You shelter in place, then you evacuate your shelter. Gyms close, so you exercise outdoors. The air outdoors becomes hazardous and you venture back to a yoga mat in a cramped corner of the bedroom with a Zoom class. The power goes out and the internet is down, so a Zoom class is not an option and you do the (still very effective) jumping jacks, sit-ups and push-ups that you remember from 7th grade. Humans are incredibly adaptable and only those who can continue to stay flexible and “in the solution” are going to maintain sanity and possibly even thrive under the awesome stress of 2020.
Look at masks as an example of how we adapt: we went from uncomfortable N95 and flimsy baby blue paper masks to fashion forward and workout-friendly fabrics in a matter of weeks. If only we tackled every challenge with the efficiency of matching our masks to our outfits.
Extreme situations cause us to look at everything with fresh eyes and that includes our organizing systems. If you used to commute to work but now you work from home, your car will probably serve you much differently than it did. You may no longer have to organize the contents of a mobile make-up counter, breakfast bar and file system in your vehicle and can empty it out and reassess.
If you had to evacuate due to the recent fires, and maybe it is not the first time for many of you, what you decide to pack and take with you might have changed since 2017 or 2018. I hope your evacuation plan and packing lists have become more refined over the years. We are all continuing to adapt and refine our approach to disaster preparedness. For the latest recommendations on disaster preparedness, go to www.ready.gov.
The calamities of 2020 have had a big impact on our mental health and experts emphasize the importance of hobbies to occupy our time. But where doctors were recommending outdoor exercise to relieve stress, they are now recommending indoor activities due to air quality. Winter is going to be here eventually anyway, which will also limit what we can do outdoors, so start planning how you’re going to spend all that extra time at home. Order your wintertime jigsaw puzzles now as there may be a shortage again this holiday season. Get your crafting, knitting or other art supplies organized and set up an area of the house so that the family can sit down and work on something whenever there is a creative urge or a need to be distracted from the daily news.
Organization and creativity-wise, it’s sometimes better to leave supplies for current projects out and accessible than to worry too much about putting everything away at the end of each hobby session or day. The March to May shelter in place was one of those times. The August fires were one of those times. The weird day that looked like twilight on Mars was one of those times. And there will probably be a few more “one of those times” before the year is over. You don’t want to wake up from a bad dream at 2am and have to haul out all of your crafting supplies if you feel like distracting yourself with a little collaging or water coloring.
The pandemic, which has forced us to stay home and has limited socializing, has also made much of the content of our closets obsolete. The prediction is that fashion isn’t coming back anytime soon. Companies like Vuori, out of San Diego, are thriving because they offer flattering, luxe-feeling comfort wear. Nordstrom looked completely out of step last week with their ridiculous recommendation that skinny jeans are an essential clothing item for autumn, along with a “bold bag.” I think a lot of people are waking up and smelling the coffee (through the smog) and realize that nobody is dressing up for anything at the moment and probably won’t be until well into 2021. Elastic waist pants and a meek bag will be fine.