So what have you been doing during the quarantine? Have you learned 3 new languages, written the great American novel, are you working out every day and started teaching yoga online? No? Join the club. These are tough times and many folks are scared and depressed, so it is no wonder many are bingeing on “comfort foods” and Netflix all night. This becomes a problem as time goes on and we find we no longer fit into clothing that doesn’t have an elastic waistband. Now is the perfect time to try new foods, recipes, and lifestyle changes. Here are a list of options that will really help us to feel better physically and emotionally.

Enjoy Nature. Go outside every day. Sit in the sun at least for 5 minutes if you can.

Make music. Sing, play an instrument, learn an instrument. If you live alone this is the perfect time to sound bad as you discover how to play on your own. Making music outside is a way to connect to your neighbors.

Dance. No one is looking. Put on your favorite music and bust some moves. Work up a sweat. You do not have to look cool, in fact this is an opportunity to act goofy and laugh.

Laugh. Not just a chuckle like what you do while watching cat videos on youtube, but find something that tickles your funny bones and gets your eyes to tear and makes you snort. You can also engage in laughing meditation- just laugh out loud by yourself or go to for exercises to get you started.

Make art. Create something with your hands that involves contrast, color, textures. You can use paper and pencil or whatever you have around. Paper clips, magazines, junk mail, tape, glue can be arranged to express how you feel now or your hopes for the future. Make a card and send it to a loved one. If you just want to relax your mind and focus on something calming try the free Mandala Coloring Book (e-book download) by Mira Dessy. Here is one I made from her book:

Cook. it doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal. Dig out some old recipes or take advantage of the many cooking videos out there. Have your own “Iron Chef” challenge of making a tasty dish out of the odds and ends in your kitchen cabinets.

Here is a recipe for a healthy dish you might find comforting:

Chicken Vegetable Soup

An old fashioned favorite made easy, this soup is a standard for anyone who is experiencing problems with digestion or immunity. Soothing and comforting, it is a good way to get the vitamin A precursor, beta carotene and real vitamin A, retinol (8114 IU per serving). The vegetables are cooked soft to be more easily digestible. The minerals in the vegetables and the proteins in the chicken become partly dissolved to be more available for absorption. If a person has trouble chewing or swallowing, the soup can be blended. You may use any vegetables you have on hand.

1 pound organic chicken legs with the skin (about large 2 legs)

4 carrots, cut in chunks

1 large onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic chopped or whole

one package (about 10 oz) frozen green beans

1 bunch parsley, chopped

2 quarts chicken broth or vegetable stock, or water

1 tsp dulse granules

Add Salt to taste after cooking.

Place all ingredients in a large soup pot, except the parsley, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and falling apart. Add the chopped parsley and salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Serves 6. Each serving contains 285 calories, 34 g protein, 11 g fat, 12 g carbohydrate and 4 g fiber.

Sleep. Go to bed a few hours after sundown and wake with the dawn. Make a game of not using bright lights or screens after dinner. Feel how your body can get in sync with the natural rhythms of the earth. Let yourself relax and do nothing as you end your day.

This is an opportunity to slow down and re-evaluate how you want to be in the world. Be gentle with yourself and others. And don’t forget to wash your hands.