Eliot’s Cures for Pandemic Cabin Fever

Learn to talk with your pet.

If you are fortunate enough to be confined with a canine, spend time learning some of your dog’s vocabulary. Dogs are constantly expressing themselves, with their tails, mouth, ears and posture. What do those lifted paws mean? Did you know your furry buddy’s ears have several positions, each conveying something? There are a surprising number of identified moods, requests, and exclamations communicated by canines. Cat people, take your best shot, but we all know cats are more introspective—kind of like communicating with the Sphinx.

Start a pandemic diary.

Hit the pause button and record your experience during these pandemic weeks. This too will pass, but such unprecedented experiences may be worth remembering for posterity. Ultimately a diary is a thinking tool–and in taking the time to more deliberately chronicle your experience you may discover some interesting lessons about yourself and your household. If you need a catalyst to ignite your effort, take a look at some famous diaries—Samuel Pepys secret 17th century diary, Lewis and Clark’s journals, or even the wrenching record written by Robert Scott as he suffered slow death in Antarctica or Anne Franke’s impossibly hopeful account written from her wartime hiding place.

Read, read, read.

Turn off the television and streaming devices and join with the more thought-engaging world of novels. Try something off your usual list to mix it up (maybe even discover that literary mysteries can be as fulfilling as the best of mainstream novels). You can’t travel far in real time right now so transport yourself to the world inside a novel. Experiences in foreign lands are not beyond your reach even while in quarantine.

Draw a family tree.

Where was your DNA a century ago? Two hundred years ago? Write it down. Try your hand at a tree or chart and challenge yourself to go back at least four generations. Remarkable genealogical tools are available online. Go discover your 19th century relatives! Get their vital statistics but then do what I do with my own ancestors and piece together the stories of their lives.

Use your hands.

Try something creative that is normally beyond your scope. Perhaps pen and ink drawing? Calligraphy? Watercolors? Maybe, if you have the space and tools, a little carpentry or some new flower beds? All these stay at home weekends should make for some fantastic summer gardens.