In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine period, many organizations and cultural institutions have stepped up and are making their content freely accessible online. There are so many fabulous resources available. Where do you even start? The Adults at Home series seeks to highlight some of the best resources for adults and seniors on a variety of topics.
This is a challenging time for all of us and we wanted to share some of the things we, the librarians who write the Adult at Home blog posts, have found to lift our spirits when we are down, or calm us when we are rattled. Perhaps they will also bring you comfort or joy.
Taking a Deep Dive
It is very soothing while working on the computer to open an extra window and watch fish swimming in the kelp forest, life in the coral reef, and drifting jellyfish. The The Monterey Bay Aquarium features live streaming webcams of sea otters, sharks, penguins, and other views of ocean life in the Aquarium.
Keeping a Journal
You’ve likely heard of bullet journaling, as it’s become so popular in recent years. I never felt like I had the time or patience to keep a journal that I actually wrote in every single day and I certainly don’t have the artistic ability or handwriting to create something as beautiful as what you often see online.
What I do love is LISTS. Not only are they a useful tool at work and in my personal life, but they can be fun and are so good for our mental health in times of high anxiety. Even if you don’t have a blank notebook, gather some paper and think up some prompts that will give you a chance to reflect or plan. Consider travel bucket lists, cherished memories, genre reading lists, top ten movies, favorite places to be in nature, items that bring you joy, and more.
Inspired by the 30-Day Song Challenge, I started with a music journal with lists like:
- Songs that make you happy/sad
- Songs that bring you back to specific moments in your life
- Songs from your childhood or from the year you were born
- Songs you can play on an instrument
- Songs that remind you of someone you love
Entries can be as introspective or spiritual as you like. The most important thing is that you enjoy the process. The more I enjoyed the process, the more I began embellishing my journal with color and little drawings, but don’t focus on what the journal would look like to others. This is for you!
To get get you going, read this article on bullet journaling for beginners and “impatient, unartistic people” for more ideas to make your journal all yours.
Hitting the Trail
What keeps me feeling positive during the pandemic is putting down my devices and spending a day on the trails taking in the springtime show that we are so lucky to have here in Marin County. I went for a hike near my home and it was both relaxing and reassuring to see the abundance of wildflowers in bloom and hear the riotous buzzing of bees and bursts of birdsong.
You don’t need your own garden to enjoy these jewels of nature. Choose a sunny trail and take time to pause and listen to the humming of insects and enjoy the fluttering of butterflies. Please resist the temptation to pick flowers. Take pictures instead, so you can identity mystery plants at home. Remember to stay away from poison oak and check yourself for ticks.
Here are some of my finds from the marvelous Yolanda Trail.
Joining the Nightly Howl
It’s great way to relieve tension and exercise your vocal cords while celebrating healthcare workers and first responders across the Bay Area.
It started in Italy with people singing on the balconies, but Hugh Kuhn of Mill Valley gave it a local twist. Kuhn had heard about the Italians singing opera from their balconies to celebrate healthcare workers and first responders, and to feel more socially connected. He wanted to create something uniquely Marin and since many of us hear coyotes howl each night, Kuhn decided Mill Valley should howl as well. The practice has spread! You can read all about it in the Marin IJ.
So at 8 pm every night, in honor of our healthcare and emergency service workers, howl with your neighbors. Spread the word. Join your neighbors – any way you can.
Listening to the Music
Much has been written about the power of music to uplift and to heal. Being able to hear and see musicians from around the world join together is both inspiring and moving—just what I need these days. If music moves you, and you haven’t yet discovered Playing for Change, a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, take a look and a listen.
Contributions from April, Linda, Natalie, Tom and Shereen