True confession:  When the concept of social distancing first reared its head, I was happy.  I have a book due at the end of the month, and I’m behind. Being forced to stay home for 14 days means I might actually make progress on this story.

But for those of you who aren’t on deadline, or who aren’t introverts cheering over the idea of limiting your social interaction, the next few weeks are going to be difficult.  And, while there have been tons of memes and articles, featuring suggestions for passing the time, none of those lists contained MY suggestions.  Since I like to pretend the world is waiting with bated breath for my input, I’ve compiled some tips as well.

Therefore, without further ado, here are Barb’s 15 Ideas for Having Fun While Social Distancing (with bonus memes!)

1. Embrace #CocktailFriday.  #CocktailFriday began on Twitter many years ago when writers would toast one another with their drink of choice on Friday evening.  (Largely because we’re introverts and drinking with Twitter friends was better than drinking alone.)  Now it’s a terrific way of staying in touch with friends.  Start a Video Chat or a Text Loop this Friday and have your own happy hour.

2. Read a Book.  In fact, read lots of books.  Reading is good for you.

3. Support the economy by online shopping.  As soon as I finish this, I’m doing my part by buying a pair of high waisted jeans. (Yes, Tattoo, I am buying Mom Jeans.)  However, online shopping doesn’t just have to focus on the big stores.  You can also help your local, small businesses.  For example, I’m also buying a gift certificate to our favorite ice cream parlor to use later this spring.  Why not plan ahead by buying a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant?

4. Go for a walk.  I know, everyone is telling you that.  Take the hint and move.

5. Break out the vinyl and have a throwback music day.  Or use Spotify if you aren’t nerds like us and still have your stereo from 1989.  A little hair rock will hit the spot.  Bonus points if you dance in your kitchen or sing into your hairbrush.

6. Build a puzzle.  You can buy one online at Barnes & Noble and have it delivered. (Or use their buy online, pick up in store program.  Saves a local store and you have limited contact with humanity. This works for books too.)

7. Sign up for one of those Great Courses Lectures.  You know, the thing you always thought sounded interesting, but never really had the time to do?  Now you have time.

8. Do the thing your spouse has been asking you to do since 2018. 

9. Organize your cupboards.  Declutter the house.

10. Build a paper model.  Okay, this one was from Captain Pete.  But paper crafts are cool.  You can teach the kids how to make origami flowers.

11. Hold a Family Bingo Tournament.  (You’ll kill a good couple of hours making the game boards and pieces!)  Or a Family Game-a-Thon where you track who has won the most games.  Promise them a visit to the bookstore for a prize.  (Because reading.)  Or, if your kid is super active, come up with a bunch of those Win It In a Minute Games.

12. Nap.  It’s awesome.  Right up there with Meditating.

13. Write letters to your friends.  It’ll be like little surprise in the mail for them and bring back a cool, old fashioned trend.  Don’t like to write?  Try another throwback activity – call your friends on the phone and chat.

14. Play 60 minutes of silence with your spouse.  See who cracks first.  Loser has to do dishes.

15. Above all, heed the warnings.  This is not a drill.  While most of us won’t get super sick from Covid-19, 20% of the population will.  Do not be cavalier about other people’s health!  If your state government tells you to stay home, STAY HOME.  While you’re at it, limit your time on social media and news channels.  It’s important to stay informed, but too much news will send your anxiety into overdrive.  STAY SAFE AND WASH YOUR HANDS!

Thanks to the anonymous meme makers for the laugh.  And I didn’t say what book you should read, but if you need a suggestion, The Suburbs Have Secrets is available at all the online bookstores.

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