Embracing the quarantine

Hi, friends. Y’all doing OK? 

I know this has been a tough run of late. But we are all in this together. Except, you know, not, like, close together.

I’m not going to give you any great insight on how we are all gonna power through this. Because I’m no wiser than anyone else on the planet, and let’s be honest – the wisest people on the planet are all kinda figuring this out as we go. Because these are unprecedented times. But I did want to perhaps offer you some distraction action to get you through your quarantine.

So here is what I can give you: A few things you can do during this time to keep your sanity. Also, I will not remind you to wash your hands, because let’s be honest – if you haven’t gotten that message by now…

  • Bake bread. But not the traditional way. My aunt shared a way to cook bread in a slow cooker. I was skeptical at first, but after doing it, I am sold. A couple of hours in a slow cooker, a few minutes under a broiler and – BOOM! – delicious fresh bread. Recipe here:
  • Inventory your spices. If you are like me, you have a lot of spices. I had two shelves full of spices we have collected over the years. And fun fact – spices have expiration dates on them. I challenge you to go and assess yours and see just how up to date your marjoram and coriander are. And also to tell me what in the world marjoram and coriander are for.
  • Feed the birds. Obviously, if you have bird seed, make it plentiful for them. But if you are cleaning out your fridge or pantry and have some mushy tomatoes or stale crackers, share it with your winged buddies.
  • Find a podcast that is a delightful distraction from reality. Personally, I recommend Stuff You Should Know, a podcast that I have listened to for years. Among the topics you can explore – “Was there a real King Arthur,” “The amazing history of soda,” and “How pinball works.” Trust me – it’s the kind of distraction you need right now.
  • Scroll through your contacts. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Over the last few days, I’ve connected with buddies from high school and college, and enjoyed catching up with them beyond social media. There really is no substitute for one-on-one conversations.
  • Tune out. Not forever. But just on occasion. My wife and I sat watching morning news programs on Sunday and we both came to this realization – we cannot let this consume us. We will watch the evening news and stay informed, but sitting in front of a tv or, worse, in front of Twitter refreshing ad nauseam is not healthy. We spent our Sunday working in the yard, and it was a wonderful day. We don’t deny that Corona is out there. But we don’t have to spend every minute thinking about it. Control what we can control.
  • Say hi to your neighbors. We have been walking a good bit lately, just to get out of the house. And we have found a ton of neighbors out in their yards or walking dogs or riding bikes. We have loved stopping and chatting with folks and just shooting the breeze. We are all starved for personal interaction, so why not start with the folks who live in your neighborhood?
  • Take a class. There are a ton of higher education institutions offering free classes during this time. My wife is now enrolled in a class at Yale. Go be an Ivy Leaguer.

I know this is a tough time. None of us have it figured out. But the ironic beauty of it all is that is a great equalizer: We are all going through this together. Rich and poor, young and old. This is an equal opportunity disrailer. So rather than despair, embrace this time. Do some things you wouldn’t have normally done. And figure out if your marjoram is out of date.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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