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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

Mr. Rogers

Hi.  Everybody doing ok?  I feel like I’ve gotten an email from every company I’ve ever given my email to this week regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.  I don’t say that lightly, but want to be mindful of what I am sharing with you as this is all pretty overwhelming.  I was planning on starting a gear and skill series this week, kicking it off with a post about the 10 essentials…but it didn’t feel right.   I’ll still write that post someday, but today I’m going to share some things that I have helped me feel more steady in a world that feels like it’s changing by the minute.  You’ve probably already read a bunch of these stories this week, but here are a few more ideas in case you need em!

Building A Morning Routine

My morning routine is pretty simple, but its amazing how hard it is to follow when stressful times arise.  It typically looks like this:

  1. wake up – DON’T LOOK AT PHONE
  2. slowly and mindfully make coffee, breathing in between each step
  3. sit for 10-15 minutes quietly reading a bible verse, praying and meditating
  4. Get dressed
  5. Look at phone
  6. Go to work

This week, I have wanted to skip steps #1, 3, 5, and 6 and rush #2 most days, but every day starts anew.   I started a morning routine in mid January along with some friends and pressure tested it in February with back to back family emergencies.  When difficult situations arose, I noticed that I felt more present, grounded and had an overall feeling of perspective instead of feeling like I was grasping for control of the situation.  If I keep this promise to myself each morning, I find that I am kinder, more productive, resilient and have less anxiety about the future.

Making a Daily Schedule

Many people are working from home right now or are home due to changes in school or employment.  The day can easily get away from you if your routine is disrupted or you don’t have a plan.  I have found that making a daily schedule helps.  I’m a schedule person.  Its not set in stone, but it’s a level up from a to-do list and keeps me focused.  It’s important to schedule rest, outdoor time, creative breaks and limit screen time too!  Having a schedule has helped me find time for healthy, stress relieving activities and resist the urge to stay tuned to the news all day.

Staying Connected

As a social extrovert, I’ve been learning to enjoy quiet solitude, but can get lonely really quick.   Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Google, social media and hollering to the neighbors down the street have all been great ways to help fight off those feelings of isolation while social distancing.   For me, its also a bit of a slippery slope with screen time use… Mine was up 29% last week, but I kind of expected that.  I made a couple new boundaries, deleted facebook from my phone and have been trying to do less automatic scrolling.  Instead, I’m trying to be more intentional, engage in conversations when I am online and use technologies that provide a face to face connection.  Ask your kids and friends what they are using to stay connected, or set up a zoom call with your hiking buddies.  We are very fortunate during this time to have so many communication tools in our hands.  Let’s use them, and don’t forget to call your friends, family and neighbors to check on them the old fashioned way too.

Going Outside (responsibly!)

My dog is thrilled with this new arrangement since we go on at least two walks a day.  The cover photo shows us wedged into one chair at church this morning.   There are a lot of thoughts and conversations in the outdoor community about going outside right now and each state and country are adjusting their guidelines as the situation unfolds.  It’s hard to change vacation plans, cancel a group hike or even a thru hike.  But social distancing and flattening the curve, to protect our citizens and healthcare professionals is the right thing to do and we can all walk though this together to help one another.

Staying home doesn’t mean you have to stay inside with all of your windows closed and curtains drawn.   By all means, go outside, but please do so responsibly and follow your state’s current guidelines.  You’ve probably heard this already, but please remember that anytime you visit a trailhead restroom or stop somewhere along the way to your hike, you could be putting both yourself and others at risk since this virus can spread when you are asymptomatic. Small, tourist/recreation communities are at higher risk because most do not have the medical infrastructure to support an outbreak in their community.  Staying local can help protect these areas and you might discover a new adventure spot in your own neighborhood!

Doing a Good Turn Daily

This is the tried and true Scout slogan, and really helps me shift my heart from worry and fear to a more positive direction.  There are plenty of ways to do a good turn.  In this crisis, that might mean giving to charity, buying a giftcard from a small business, picking up trash in your neighborhood, offering to go to the store for a senior or person with risk factors, listening more than talking in a conversation with a friend, serving your family with your time and talents if you are all stuck inside together or making something helpful for someone else.  Big shout out to my sister who sewed over 100 cloth face masks that are being requested by hospitals around the country to help with the PPE shortage.   It warms my heart to see all of the good that is coming out of this crisis and being a cheerful giver is one of the best things you can do for your heart and soul.  But you can only give away what you have.  So, make sure to find time to refill your own tank, so you have the energy to give back.

Final Thoughts and Resources

Before I go, here are a few other things that come to mind that I’ve done this week that have helped or brought me joy.

  1. Make breakfast everyday (making Pumpkin pancakes tomorrow!)
  2. Make a weekly menu/meal plan
  3. Attend Church online on Sundays with a dog in my lap
  4. Start the garden inside to get a jump on the growing season.  I broke a huge pot of dirt on my freshly mopped floor today, but watching little seeds sprout is so hopeful and encouraging!
  5. Join my Yoga/Fitness teacher friends’ Facebook live classes.  I find it so much more fun when the teacher is someone you know!
  6. Pick up trash in my neighborhood (using gloves, a grabber and a bag I can throw away)
  7. Follow a cleaning routine-this is not usually a fun task, but making a little habit out of cleaning high touch areas on a regular basis has given me peace of mind as half of my household is still working full time around lots of people everyday, helping the community get the supplies and services they need.

If you have time,  and want to dig into some more resources, here are a few reads from the week.  I hope you find them useful too!

Stay healthy, care for one another and feel free to leave a comment here or connect on the Wandering Pine Facebook page.   We’re in this together!






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