First, how are you doing?

As more of us shelter in place in response to the global COVID-19 outbreak, worlds seem to be shrinking. Waking up to the daily reality of living through a pandemic has incited a mix of old- and new-school tactics for staying in touch and self-expression.

From comparing recipes via video chat to searching “inspiration” and “hope” online, humans have found a number of solutions for outsmarting the boredom and loneliness of isolation. The trick, it seems, is to be more creative than coronavirus.

Let’s get your party-of-one started! Take a cue from these folks when it comes to keeping busy, spreading a message of hope or simply enjoying the downtime more.

  • YouTube: Love arts and culture? Subscribe to museum, zoo and aquarium channels. Shedd Aquarium lets you watch penguins tour its closed-to-the-public Chicago institution. Overall, YouTube is a great place to find animal- and arts-related content.
  • Twitch: Tired of Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix? Chat, interact and find—or create—your own entertainment at Twitch.tv. Name your passions and the site will point you to content and communities like Geeks Who Drink Pub Quizzes, etc.
  • Mashable: Techies. Science geeks. Do-gooders. Categories exist for all of them. Lists of apps, gadgets and even How-Tos are yours for the reading at Mashable.com. 
  • Twitter: A lack of actual sports can’t stop commentator Nick Heath, who “The N.Y. Times” said gives the mundane “the verve and dramatic flair of competitive sports.” Follow his hilarious tweets on dogs “racing,” humans shopping and more @NickHeathSport.
  • Facebook: Search “pandemic partners” plus your city to follow a group in your community. It may seem counter-intuitive but getting updates about strangers helping others in creative ways—near you—can be a mood and morale booster.

If upping your culture consumption in times like these is uplifting, finding ways to create and share your passions may be even more rewarding. So, keep reading!

New Rules, New Tools

A massive shift to online activity has made this a great time to connect with others or be heard. In the process, be willing to break a few rules or make up some of your own.

“Ultimately,” said Abi Olukeye, “your most creative ideas will come when you allow yourself to break the rules for work, parenting and life (as) you are used to. Embrace the calm, rethink everything and do what works for you and your family.”

Olukeye is founder and CEO of Raising Smart Girls, an online STEM-education resource. At a time when the entire world seems to have shifted to home-based learning and living, embracing her philosophy can mean being realistic about how the days ahead unfold. Or being more creative to get the most out of them.

Yet, using the right tools is key: “For working parents, the biggest challenge with working from home during the COVID-19 quarantine is simultaneously homeschooling your children and (meeting their individual needs). Thankfully, there are plenty of resources … to choose from as you redefine normal for your family.”

In less than normal times, help yourself and those around you to new creative tools. Parents and students can visit RaisingSmartGirls.com, edTED.com, cK12.org, Storybird.com, etc. Business types may want to check out sites like edX.org, Lifehack.org and SkillCrush.com.

Philanthropy Beats Paralysis

In times of crisis, change comes knocking. Ask the more than 15 Million Americans formerly employed in the restaurant and hospitality industries who, Elva Ramirez reported for “Forbes,” were recently cut loose. Hillary Dixler Canavan, for Eater.com, said some restaurants won’t survive.

 

Still, restauranteurs are keeping busy. World Central Kitchen, founded by José Andrés, rolled out an initiative to provide meals to the underserved and first responders: #ChefsForAmerica. In the southwest, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Gran Reserva Silvana chef owner Salcido Esparza has self-quarantined but is still feeding her neighbors.

A Phoenix ABC affiliate reported that, although Esparza’s area restaurants are now closed to the public, she has been running a free-meal-delivery service with help from other chef volunteers. Community members have donated funds in a show of mutual support. Could this be a way for affected industries and ailing communities to survive together?

In an op-ed piece run in “The N.Y. Times,” Chef Andrés said he thinks it might.

Go Big—Even From Home!

New ways to inspire one another are limitless. To test this theory, go to Facebook for a glimpse at 16 members of the Jerusalem Street Orchestra playing Mozart while individually quarantined. Their March 23, 2020, in-sync performance was on point.

Being part of something big and meaningful can even be therapeutic and there are ways to advocate from a distance. In my own bid to stay busy—stuck at home with less to do—I noticed Postcards To Voters was in the midst of a campaign. What better time to write out a few lines meant to encourage fellow voters? None, I thought.

I chose the handwritten, artful route. What about you? How are you coping amid coronavirus? What human initiatives or actions have surprised you? Are you feeling more creative? If so, what are you doing about it? Tell our [email protected].

 

Chase that Digital Unicorn!

Like what you just read? Follow these select source links:

Andrés, José. “We Have a Food Crisis Unfolding Out of Sight: America Has Fed Millions Through Disasters Before. Mobilize Restaurant Workers Now” (March 22, 2020). In Opinion, NewYorkTimes.com. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/opinion/restaurants-coronavirus-food-aid.html

Canavan, Hillary Dixler. “Restaurants Are Fucked—Unless They Get a Bailout: America’s Restaurant Industry Has Never Seen a Crisis on This Scale Before” (March 16, 2020). Eater.com. https://www.eater.com/2020/3/16/21182291/restaurants-wont-survive-coronavirus-pandemic-without-bail-out

Lim, Samantha May. Jerusalem Street Orchestra: “Serenade No. 13 for Strings in G Major” (March 23, 2020). Facebook.com. https://www.eater.com/2020/3/16/21182291/restaurants-wont-survive-coronavirus-pandemic-without-bail-out

Ramirez, Elva. “The Restaurant Industry Needs a Coronavirus Bailout. Will They Get It?” (March 19, 2020). In Lifestyle, Forbes.com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/elvaramirez/2020/03/19/the-restaurant-industry-needs-a-coronavirus-bailout-will-they-get-it/#73920a636801

Waltz, Adam. “Valley Chef in Self-Quarantine Still Finding Ways to Help the Community” (March 27, 2020). In Central Phoenix News, ABC15.com. https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/valley-chef-in-self-quarantine-still-finding-ways-to-help-the-community

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