Coping Strategies

I’m amusing myself in isolation by setting up little challenges. There’s the one I think of as “menu Tetris,” in which I plan meals based on what I have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, prioritizing ingredients or cooked foods that are likely to go bad first and arranging meals to maintain some kind of nutritional balance. Today I’m going to use one of my last garlic cloves and my last fresh tomato, along with some shrimp from the freezer and some olive oil to make something to toss with pasta. I wish I had some fresh basil, but my plant died during the winter (even though I kept it indoors). I’ll have to settle for fresh parsley.

I’m trying to ration my online time, so I’m using it as a reward for completing other tasks. I did a big disinfecting wipe-down of frequently touched surfaces, so I got to check Twitter.

I’m making it a point to exercise daily, preferably outdoors. My morning walk is really helping my sanity. I’m lucky to live in a spread-out area with good walking paths, most of them waterside. It may just be my imagination, but the air feels fresher right now with fewer cars on the roads.

I’m also trying to spend a lot of time with music, both listening and performing. The classical radio station has become my soundtrack. I make sure I’m up and going before the March of the Day in the morning, and I listen while I eat breakfast. I may turn it off during the rest of the day, depending on what kind of work I’m doing, but then they play entire concerts in the evenings. Monday night is usually some local symphony, Tuesdays are the New York Philharmonic (last night they played Rachmaninoff’s second symphony), Wednesdays are the Chicago Symphony (tonight they’re doing Mozart’s Requiem, so I’ll have to listen and resist singing along. I do have the sheet music), Thursdays are the Pittsburgh Symphony, and I think Fridays are Los Angeles, but I seldom listen to that. I’m not watching all that much stuff, either TV or movies. The music makes a good soundtrack for reading, doing work-related stuff, goofing around online, or knitting/sewing.

I don’t actually have a knitting project going at the moment. Instead, I’m adding beads to the knitted bedspread I made a few years ago. It’s a lace pattern for airflow, and is what I use for the summer. Now I’m adding beads to it for extra weight, since the weighted blanket I have (and love) is way too hot for warm weather. It’s fairly tedious work, so I have new respect for people who do lovely beadwork on clothing. It’s not going to be pretty, but it will live under the comforter during the day, so it won’t really be seen. I found a pound of beads on clearance, and though that doesn’t seem like it will add much, I can already feel a difference, and I’ve barely begun using up the beads. I’m focusing them all on the area around where I’ll be lying.

I’m trying to keep to some kind of schedule, more or less what my regular work schedule would be, but I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself to work. Reading also counts as “work” for me, so I’m catching up on that.

Anyone have any coping strategies they want to share?

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