Things I’m Doing To Distract Myself (and a check in with you!)

Oof.

I mean, does anything more than that need to be said? OOF. We have gone from “ooh that’s a weird thing happening on the other side of the world” to “oh the first case in the US is 30 miles north of here” to “so lets stay home for a few weeks” within about a month, and that’s a bit weird.

It’s difficult to talk about anything else without mentioning the coronavirus but then it feels like there’s just so much talk out there and honestly, you reach a point of being oversaturated and that’s not good for anyone!

Since moving here, there has been so much news (especially from the UK – as someone who’s 8 hours behind, there was a point where you’d wake up, and wonder what new horrors Twitter was going to tell you) so I try to limit my news intake to the local and national evening news (I usually tune into Kiro 7 about half 5, and then that’s on for an hour, then the national news has half an hour at 6.30, then there’s more local news at 7 for 30 mins, but for the last week or two, that half hour has been specific to the coronavirus. This has been my habit since we moved here, I truly love local news here), I read the headlines on Apple News (and click through to any interesting sounding items from reputable sources), I check UK news on the BBC (old habits die hard) and finally, I have a subscription to the Seattle Times (I got it so I could have a Sunday paper with the comics section, but I really appreciate the work they’re doing)

Obviously, I don’t work, so there’s not a huge change in things for me (the only big change to my daily routine is that my gym is closed, but thankfully, we had a Peloton bike delivered last week as an anniversary present to ourselves) but Alex is now working from home, so I’ve had to shift into the dining room and I have the puppers with me because Jess keeps barking in the middle of calls, especially in the afternoons!

Charging up the BORK power

Here are a few things that I’ll be doing though, or at least, what I hope to do!

Physical Spring Cleaning

If you’re at home and aren’t going to be going anywhere, now’s the time to go through your closet and wear everything. There’s a reason you keep avoiding that pair of jeans when you’re picking out clothes, so try them on and see if you can wear them all day and are happy with them. The benefit if you’re working from home and won’t be leaving the house is that it’s easy to go and get changed if you find that those jeans cut off circulation when you sit down. Donate to a charity shop or sell them on Poshmark, Depop or just on good old Instagram Stories.

Go through your beauty stash as well – you know that little icon on the packaging that looks like an open pot? That’s how long the product can be open for (more details here). If you’re not sure how old something is, this website can work that out for you – also useful if you buy makeup from places like TK (TJ) Maxx and Marshalls.

A Digital Spring Clean

I just went through all of our physical paperwork (because it’s that time of year when you do your taxes in the US. Do not get me started on how terrible this is and how no one will help you understand this) and realised that there was so much stuff where I didn’t really need the physical copy (did I need to keep every receipt from the vets?) so I scanned literally everything, named it in a specific way to make things easy to find, put them in certain folders and stored them all in a shared OneDrive folder so Alex also has easy access.

I also found that our document scanner doesn’t just have wifi access so it can scan to your laptop via wifi, but it could also drop the documents directly into a folder, so I managed to set it up so it will put anything scanned straight into our shared folder ready to be renamed and sorted (We have the Fujitsu iX500 scanner which I really recommend! It’s about 5 or 6 years old now, but it works so well)

Unsubscribe From Emails

I guess this could be included in the digital spring clean, but with the deluge of emails you’ve probably had this week, it’s a good time to go through them all and unsubscribe from anything you don’t need. For me, that meant all the UK stuff (I mean, it’s nice that Deliveroo and a hairdressers that Alex went to once in Bristol are telling me about their hygiene but also I don’t need to be subscribed to them anymore)

Helping Small Businesses

Small businesses are going to be the hardest hit in these times – not just because people won’t be able to go and visit them and buy things (unless they change up how they work) but also because people are probably going to have less money to spend. Here are a few things we can do to help out our favourite restaurants and shops:

  • Share their details – many businesses are changing how they work (I know of a few places here that are switching to drive thru/delivery/pickup because the alternative is closing down completely. The first restaurant I heard that was doing this was Canlis, who have switched from fine dining to bagels/burgers/family meals (depending on the time of day) which is genius!) and people might not know about that, so share those companies who are doing something different
  • Order delivery directly – this might not be possible every time (weirdly, our local burger shop which is less than a mile from our house doesn’t deliver directly to us, but UberEats, etc, all do deliver.) but where you can, ordering directly will mean that the restaurant doesn’t have to pay any fees. (If you do have to use a delivery service if and the place is available on more than one service, then check out what that platform is doing – UberEats is waiving deliver fees for example)
  • Tip well – because those people are saving you from having to go out!
  • Order ahead – perhaps you know you’ll be going to a certain place for a meal in a few months time, or you know what you’re buying for a friends birthday this year, so you could buy the item now or buy gift cards (I know that’s a very standard suggestion right now, especially in terms of food places) and then feel smug that you’ve gotten one little bit of admin off your list.
    (Perhaps your favourite place doesn’t currently have gift cards – ask them to do it! They might not have thought about starting that scheme while all this is going on, but asking them lets them know they have customers who want to support them now)
  • Support their content – I feel like this is a bit of a controversial one, because I’ve seen so many tweets complaining about bloggers and influencers carrying on as normal, but that’s probably because this is how they make money, and they don’t know how else to deal with things. There’s a really fine line and it’s difficult to know where that is at the moment because let’s face it – none of us know what to do, and none of us have been in this situation before.
    As bloggers/influencers, we can do our part in telling the audience what’s going on – I’ve seen some people post an acknowledgement that yeah, it’s weird that they’re posting sponsored content, but it was created previously, it’s meeting a deadline, and that they’re grateful for the partnership and support.
    This goes for your favourite artists as well though – support what they’re doing, whether it’s by dropping likes and comments all around, tip them on whatever app they use (Ko-Fi, Paypal, Monzo, etc). I wrote this post on Bonjour, Blogger! ages ago about how to support bloggers easily, and I’m sure this can be tweaked for other sorts of content creators.

Boring Admin Things On The Blog

Now is the time to get those silly little things that you’ve put off for ages done. Want to get a new layout up? (I’ve done this on both Bonjour, Blogger! and my new Seattle blogger site, The Salon recently, and it’s been really satisfying to take a theme and tweak it until I’m happy with it. I was especially pleased with the one I used for The Salon since it’s a free theme that didn’t work well with some of the things I wanted on there.) Feel like your SEO needs some help (time to install Yoast and add some bits to it) or is it time to learn how to use a new (to you) platform like TikTok or Pinterest (that one’s on my list)

Reading!

All of the King County libraries are closed at the moment which means that any books I had out already were automatically extended until the end of April but all of their online stuff is still available which is awesome. I can check out lots of Kindle books and audiobooks for free! If you’re a member of your library (or if you’re not and it’s still open), check out what they are doing digitally – it was a total surprise to me to find all these new services and it’s already saved me so much money!

That’s just a few things we can all do but if you just want to chat, say hi!

p.s. wash your fingers, mingers.

 

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