E-Z Tips to Ease Uncertain Times

In these uncertain times life can be more up and down than a Duncan YoYo  — even these pelicans seem to be social distancing!   Here are some easy ideas to help you feel like you’re getting a piece of your “old” life back, and some new ideas to help you go forward.

MASKS:  I’m a fanatic about “accessories”.  Now instead of buying new shoes or purses, I’m honing in on “masks” as the most important accessory I own.

You can get masks in all shapes, sizes and colors.  A dear friend of mine churned out dozens of masks for those in need.  Uplifting themes and prints like:  cartoon cats and dogs, Washington Nationals, coffee beans (yeah, I got one of those!) and other assorted colors and patterns.  I saw a young lady in the store the other day, obviously a fashionista, sporting the coolest black mask with the letters CK emblazoned in rhinestones (hello Calvin Klein).  Others have sported leopard prints, beach scenes, Snoopy and palettes of popping colors. Instead of viewing masks as only a “must for safety,” get an assortment and have some fun with them. 

DINING OUT:  If you’ve been quarantined and places in your area are opening up, dip your toe in the water — gradually and safely.  I allow myself once a week to meet a friend (just one, no groups) at only outdoor dining restaurants and go out once a week for a drive-thru or carry out.

TIPS:  When dining outside and carrying out, I’ve noticed some folks are leaving meager tips or none at all!  If you’re fortunate enough to be able to dine out, please remember, your servers have probably been unemployed for months and are struggling.  They have to wear that mask ALL day with minimal breaks.  They deserve a generous tip.  Same with hair dressers and other businesses.

LIMIT PEOPLE IN YOUR CAR:  Meet your friend, rather than riding together.  If you must have another person in your car, you should wear a mask and your passenger should be in the BACKSEAT also wearing a mask.

HAIR SALONS:  Since they cut your hair when it’s wet, go with a wet head, eliminating the use of their hair washing facilities.  Patronize only those salons that require masks of their employees and customers.

GO OUT EARLY:  If you are going out to lunch, retail or grocery shopping, get there as soon as the establishment opens.  Many times this will ensure that the place will be fairly empty.  Weekends still tend to be twice as busy as weekdays, so when possible, avoid shopping on weekends.

NECK WARMERS:  Have some fun now by shopping for savvy masks especially for fall and winter. Every day there’s a new style on the market like the neck warmers that pull up for mask protection or dual purpose specialty scarfs that keep off the chill and also convert to masks.

GO SOLAR:  Brightly colored solar balls on stakes or strings of tiny solar lights will brighten up any garden, backyard, patio or deck.  It doesn’t get easier.  No outlets needed.  Just turn on the solar switch and place the solar balls or solar string lights in an area that gets at least 4 or 5 hours of sun.  Some solar balls even have rotating colors that instantly provide a beautiful light show at dusk.  Not only will they look fabulous in your garden now, but come winter when everything is drab and bare, care-free balls will cheer up the dreariest yard.  Be sure to place them near a window, so you can enjoy seeing their warm glow every night.  Easy to find online and in some retail stores.

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL OR WORK:  Pack lunch or snacks in festive, trendy lunch cooler bags.  Picking out fun, colorful prints for kids and even wrapping goodies in festive plastic wrap or colorful containers are a mood lifter for both kids and adults.  For school accessories for kids, don’t settle for the ho hum everyday plain backpacks and other items – look for their favorite colors, prints or logos and give them an everyday “wow” factor.

FRESH FLOWERS:  Cut fresh flowers and greenery from your own yard and put them in bud vases or small wall vases throughout your home. Mint, lavender and many flowers have a calming scent.

Add a small bouquet of cut mint or lavender near bathroom sinks for a soothing scent while washing your hands.  No backyard flowers?  Treat yourself to a bouquet at your local store.  Larger bouquets can be split into two or three so you can enjoy them in multiple rooms.  Give the split bouquets extra “oomph” by adding some cut greens from your backyard (ferns or anything green and leafy will work).

TREAT YOURSELF:   It’s the middle of the day and you need a happy boost.  Jump in the car and head to your nearest take-out or drive-thru that serves ice-cream every which way to sundae!   Or maybe you want a smoothie, iced coffee or other chilled drink on these hot summer days — whatever you are hankering for, the point is GO FOR IT!

ROCK YOUR WORLD:  Nothing can change a mood faster than music.  No matter what your music style, pump up the volume on your favorite music and dance like nobody’s watching (because nobody is)!   Cleaning out house, doing chores?  Don’t go slow and easy, lock in some high-test grooves.  Hendrix, Prince?  Maybe you need to bounce to the beat of old-school Beatles, Elvis or Beach Boys – or maybe some hard rockin’ AC/DC.  Go with positive, upbeat, fun music that makes you happy, making those crappy chores go a whole lot quicker!  Check out the “MUSIC” category for ideas to stream or listen to on your favorite devices.

READ:  There are plenty of uplifting and motivational books out there.  Charlie Wilson (Gap Band) has a wonderful, positive story of his rise and fall and his ultimate bounce back:  I Am Charlie Wilson.  Football fans and Christians will love reading Tony Dungy’s bestseller, Quiet Strength (read the review under the “BOOKS/General” category).

Get out of your world and into another time or place, with a good book.  Love mystery and suspense?  There’s tons to choose from (see mystery and thriller reviews under BOOKS/mystery category).

GETTING DEPRESSED WITH ALL THIS NEGATIVITY?  Stop watching the news for a few days, put the newspaper aside and get off of social media.  Remember: “negativity sells” – just say “NO”.  Instead watch upbeat or even mindless, silly shows to lift your mood or catch up on a classic movie.

TAKING SMALL STEPS to get back on track is important. If you are high risk and don’t feel comfortable leaving the house or not feeling well, by all means stay home.  If you go out, go with caution, obey your local rules, and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but others.

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