8 Things to Do During The Coronavirus Pandemic
With every news outlet covering the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard not to spend every free minute reading or watching about it. But staying up to date can easily turn into an obsession or create a state of panic. Some people are concerned about getting sick. Others are concerned about the stock market turmoil, their job security, and the upcoming recession.
At a certain point, continuing to read about Coronavirus won’t tell you anything new—it will just make you more anxious. Sometimes it’s best to turn off the news or stop scrolling through live updates and focus on what matters.
The Coronavirus quarantines we’re experiencing around the country are forcing everyone to put aside some of the things we regularly obsess about—like work or social standing—and focus on some of the things that really matter, like family and personal development.
A lot of people are worried about what will be with the market, the economy, and their jobs. With many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, they worry about how they’ll pay their monthly rent or mortgage—not to mention how they’ll cover their living expenses over the next few months. Here are 8 things to do during the coronavirus pandemic to help you navigate the next few weeks.
1. Enjoy Family Time
Many families don’t get to eat together at dinnertime, or anytime during the day. The once daily ritual of gathering around the table has often become non-existent in many fragmented households, where everyone is busy with their schedule and nobody’s schedules line up. With so many people off of work or working remotely and the kids home from school, chances are better for getting everyone together for lunch or dinner. And with commute times cut out of the picture, you may find yourself with a few extra hours of time every day. Put away the phones, take out a board or video game, play with your kids, put together a puzzle, and enjoy spending time with your family.
2. Continue Your Personal and Professional Development
Being stuck at home doesn’t have to be an excuse for not continuing your professional development. Now’s your chance to take some online courses and maybe even learn a new skill or a new language. If you’ve been hoping for a better job for awhile, this could be a time to get a new certification under your belt and beef up your resume. And if you’ve ever contemplated doing your own business, this is a great time to read articles, watch videos, and learn about the ins and outs of marketing and running a business. There are plenty of books and online courses that can help you with personal development and self growth topics too.
3. Start Practicing Good Health Habits
With our lives as busy as they are, so much of what we eat is on the go. These prepackaged snacks and fast food meals are not healthy. They can drain your energy, inject your body with chemicals, and cause weight problems. Now’s the time to make your own, healthier meals at home—like salads or blended smoothies with frozen fruit. And if your busy schedule prevented you from exercising before the Covid-19 outbreak, you’ll probably have more time now to exercise. Don’t feel comfortable heading out for a run? Open up YouTube and search for a dance class, yoga class, or other indoor workout. Ironically it may be the outbreak of a major disease that gets you on the fast track to better health.
4. Avoid Major Purchases
Now is not the time to buy a new appliance or flatscreen TV. It’s not the time to do a kitchen remodel. Nobody is really sure what will happen over the next few weeks or months, so it’s best to save your money for things that you will really need. Essentials might include hand soap, bathroom essentials, and food; even toilet paper if you can find it. Try to budget wisely by purchasing filling and healthy foods that won’t put a strain on your wallet—such as opting for grains and vegetables over premade meals and takeout. Watch the movies and read the books you already have at home, instead of signing up for a new streaming service. Be careful not to shop online for things you don’t need, just because you’re stuck at home.
5. Contact Your Credit Card Companies
Don’t be afraid to call your credit card companies and ask for a few key things that might help you out in the coming months. Perhaps they can offer you a credit line increase to give you some more leeway if your funds get too low. Perhaps they can give you a promotional interest rate—sometimes some of them even offer 0% for 12-18 months. Ask if you can get recent interest fees refunded from your previous statement, or have any annual fees waived. This might be a way to save more than a few hundred dollars.
6. Contact Your Mortgage Lender or Property Manager
Ask to skip a monthly mortgage payment or rent payment without penalty or interest. The majority of the lenders will have a special coronavirus debt relief option. In many states, evictions cannot be enforced until further notice, so your mortgage lender or property manager may be more inclined to give you a break this month. Even if you can afford to make these payments you should consider holding on to the money in case you end up needing the cash for essentials—so don’t be afraid to ask.
7. Get Refunded for Upcoming Trips
If you booked any trips in advance, there’s a good chance that the flights, hotel bookings, cruises, and vacation rentals such as AirbnB and HomeAway are refundable, so call to ask. It’s best to get them refunded to a credit card or back to your bank account, rather than saving them towards a future trip. For one, you might need the extra funds, and you also don’t know when people are going to be able to travel again.
8. Don’t Touch Your Retirement Accounts Yet
If you have a 401K or IRA, you might be tempted to empty it out for emergency funds. But don’t do it. In fact, if you’re still working remotely, you should even continue to invest in your retirement accounts—especially because the markets are dipping so low. With stock prices down as they are, every dollar you put into retirement has more purchasing power. Keep your long term goals in mind and keep saving. Eventually we will come out of this coronavirus quarantine and resume normal life, and you don’t want to be facing the next several decades having to rebuild your retirement portfolio.
A Final Word About How to Keep Going Through Coronavirus Pandemic times
We’re all in this together! Everybody needs to stay safe and avoid going out for anything other than essentials like food, medicine, and medical care. If you’re sick, or have any signs of sickness, you really should stay at home.
Just remember that nearly the whole world is going through the fear of the coronavirus. It’s probably the first time other than New Year’s Eve when everyone in every country has their mind on the exact same thing.
Don’t let fears about money and illness get you stressed out. Just enjoy your time at home, continue to develop yourself, spend your money wisely, continue to save, and don’t be afraid to ask for breaks.
Above all, Stay Safe and Healthy!
Was this helpful? How are you managing in these turbulent times of the coronavirus pandemic? Let me know in the comments below!