Stay Positive In Difficult Times

Stay Positive In Difficult Times

Garden, walk, play games, cook, look for the good in everything

Making Ripples

While our society remains disrupted in unprecedented ways that build uncertainty daily through our inescapable interconnectedness, there is reason to believe in hope. To live a good life for only one day is not a wasted life. To make a difference with that good life is no wasted effort. Remember the starfish that was thrown back into the sea despite dozens of its beached brethren that could never be saved? It mattered to the ones that were. But if you do not believe in hope, that’s OK too. Do the right thing regardless, and your positive ripples will spread.

Saving lives has probably never been this easy for masses of people worldwide. Most of us don’t need to march to war overseas, or donate millions, or perform a life-saving operation. No, we simply need to stay home as much as possible, and practice “social distancing.” There are plenty of well-written articles, recommendations and ongoing updates for how to effectively avoid spreading the virus, and it’s worth reading those. But what do we do when we’re up to date, staying home, bored out of our minds, or stressed beyond sanity?

The options are as numerous and diverse as there are people in this world. Everyone will have access to different resources in various situations, but here are some ideas. Get to know your neighbors and help them (from a safe distance). Call people you love. Schedule virtual hangouts with friends on platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Facebook. Drop off food or emergency supplies at Little Free Pantries near you. Listen for needs you may be in a position to meet.

Of course, taking care of yourself and your home is a top priority. As far as home entertainment, the limit is only our creativity. This is the age of online museum exhibits, virtual operas and theater performances. Watch movie marathons, play video games, binge a series on Netflix. Just make sure the content is uplifting you mentally, emotionally or spiritually — and not dragging you down. Comedies are a great choice! Indulge in a treat, practice arts & crafts, read a book or several, listen to a podcast, attend a religious service online, or do anything that helps you find peace in a pandemic. Why not get all your spring cleaning done and stay busy? This could be the opportunity to fix something that’s been broken for years, or improve the aesthetics of your space to make it feel more alive and welcoming.

Now is possibly the best time in many a generation to become a better cook or baker. We may need to apply creativity to make food stretch or combine unusual ingredients in “novel” ways. Keep in mind that this may be recorded in history as the only time our obese society was encouraged to be couch potatoes — and enjoy that family movie night with freshly baked cookies or popcorn. Did you know? Many snacks can be eaten with chopsticks to avoid touching the food — try it with crackers, chips and anything you dare! See who drops the fewest items and turn it into a family game — one the dog will probably love, too.

But remember that while sedentary activities are perfectly wonderful during a quarantine, our health is extremely important, especially now. So enjoy the brownies and video games without guilt for once, and then get outside away from people or crowds. Be active (and safe). Go hiking, bike the trail, get some gardening done, or try something new in the plethora of outdoor recreation options our natural state has to offer. This year may be your chance to take up a new hobby outdoors, such as birding or mushroom hunting.

The wildlife are not experiencing this pandemic and still appreciate your bird and nectar feeders, so don’t forget them. In this era of hoarding toilet paper, the used cardboard rolls make great feeders for squirrels and birds. Just roll them in peanut butter, then in birdseed, and place them near windows to observe your visitors.

Alternatively, you can try hunting for four-leaf clovers that may bring you luck! Mark out a patch of clover that’s roughly three by four feet. You have a good chance of finding one if you scan the clusters quickly in a visual sweep. I found one on St. Patrick’s Day by accident when I noticed my first spring beauty of the season. (Another great recreation option: learn more about our native wildflowers.)

Activities at home and outdoors can only get us part of the way to that goal of protecting our communities and families, though. Inner strength is worth cultivating in whatever ways inspire you. In the words of Winston Churchill during World War II: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at

Categories: Making Ripples