how to make the most of a staycation

... or how to cope during the coronavirus #Stayathome orders.

Here are a few ideas to try to make the most of this time (Thank you to my friends Mona-Lisa and Meg of morselsandscraps for many of their ideas that are included here):

  1. STAY HOME as much as possible.  Minimize trips to grocery stores or any other essential places.
  2. Enjoy a virtual cocktail hour either weekly or bi-weekly where everyone is invited to share experiences, hopes and fears.
  3. Call and text family and friends often.  Have Zoom gatherings.
  4. Play games virtually.  One example is playing Hey Robot (the game isn’t available yet but you can use random words in a jar) using Alexa as seen here with Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey (at 22:20 on the video): Playing Alexa with Fallon and Fey.
  5. Watch local church services broadcast on YouTube or Zoom.  We’re watching our church services: Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna, Va.
  6. Do meditative walks.  Walk the labyrinth behind my church in Vienna.
  7. Get together with a few friends outdoors on a lawn, properly spaced. Bring your own drinks and food.
  8. Try to get out and walk in the neighborhood or in a park, keeping the required distance of six feet.
  9. Put 10 nouns in a bag, draw out three, and share them with another person, making a total of six words to work with.  Write a short story using the six words.
  10. Cook creative and healthy meals. Drink lots of water and kombucha.
  11. Continue to meditate daily.  My goal was to increase to 15-minute daily meditations beginning April 1. Here is a link for free meditations I found via Robin at Breezes at Dawn: Withdraw:
    1. Accepting this Moment Meditation Series by Davidji
  12. During these grim times, make sure to take time to laugh about something each and every day.
  13. Set up a home retreat.  I got this also from Robin at Breezes at Dawn: Withdraw:
    1. Creating a Home Retreat: Finding Freedom Wherever You Are (Tara Brach)
  14. Keep working on my travel blog, and keep dreaming of future travel destinations.
  15. Read a lot!  Current books in my pipeline for April and May:
    1. Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade (4/16/20) *****
    2. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (4/17/20) ****
    3. The Girl in the Photograph by Gabrielle Donnelly (4/25/20) ****
    4. Writing Abroad: A Guide for Travelers by Peter Chilson 4/27/20) ****
    5. The Spell of New Mexico, ed. by Tony Hillerman (5/10/20) ***
    6. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Stout (5/14/20) ****
    7. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (5/16/20) *****
    8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (5/17/20) *****
    9. The Brutal Language of Love: Stories by Alicia Erian
    10. Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long
    11. America Was Hard to Find by Kathleen Alcott
    12. Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
    13. News of the World by Paulette Jiles
    14. Hand-Drawn Maps: A Guide for Creatives by Helen Cann
    15. Walking Chicago by Ryan Ver Berkmoes
    16. Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose
  16. Watch shows and movies on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Our current favorites:
    1. Homeland
    2. Nashville
    3. Virgin River
    4. My Brilliant Friend
    5. Breeders
    6. The Crown
    7. Bonus Family
    8. This Is Us
    9. Trapped
    10. The Valhalla Murders
    11. World on Fire
    12. Ozark
    13. Mad Men
    14. A Place to Call Home
  17. Read books about staycations, staying at home, or doing nothing:
    1. This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick
    2. Adventures in Stillness: The Art of Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
    3. Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving by Celeste Headlee
  18. Donate to restaurants or buy take-out. Donate to World Central Kitchen, run by our beloved Chef José Andrés.  He founded WCK in 2010 to use the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis and beyond.
  19. Get out the musical instruments you have been meaning to practice, or spend time learning with any one of a billion instructional YouTube video skills you have been meaning to try, whether how to fix a leaky tap or how to cook something or create something, or to learn how to play the guitar! It is amazing what tools we have in YouTube!
  20. Watch high quality English language streams of reliable news on YouTube from Europe (Deutsche Well, France 23, BBC, Sky, and Euronews) as well as Canada/USA (CBC News Live, Democracy Now, PBS Newshour) and the Middle East (Al Jazeera).
  21. Make a list of all those chores large and small you have been meaning to get around to, and cross of one (at least) each day, so you feel like you accomplished something.
  22. Do a Kon-Mari cleanup of your home. Throw out everything that no longer brings you joy.
  23. Keep a diary of this challenging time, online or in a journal.  Make artistic journal spreads.
  24. Make up a fictional character and keep a diary in his/her voice.
  25. Start delving into your genealogy.
  26. Draw maps of your life, as inspired by CityLab’s article “Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown.”
  27. Watch Sir Patrick Stewart’s YouTube channel, as he reads a Shakespearean sonnet every day and posts himself reading aloud. No chatting, just a sonnet and a smile.
  28. Find at least one senior to check in on; a gift of homemade bread or treats can mean a lot to someone when you deliver it, keeping that social distance between you!
  29. Donate to animal shelters or the World Wildlife Fund.
  30. Take Coursera courses:
  31. Meg recommends streaming of Australian Ballet performances: Act 1 of “Sleeping Beauty.” She doesn’t know whether it’s available overseas:
  32. Read a poem every day in your inbox from
  33. Find inspiration from other bloggers and instagrammers.  Meg found one who took a red chair on his photographic expeditions as a focal point, and she’s gone walking with her mother’s eggbeater; a blue and white striped milk jug; a brace of paintbrushes; a small box that contained the “thank you for having me” gift. Just when I decided enough was enough, I saw the potential of my umbrella with leopard spots, so it’s not over yet!
  34. Prepare a table for virtual coffee or cocktail hour with a friend: open an art book to a few paintings; put flowers on the table, make the same recipe or drink.
  35. Paint. Write stories. Write poetry. Dream. Make collages. Make origami. LOVE. 🙂

If you have any positive ways to get through this, I invite you to share: bits of humor, projects, what we can do to help others, how to keep our sanity, TV shows or movies to watch, books to read, exercises to do, etc.  Please feel free to express your emotions during this trying time as well.  I’m sure we can all relate to any and all emotions you are feeling.

I wish you all the best during this crisis.  Stay at home, and stay safe, healthy and always hopeful.