as well as kitchen items. Even hand sanitizer and — if you’re feeling adventurous, or desperate — toilet paper can be improvised to space out your trips to the store.

When you do go to the store, be safe

Making trips to the grocery store is one of the essential instances you are allowed to leave your house for at least the next month. Try to make food last as long as possible and get creative with your recipes, using simple substitutions for ingredients you lack. If you have exhausted your food stores — as well as your DIY and substitute options — and you need to go grocery shopping, make sure you are doing so safely.

Go easy on yourself

If you aren’t productive during this time, don’t beat yourself up about it. I know we’ve been sending out a lot of creative new projects for you to try, but it is a pandemic, after all. You’re allowed to just listen to your favorite sing-a-long songs that you’ve already heard a thousand times; ignore the social media pressure and make the foods that make you feel best, sourdough be darned; or take long, “unproductive” bubble baths in complete silence.

We’re going to get through this together. Listen to public health officials of course, but otherwise, any steps you can take for self-preservation while looking out for the greater good is good enough.

Watch: 6 ways you can prevent COVID-19