Doing the Next Right Thing, Quarantine-Style

I’ve been interested in what other people have been doing to try to piece a life together during this crisis. Those first few head-spinning days I watched all of my fitness gurus switch from promotions for their gyms to offering free online programming. Restaurants immediately moved to promotions on Instagram and Facebook. My direct reports’ conversations turned to Shipt delivery dates, where to find toilet paper and how to entertain kids while they work. Of course, everything and everybody featured reports on how they are dealing with the virus, how hard it is to keep parents grounded and blame for just about anybody for the crisis we are in.

One of my favorite mantras is “Do the Next Right Thing”. When lots of things are coming at me at once and messages are conflicting, it helps me to focus on what is before me. I can’t tell the future any more than I can erase the past. But if I’m standing in an aisle in a grocery store during a pandemic, and I’m faced with the lucky circumstance of a full shelf of toilet paper, I can consider my choices. Is the next right thing to hoard the toilet paper in front of me? Or is it to take what I need, trust that this same circumstance will repeat itself in the future and know that this is a small thing in comparison to feeding my greedy impulses?

I know what the next right thing is in most cases. Sometimes it is to follow the instructions of people who know more than me. Sometimes it’s to let people meet their own consequences. Often it’s to consider a relationship over being right. And it’s always to be honest, be aware of my motives and take a few breaths if I need them. No harm has ever come from those actions.

In my current situation, the next right thing is to follow the instructions of those who know more than me. It means to be discerning over what I consume – food, media and conversation. When someone is afraid or sad, I try to offer support instead of telling them how to feel or to suppress their feelings. If I’m afraid or grieving, I focus on the next right thing in front of me and try to keep my head out of projecting my fate. I am trying to be more available to chat or talk on the phone and am favoring video chat so we all get to see other human faces. Essentially, I’m okay at the moment. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

The bigger challenge is finding the next right thing if boredom is my issue. So I’ll share some of my favorite things at the moment. There are so many things available at the moment that didn’t even exist two weeks ago. So, enjoy and please respond with whatever is interesting to you these days. Pick one of them and do it!

What I’m Reading:

I love the New York Times. This morning I read this lovely article about this elderly lesbian couple and the crises they have endured.

My current open novel is A Little Life. It’s really good, but I’ve been so distracted by other stuff that I am preferring light, short content. However, today on this stormy day, I hope to get back to it. Click here for the book review.

I bought a new cookbook on vegetarian cooking from Runner’s World. It’s definitely food for thought as I make my next grocery list. Avocadoes are definitely on there!

I’m reading Eating Well Magazine and the content on their website. It’s sort of weird to be reading last month’s magazine, and there is absolutely nothing on the coronavirus. Times have changed so quickly.

What I’m Listening To:

I’ve discovered Audm (another NYT product) and have been enjoying listening to long-form journalism on a variety of topics. One of my favorites was a Rolling Stone story about a woman trying to get her Boomer parents to social distance (Why Don’t More Boomers Care About Coronavirus? E.J. Dickson). Since then, a number of people have described to me their own adventures with their disobedient parents.

One of my favorite podcasts is Left, Right and Center. The balanced opinions on the show help me understand other views and, generally, there are times I see myself nodding in agreement with an alternative view. It also helps me understand that journalists are people with varied experiences, opinions and charms. That is the truth whether you are on the left, right or center.

Other podcasts I listen to every day are The Daily from the NYT and NPR Politics Podcast. I love Nocturne for unusual and well-written storytelling, Michigan Runner Girl for fitness and local running tips and On the Media for commentary on how the media is covering the current circus.

Brene Brown just launched her own podcast called Unlocking Us. Beware those of you who don’t like talking about feelings or like living in denial of reality. Her first one on FFTs (Fucking First Times) helps us walk through our first time in a pandemic as well whatever new things we are learning during this time.

What I’m Watching:

I binge-watched the first season of Virgin River on Netflix. I cannot wait for the next season!

I’m watching celebrity videos on Instagram. They are all casual, homemade and quite charming. I love seeing their spouses and grandkids. And, of course, they are the celebrities of my time. I love Goldie Hawn, Alec Baldwin, Sharon Stone and Keith Urban. Urban’s Monday night concerts are adorable with Nicole Kidman dancing around like a star-struck teenager.

What I’m doing:

I’m exercising to Daily Burn exercise videos, practicing with Yoga with Adriene yoga videos and meditating to the Calm app and 10% Happier content. I just signed up for a two-week trial for MyYogaWorks. A friend says it’s great. As an FYI, the Daily Burn has a 60-day free trial going on right now. No loss if you just use it during this time!

I’m also considering content from my local gym (the RAC) that has come online and yoga and fitness classes from my friend and life-long trainer, Coach Sprenkel. I just have to #getoffmyass! Coach Sprenkel has free yoga classes on Facebook on Sunday, other content on her blog and workouts on Instagram and YouTube. It’s free. Check her out!

I’m frequenting as many small businesses as I can for other supplies, but Michigan is under a strict quarantine. I noticed today that my favorite local grocery, the Sawyer Garden Center has made curbside pickup available. I’ll choose them over anywhere else at the moment. I want them to be in business when this is all over. I’m also eating take-out from Caffe Tosi whenever I get the itch. Check out their Facebook or Instagram accounts for the menu. This weekend it’s Chicago Dogs!!

2 Comments on “Doing the Next Right Thing, Quarantine-Style

  1. Inspiration for a rainy Monday. Had not heard of the Netflix series, so will check that out. Reading up a storm. Finally got to The Goldfinch. Right now reading The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes. Enjoying this pick by my book club. Thanks for the thoughtful writing. You life me up!

    • I’m so glad! Thank you so much for reading. I’ll check out your reading recommendations. When I’m stressed I don’t have much of an attention span but maybe I need to practice!

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