Monthly Archives: March 2020

Enjoy Your Isolation! Seriously!

It’s easy to focus on what we’re not allowed to do right now. Concerts and sporting events have been cancelled. Kids are missing out on birthday parties. Weddings are being postponed. It’s a little scary just to go to the grocery store.

But social distancing and staying at home doesn’t have to be a bad thing! I stay home most of the time, but even for me there’s suddenly a lot more time on my hands now that school is out. I’m going to do my best to enjoy it, and so can you.

1. Do That Thing You Always Wanted to Do – How many times have you said you were going to write a book? Or start a blog? Or learn to play that guitar you bought? There’s no better time than now, and we’re incredibly lucky that we have the internet to help us along.

2. Love on Your Pet – Our animals are probably thrilled about all this time with their humans! Teach your dog a new trick, brush your cat, or tame that bearded dragon! It’ll make them feel good, and it might just make you feel a little less anxious about what’s going on in the world.

3. Get Caught Up – Okay, so maybe this part isn’t quite as enjoyable for some. Personally, I really like having a clean house, but I don’t always have the time to make it happen. This is a great time to get caught up on all those laundry, dishes, and dusting!

4. Deep Cleaning – I really think this deserves a category of it’s own. Again, maybe not fun for everyone, but once you’ve organized that sock drawer you’ll never go back. Binge watch some Marie Kondo, and then start a stack of stuff to get rid of! (Just maybe hold onto those old t-shirts in case you can’t get any more toilet paper.)

5. Rebuild Your Relationship – We’re all stuck inside together, right? Dates at home can be just as romantic as going out, and they’re a lot cheaper! Have a candlelit dinner with some good music. Snuggle up on the couch and rewatch your favorite movie. There are plenty of possibilities!

6. Spend Time with Your Kids – Have you noticed how much time you’re saving by not having to pick them up from all their extracurriculars? Use that time to play board games, read books together, or have a family meeting. There are lots of museums and zoos offering free virtual tours, which could also be great to check out together.

7. Cooking – Have you always wanted to make bread from scratch? You’ve got the time, and you won’t have to go to the store!

8. Treat Yourself – Paint your toenails. Give yourself a facial. Tweeze your eyebrows. Take a long bath with a good book. You deserve some peace and relaxation, and you might as well get it in now.

9. Read! – Is your bookshelf groaning with volumes you haven’t touched? Are you longing to revisit the classics but never have time? It’s time to read! I’ll have a free book available each week for about the next month, and I know many other authors are doing the same thing.

10. Spread Love Without the Germs – You might be staying home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call, message, and videochat your friends and loved ones. Get connected and catch up!

Yes, things are different, but we don’t have to hate it. We can deal with this, and we’ll get through it! Don’t forget to wash your hands!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Let This Be a Lesson to Us

It’s difficult not to think about COVID-19 right now. Life is changing for us, and even though that change is only temporary it’s potentially huge. Kids are out of school, people are working from home (where they can), and we’re concerned about the supply chain. Since we don’t have a time machine to undo all this, I hope we at least use this crisis to learn a little.

1. Disaster Preparedness – I’ve heard plenty of PSA’s about disaster preparedness over the last few years. I always think it’s a great idea, but it leaves my mind soon afterwards. We can come up with all sorts of excuses (finances, time, storage space), but the reality is that we need to be ready in case something happens. Take this time to evaluate your emergency kit to make sure you and your family (and pets!) will be taken care of. No, you might not be able to stock up on much right now, but you can certainly make a list.

It’s not that bad, right?

2. Working from Home – There are far more companies who offer flexible schedules and work from home opportunities than there used to be, but I hope this time will show both employers and employees how much they can get done remotely. This could be extremely beneficial for all concerned, especially those with families. Which also brings to mind…

3. Corporate and School Sick Policy – All of a sudden it’s okay to call in at work, but we all know it wasn’t like that. You had to be on death’s door to call in. The company needed you, and they’d much rather you come in and spread your germs to customers and other employees than stay home in bed. Schools weren’t any better, offering perfect attendance contests and prizes that had ill children determined to get to school. Yes, there’s always a concern of people abusing the system, but we need to be a little smarter. Wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick, no matter if we’re worried about a pandemic or not!

4. Believing Everything You Read Online (and then sharing it!) – Right as the U.S. started to fear COVID-19, a Facebook post showing the back of a Lysol container began circulating. It had coronavirus circled on the back and claimed this disease was nothing new. When I saw it, I immediately went to the CDC’s website to check it out for myself. I think we all know the truth now (that COVID-19 is within a larger family of coronaviruses), but now misinformation in general continues to spread. This makes it impossible to know what to believe. I’m not just talking about social media here, either. If your news comes from a site that’s obviously slanted toward a religion or political party, then it’s biased.

5. We’re Not Superman – Here in the U.S., it’s easy to believe we aren’t vulnerable. We’ve been on top for a long time. We have good lives, especially compared to many other places in the world. But we’ve come to rely on those good times of abundance to such an extent that many people don’t know how to deal with the threat of it breaking down. I really think we need to evaluate our vulnerability and see what we could do to improve it.

I’m definitely not saying the pandemic is a good thing, but if we have to deal with it then we might as well learn. Some of these ‘extreme’ measures we’re putting into place might give us great benefits by becoming the norm, and if we don’t learn our lesson then we’re doomed to repeat it.

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My most recent short story, Immunization, is available free for a limited time on Amazon!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under Work, Work-at-Home Mom

New Free eBook is Live!

My latest short story is currently available through Kindle for free!  Immunization is a quick read that explores and pokes at some of our fears in this strange time as we try to find the balance between overreacting and not doing enough.  (This is purely for entertainment purposes, so please don’t take any of it too seriously.)  It’s free through the 22nd, so grab your copy and be sure to leave me a review!

You can also check out my other Amazon books while you’re there!  This is a great time to curl up and read!  Feel free to do your other online shopping through either of these links, as you’ll help this starving artist continue writing.

 

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