Pandemic Survival Guide
By Paul Morrone, CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
This is certainly an article title I never thought I’d write, not seriously, at least. However, as we enter (what we hope to be) the last leg of our state shutdowns, were looking for more creative ways to kill time, stay sane and keep healthy now that there is nothing left to clean. I figured I’d share some creative ideas that we’ve been doing personally and some of the things our clients have shared with us that have helped them stay safe and entertained over the past few weeks.
- Learn a New Piece of Technology – The rate of change of the technology platforms we use today is incredible. With many of us now being forced to rely on these mediums to keep in touch with family and friends, spending some time to familiarize yourself with the robust capabilities of your tablet, cell phone, computer or television may be a worthwhile investment. For those that aren’t terribly technically inclined, it’s a great reason to connect with a child, grandchild, niece or nephew who may be willing to share some of their technological expertise with you.
- Host a Virtual Event – Services like FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc. have been booming these past few weeks as people look to connect with friends and loved ones without the physical presence that could put them in harm’s way. We recently held a virtual birthday party for my mom’s 60th birthday which involved our entire extended family. Very cool, and quite easy to coordinate with everyone stuck inside. With holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day occurring this time of year, hosting a virtual holiday party with family is a fun and safe way to stay in touch. My friends and I have even been doing periodic virtual happy hours, which always leads to a good laugh as the kids often commandeer our phones or tables and are not shy to provide some live entertainment.
- Take up a New Hobby – This may be more difficult than it sounds, but being confined to home with lots of extra free time creates a unique opportunity to experiment with some new activities. I’ve talked to some who have made scrapbooks for their children or grandchildren, others who have started woodworking, while others knit, paint, or do pottery. If you like working with your hands, it is a great time to learn how to do some basic automotive maintenance, including oil changes and brake fluid flushes – both easy and requiring minimal equipment.
- Do a Puzzle – Sometimes the classics just can’t be beat. Puzzles are great time killer, but one that may or may not challenge even the strongest of relationships. If you’re really a masochist, you can try the 1,000 piece, micro-sized, all white jigsaw puzzle. It even comes with a warning saying ‘Don’t buy this if you are a beginner.’ I’ll stick to the basics, but if anyone attempts this, I’d love to hear how it goes! If white isn’t your color, they also make it in black.
- Cook Creatively – We’re all guilty of getting stuck into a groove with the food we eat. Most of the time it is simply out of convenience as it’s easy to make the same things over and over again. With some free time on our hands, we now have an opportunity to look up some new recipes and experiment by making some of those delicious dishes that you are used to getting at your favorite restaurant. While I don’t claim to be a top-notch chef by any stretch of the imagination, I have made some knock-your-socks off pasta dishes out of one of my favorite cookbooks called ‘The Geometry of Pasta,’ which I highly recommend for those lovers of all things pasta. Another favorite of mine – chicken cutlets (yes, that’s my fine work you see in the picture). They are just so versatile and most importantly delicious!
- Start a New Series – There is plenty of binge worthy content on TV these days, add in the shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime TV, and Apple TV and you could stay on your couch for the rest of 2020 (which we don’t recommend!). The latest craze has been Tiger King (watched by over 65 MILLION people), but this is a great time to catch up on some of the classics that you may have missed out on. Any sports fan will appreciate the Michael Jordan/Chicago Bulls documentary ‘The Last Dance.’ Some that I recommend are: The Sopranos (HBO is sharing much of its content for free during quarantine), The Americans (available on Prime), Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones or Homeland.
- Get Outside! Fresh air is the best cure for cabin fever. Many people that I’ve talked to have been walking more than ever, going on hikes or getting out to the golf course. Some have even started running again in hopes of coming out of this whole thing stronger than when it began.