One of my biggest accomplishments this week was knowing that I made some of you laugh out loud yesterday with my Boyz II Men, "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye," tribute in honor of my all-time favorite ice cream brand, Three Twins, who announced they are closing their doors due to the coronoavirus. No, it's not just about the ice cream. It is about knowing just how devastating the coronavirus has been to small businesses, to families, and to individuals all over the world, and to keep having our "normal" taken away.
Yet, as a result of vulnerably sharing that post... many of you responded and understood exactly how I felt. By sharing that video, I was blessed with community and connection, and the so important reminder that WE ARE NOT ALONE. The comments people left on my post were both hilarious and devastating, but most importantly, comforting. The aftermath of that post was surprise deliveries of ice cream at my doorstep and endless messages from friends willing to buy some and store it for me. Even the founder of Three Twins, Neal Gottlieb, commented on my post and wrote, "Oh wow. This is amazing. Thanks for the love from the guy that signs the back of every pint." Then he continued to give me a PRO TIP that they sold the final tens of thousands of pints to Grocery Outlet, and it will be sold at a much discounted price!
One silly TikTok video over ice cream... brought me so much community and connection. And I am so grateful.
Our first day of shelter-in-place in Marin, California began on March 13th, 2020, and now it is April 19th, 2020. It's been 38 days for us at home (some of you even longer!) all *mourning normalcy* together. The waves of emotions are so real. Which is again, why, I keep talking about ice cream, because something "little" like that made me cry. Clearly, I am very fragile these days. But I keep reminding myself to look for the "why." The why this happened so that I can be a different person. A better person. A more grateful person.
I'd like to share with you 38 lessons I've learned so far that have helped me during this time.
Connect By Sharing
1. You are not alone in your struggles or how you feel.
2. But you will be alone if you don't share your feelings.
3. Zoom or Facetime with friends and family. Talk to someone. Create interactions. Even my mom figured out how to have a "grandma zoom chat" yesterday - cutest thing ever!
4. Start a coronavirus journal and document something about your day, or make it a family journal -like my sister created for her husband and daughters - where everyone takes turns writing what they want to.
5. If social media is your thing, be vulnerable, be open, and just share honestly. It will speak to someone and it will be healing for everyone.
Join a Challenge
6. Choose something that you are genuinely excited about that enhances your life. For me, I chose to figure out how to teach online because dance, fitness, and yoga is how I breathe and it is how I heal.
7. Recruit some friends to keep you accountable, i.e my girlfriends and I do a sleep challenge to remind each other it is time to go to bed.
8. Start a book, puzzle, project, or enroll in an online course on a subject you've always wanted to learn. Work on your garden. Cook new recipes. Challenge yourself in a new way. Binge watch a show.
9. Post a photo of your life each day on social media to remember this period of time, like the 10 Day "Photo of Your Life" many of you are doing on Facebook. Or if you have zero desire to join a challenge, don't. And that's perfectly fine.
10. If you are working from home, make sure you are drawing boundaries and not over-working.
11. Set times in your day where you put your phone and email completely aside.
12. Say yes when your kids ask you to play with them even if there are consequences, i.e. I sent out this post a day later then planned to play Super Mario Brothers with my girls.
13. If you have a meeting on the phone for work, take it outside and go for a walk at the same time. It's ok to multitask and get some fresh air.
14. This is a great time to give our kids a real chance to build independence.
15. Teach them how to manage their schoolwork and schedules with minimal check-ins by making checklists / setting alarms / writing out their schedule.
16. When they (or you - seriously why can't I keep track of schedules!) miss a meeting, forgive and try a new strategy to remember next time. Honestly, this is a rare time where missing a class online is forgivable and the consequences are minimal. The upside? A self-sufficient child.
17. Accept screen time can be positive and enriching, and kids should be using technology more.
18. More chores. With the extra time, our kids can help out so much more around the house, and this is the time to integrate chores into their daily routine. We can all use that extra help.
19. Donate to something personal to you, a local restaurant, small business, or maybe an individual. Thank you to those of you who danced this past Wednesday and helped to raise $600 for Dine11Marin!
20. Use your creativity to help the world. Helping can be sewing a mask, helping can be using sidewalk chalk to write positive messages, helping can be making someone laugh (i.e. recording embarrassing TikTok videos).
21. Start a conversation with your neighbor. I did, and the next thing I knew, she started sharing paper towels and cookies!
22. Surprise someone with a delivery. It's so easy now with Amazon, Doordash, Uber Eats, etc. (as I benefitted from this week thanks to Karen, Ann, Lisa, Cindy, and Steve).
23. Read someone's social media post and leave a comment to know that you thought of them. Seems little but it goes a long way. Another celebrity moment for me? I posted the video of my newest choreography to "Wild Youngster" by Nez & Schoolboy Q on my Instagram @StopDropAndDanceOfficial, and Nez actually commented on the video, then continued to share my post on his own IG story! What an honor!
Marie Kondo Your Life
24. Conquer one small step at a time, i.e. a drawer vs. an entire room. I started with my daughter's clothes, then their toys, then recently got through their bathroom. Woohoo! 10% of the house done.
25. Keep what "sparks joy" and donate or toss the rest. If you don't know what that means, this is a great time to watch "Tidying Up" on Netflix.
26. Less is more. LESS IS MORE.
27. Journal and reflect on how this shelter-in-place has changed your life. This is for you. Really, what has improved? What have you learned? What do you do differently?
28. What are the silver linings you want to keep in your life when "normal" is restored? Your life "after" the coronavirus should NOT look the same as it was before. It should be better.
29. Celebrate someone's birthday a little differently, like eating dinner together virtually, organizing a "distance gathering," or dancing together - like we did for Ann, Ali, Susan, and Steph this week on Zoom!
30. Listen to less sad news, and find more good news, like John Krasinski created on Youtube.
31. Movement is healing. Dance with us! Or try a totally new class/teacher/studio! There are so many great online offerings to take such as Marin Power Yoga's free classes.
32. Feel the sun. Go on a hike. Let nature recharge you. Take your kids out on their bikes!
33. Hug a tree, like my friend Angela, since we can't hug people.
Take The Pressure Off
34. Grow your hair out. Or shave your head like my husband is on the verge of doing.
35. Embrace those white or grey hairs. Go au naturel.
36. Give your kids manicures and pedicures when it's time to trim those nails (don't forget about yourself). This week my girls even got to put stickers, glitter, and jewels on their nails!
37. Wear your comfy robe all day if you want to. Wear your lounge pants to the grocery store even. Whatever. You're wearing a face mask.
38. Finally, I am a food-lover, so... bake those cookies and eat them. Or eat those cookies someone else made for you. In my case, I'm eating my Three Twins ice cream. 100%.
We all handle change differently. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have our tolerances and our tipping points. We all think and work and play differently.
But we are all the same too. We need connection. We need touch. We need hope. We need love.
Continue to stay home, stay healthy, and stay safe. But keep reaching out - if not for yourself, for someone else. We are in this together.