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9 Ways to Organize and Lift Spirits During the Coronavirus Crisis

Kerrie Kelly shares top tips for getting organized, battling boredom and reconnecting during the coronavirus pandemic.

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kerrie kelly tips for coronavirus survival
Kerrie Kelly Shares Tips for Staying Sane During Coronavirus Lockdown

With the coronavirus news seeping in to our news feed and inbox, canceling all that we enjoy in life — sports, travel, networking, engaging with friends and family, not to mention a night out on the town — we have more than realized that we can still enjoy life while hunkered down at home. Now is the time to take good care of those things that linger on our “someday” to-do list and to make strides to keep us on the top of our personal and professional responsibilities. When the President called for a national emergency, personally, we went on lockdown at home to eliminate the spread but also to recalibrate, refocus and reconnect with who and what we value in our lives. While some suggested digging into spring cleaning-like activities — cleaning out our closet, meal prep and organizing — to pass the time, we had bigger fish to fry. How many times can we really polish grandma’s silver, organize shoe shelves and alphabetize the pantry?

With mandatory lockdown on the calendar, our team definitely wanted to create safe ways to continue to engage with our valued clients — e-meetings, Zoom calls and online information shares, but we also wanted to fill the gaps while working at home and during nights and weekends. Here are a few of our most rewarding activities that we chose to dip into. See if some speak to you as we prepare for the unknown.

Get Familiar With Your Fitness App

For weeks, my husband and I have wanted to tap into Peloton’s “Crush Your Core” program. Since the program is four weeks long it seemed intimidating as it would be another thing to “gear up” for — but no. We found that the program is only five minutes, five days a week for four weeks. How doable is that? With a workout regime already set including biking, meditation and stretching, this extra five-minute effort was easy to add. And when you can’t go to the gym or workout with your pals, the Peloton community feels supportive. Competing with friends and followers, virtually high-fiving accomplishments and earning badges for solid efforts, feels good when you must remain at home. If you are on the app, let’s connect at KKCali — blowing off steam in a physical way keeps all of the chaos in perspective.

Organize Your Photos + Files

One of the easiest and most rewarding things I have accomplished on this lockdown was organizing my Dropbox — the place where all of our photos and files reside. While we were pretty organized personally and professionally, there were duplicate photos, bad photos, misplaced files and unnecessary documents. Our Dropbox just needed a good scrub. With that we created 10 “umbrella files” where every document can find a home — no loose virtual papers from quick saves, also nothing floating on the desktop. Since we can search by using keywords, finding items is easy. Over time if we think we have misplaced something, we can simply search for it and file appropriately. Also, anything we have deleted can be recovered over the next 30 days if necessary. It was fun to reminisce about our travels and family photos along the way while getting organized at the same time.

kerrie kelly coronavirus

Review Your Recipes

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love to whip up a recipe or two for Sunday Night Supper. Often those recipes come from my mom and grandma. Other times, I am inspired by Giada and Ina Garten. While we have been home for breakfast, lunch and dinner over the past few days, we have enjoyed roasting tomatoes for Giada’s Roasted Caprese Salad, made our signature house cookies from the Joy of Cooking, put together avocado toast using Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning and roasted a chicken Barefoot Contessa style. The food we make at home is so satisfying and the light focus it takes to follow a recipe (or make one by heart) takes our mind off the world for just a moment, not to mention benefits us in an elevated, healthy way.

Having time that we don’t typically get to experience so deeply has also allowed us to organize recipes, reminisce about traditions and bring some tried-and-true dishes to the forefront that may have been forgotten over the years. It has also allowed us to place special effort on nourishing our bodies with whole, healthy, homemade, unprocessed foods with a little reward when we put a couple extra workouts in. We are grateful that getting our groceries in a planned effort has allowed us to stay out of the grocery store by using the Raley’s eCart. The customer service and thoughtfulness the team has provided is exceptional.

Catch Up on All the Award-Winning Movies

I don’t know about you, but even with all of our airplane travel, we didn’t get to all the Oscar-winning movies on our viewing list. With many movies available through streaming, we have caught up on all everyone has been buzzing about. Dark Waters and Bombshell have finally been checked off the movie to do list, and Pain & Glory and Little Women remain in the queue so we have something to look forward to in the coming weeks. Let me know if you have others to recommend — we would love to hear of some not so obvious titles that you enjoy.

Update Your Social Media, Websites and Media Kits

My good friend Kachet Life encouraged her followers to take this newfound time to write blogs, update websites and social media platforms — thanks, Kachet! She is so right — if you are going to sit on the couch and “veg,” go ahead and scroll your own online presence and see how up-to-date (or out-of-date) yours truly is. You may find out like I did, “Wow, I have accomplished a couple of things that should be included in my bio but haven’t had the time or mind space to do so.”

Check your “about” page on your website; your bio on LinkedIn and even refresh who you are following on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook depending on your current interests. And if you are really feeling ambitious, go through your contacts and clean them up — I mean, who is “Larry”, no last name, company or address anyway?

Edit Your Playlists

Music is always on loop in our home. My husband is great at feathering in new songs to build our ever-evolving everyday listening playlist. But do you ever really have time to listen to and discover new artists or to add some of your favorite crooners who you grew up listening to? Now is the perfect time for a refresh. If you are daring, start with Spotify’s “Yacht Rock” playlist to relive your childhood. With spring on the horizon, we will find ourselves entertaining outdoors (fingers crossed) and that playlist will set the mood to do so. Create a few playlists for the warmer months and organize the tunes you currently own. If you need some inspiration, you can tap into my Spotify page where we have organized playlists for a variety of seasons and events.

Catch Up on Your Audible Library and Podcast Episodes

Unfortunately, I am not a reader, I’m a writer. So listening to books — typically at 1.5x speed — is how I get by. With two free books added each month, your Audible library can easily stack up (unless your get back on that airplane). Podcast episodes can do the same, especially when you are scaling back on trips to the eyelash extension and manicure/pedicure ladies (where I typically catch up on podcasts). With snow up in the mountains and rain in California, what’s wrong with just looking out the window, putting your feet up and your earbuds in and listening through a few of these inspirational or informative “reads”? Or even soaking in the tub with a good book? I have been listening to Open Book by Jessica Simpson (yep, you read that right), The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone and My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte. Each takes my thoughts to a different place for learning or plain entertainment when I feel like I need to be at home but may want to be alone or cooking with some background sound.

When it comes to podcasts, I am always tapped into Goop, Dr. Mark Hyman’s The Doctor’s Farmacy, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Emily Post’s Awesome Etiquette, How I Built This and the Business of Home. Rarely when listening can I ever take notes—I am driving, getting my nails done or on a walk. With operation lockdown in full effect, we can now really listen to the information being delivered without multi-tasking. You can also more easily implement the ideas being shared when it comes to health, business and well-being.

Enroll in Masterclasses

I have always wanted to enroll in the Master Class series. Every time I see Thomas Keller, Diane Von Furstenberg and Doris Kearns Goodwin advertise the program to me, I think, “That would be fun to do someday.” Well, this is now on our list to try. I am surely an advocate for lifelong learning and I think this a great, not to mention, safe way to learn and remain engaged today. If you have already partaken in these classes, please share with me what you think. The classes average 15 minutes each, so similar to the Peloton “Crush Your Core” program, it could be an easy add-on that becomes a habit when life gets back to “normal.”

Write a Thank You Note

We all are reeling during this uncertain time. What’s next? How long will this last? What am I to expect of my career and community in the coming days? No one truly knows — just when you make a plan, it blows up 10 minutes later. With that, take a minute to sit down and write a thank you note. To anyone. There is never an expiration date on writing a thank you note to lift someone’s spirits and share your gratitude. It can be handwritten (okay, maybe don’t lick the seal) or even a text or email. Just share the love when people may be feeling lonely, isolated or just uneasy. Thank a nurse, your favorite restaurant, the mail carrier or the nice person online changing your vacation plans. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. And don’t you worry, we are going to get through this — stay well, everyone.

I would love to hear what activities you are accomplishing during these new normal moments—please share with me in the comments below and be well!

Kerrie Kelly coronavirus to-do


Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Labs
Kerrie Kelly is a Board Member of ASID and on the editorial advisory board of Furniture, Lighting & Decor

With more than 20-years of experience, Kerrie Kelly is creative director for Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, an award-winning California interior designer, author and contributor; product designer and multi-media consultant, helping national brands reach the interior design market.

Kerrie is a Fellow, Board Member and Foundation Trustee of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID); Houzz Pro Advisory Board Member; and Member of National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). She is also an avid representative, speaker and on-air talent for Outdoor Living and Livable Design initiatives. Kerrie has authored two books: Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide with Sunset Books and My Interior Design Kit, with Pearson Professional and Career Education.

We value Kerrie's input as part of our Furniture, Lighting & Decor Editorial Advisory Board. For more from Kerrie Kelly, you can visit her website, kerriekelly.com, here.


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