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July
29

 

 

After adjusting to our lives during quarantine, we are now beginning to think about the end of the crisis, and what the world will look like afterward. As our states emerge from lockdown at different paces, opening back up one-by-one, we, as a nation, are adjusting to our "new normal", asking ourselves, "What will our new lives look like?"

Lessons From the Past

The 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed about 675,000 people in the U.S., changed hygiene forever. In the following years, signs bearing the message, "Spitting is Unlawful" sprouted up in places like train stations. Covering your cough grew to be considered common courtesy, where before the pandemic, this etiquette was almost unheard of.  

In the wake of COVID-19, certain habits we've adapted will likely stick around as well, says Kate White, a behavioral scientist at the University of British Columbia. "Our vigilance around things like disinfecting surfaces — that's probably going to continue," she says.

Our new ways of greeting (elbow bumps or "live long and prosper" salutes instead of handshakes), and interacting with each other (video chats instead of conference-room huddles) are also likely to stick to some degree. 

People are accessing more educational resources online for their kids; finding unconventional ways to connect with coworkers, friends, and family; and employers are being more flexible in how they respond to employee needs through more dynamic, cloud-based technology. 

Working From Home Will Become the New Normal

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, says "The pandemic has resulted in what is effectively the largest "work from home" experiment ever conducted in human history. I think we'll see these shifts last well beyond the immediate fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak."

Companies are becoming more comfortable with at least some of their staff working from home. Some CIOs say they might consider letting as much as 25% of their staff work from home. That would mean less people in the office, and in turn, possibly less demand for office space. According to Tim Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies, "I believe that this could signal the death of open space work environments. The experience with COVID-19 will for years make people more aware of working in shoulder-to-shoulder open offices where it is easy for viruses to spread."

Vivek Ravisankar, CEO and cofounder of programming-challenge platform HackerRank says,

"Remote hiring of technical talent will become the norm, accelerated by the normalization of remote work. This is a win-win for the economy and the talent pool, as it allows companies to fill positions quickly with qualified talent and opens up high-paying tech positions to developers everywhere."

Connecting Digitally Will Accelerate

It's becoming more evident every day that the way people are using technology to spend quality time with loved ones, engage with businesses, and perform their jobs is fundamentally shifting to a new normal. Stan Chudnovsky, VP of Messenger, Facebook explains, "Loved ones who hadn't seen each other in years are now seeing each other daily, people are getting creative with virtual happy hours and keeping up with their formerly "physical" lives with shared workouts and virtual birthday parties on products like Messenger. Of course, there will be some tough consequences when we come out the other side of this, but I believe the growing acceptance of technology to help us feel connected will have lasting benefits."

Education Goes Virtual

The change we are seeing right now in education is not something that is likely to revert back to "normal" in the fall. Although teachers will always be integral to the education process, there will need to be continued flexibility and agility when it comes to things like the delivery of content, testing, and grading. "I expect that we will see an increase in blended learning environments that include learning in both the physical classroom setting and online," says Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw-Hill.

Healthcare Will Embrace The Digital Age

The healthcare industry will be greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and we can expect digital health technologies to form an essential part of the way forward. Dr. Claire Novorol, cofounder and chief medical officer, Ada Health, explains, "The adoption of digital health tools—from assessment services to telemedicine—has rapidly accelerated…and we are witnessing a step-change in the adoption of digital health solutions, and that this has long-term potential." 

Other Possibilities

  • Restaurants might permanently link up with delivery service platforms or expand their reach via ghost kitchens.
  • Quantum computers "Within the next 12 to 18 months, we're expecting quantum computers to start to routinely solve problems that supercomputers and cloud computing cannot. When humanity faces the next pandemic, I'm hopeful that a quantum computer will be able to model the virus, its interactions within the human body that will drive possible solutions, and limit the future economic damage and human suffering." - Peter Chapman, CEO and president, quantum-computing company IonQ
  • According to Joe Brotherton, chairman of Democracy Live, proven technologies now exist that offer mobile, at-home voting while still generating paper ballots. "This system is not an idea; it is a reality that has been used in more than 1,000 elections for nearly a decade by our overseas military and disabled voters. This should be the new normal."

 

AARP's List of 10 Things the Pandemic has Changed for Good

  • Working from home
  • Seeing your doctor
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Staying in touch
  • Wearing face masks
  • Going to the movies
  • Traveling by air
  • Riding public transportation
  • Protecting your privacy
  • Washing your hands

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/coronavirus-lifestyle-effects.html

 

As the world emerges from the crisis, employees will find new ways to interact, entrepreneurs will realize business opportunities, consumers will take advantage of new environments, and policy and regulation will adapt to keep everyone safer in the future. With foresight, the results of these innovations may allow our economic infrastructure to grow stronger as it overcomes these challenging times.

 

Categories: Community, Health, Education, Safety, COVID-19, Wellness

 

July
29

 

Social distancing can take a toll on our mental wellness. It seems like one minute our lives were normal - going to work, eating dinner in crowded restaurants, and gathering with our friends in each other's homes or public meeting places – and the next, we were asked to stay home, alone

"Understand this is a new and unique situation that will take some adjustment. Cut yourself some slack and realize you will be unproductive and anxious initially, but with mindfulness and creativity, we can adjust to this new normal," says David Stern, M.D. and co-director of the Office of Student Mental Health and Wellness and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. 

For most of us, connecting with friends, family, and coworkers has moved online. While it may take some getting used to, it is comforting to see a familiar friendly face. Choosing which platform to use to get this digital face-to-face can be overwhelming. Below is a list of some of the best programs for digital meetings with links to a tutorial for each. 

Connecting in person is still an option, it just has to be adjusted. By maintaining safe distance, you can still see and talk to your circle of friends and family. Get creative:

  • Do a drive-by visit to see family. Establish a drive-by time; get out and wave, cartwheel or dance…whatever feels right!
  • Deliver a surprise package on someone's front porch. Whether it is a sack of necessities, flowers, or a book or puzzle to help pass the time, your gift is sure to lift spirits.
  • Invite a friend to meet for lunch at a drive-thru restaurant. Park you cars side-by-side with the windows down, and enjoy food and conversation at a safe distance from each other.
  • Invite a neighbor to take a walk or bike ride with you – on the opposite side of the street! 
  • Don't stop your weekly wine night, morning coffee or book club. Just meet now on screen.
  • Have the kids on the block visit using walkie-talkies, just like you did as a child.
  • Form a neighborhood seed swap. Choose a drop-off place where everyone can "take some, leave some" to complete everyone's new gardens.

Sometimes when we feel helpless, helping someone else is the best remedy. Your whole community has been effected by this disruption. Think of ways you can help those around you that may be in need.

  • Add groceries to your local food bank each week
  • Donate Blood at your local blood bank
  • Build a network of neighbors who gather specific items to keep on hand for others in the same area. Each household is designated to store an essential item such as toilet paper, eggs, or flour, keeping it on hand so everyone in the network never goes without.  
  • Help others find the best deals on groceries. Communicate which store is cheaper this week, or has just stocked up on certain items. Let you friends know where they can go on-line for coupons
  • Send cards, notes or joy items to nursing homes

Remember, as we isolate from close human contact, loneliness can be a side effect…but loneliness is avoidable. Stay connected!

Categories: Entertainment, Tips, Health, COVID-19, Wellness



July
29

 

Time keeps ticking away, reminding us that another day has gone by and we are still mostly quarantined to our homes. We've binge-cleaned, exercised, watched TV series, baked all the bread, and boredom is really setting in. So what do we do? Some of us have work to keep us busy, but even that work doesn't fill the void. Where is the fulfillment we used to get when completing a project in the office, and how do we get it back? 

There is something in the nature of each of us that generates joy when we are being generous to others. Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." During this time of COVID-19, there are many ways to help others. 

 

  1. Get connected!

How fortunate we are to live in a time when socializing with a person is just a click away! Take advantage of the wonderful technology at our disposal to communicate with others: 

  • Help lift your spirit, as well as your circle of friends or family by having group phone calls or zoom meetings. 
  • Use social media to get connected to your community. Many neighborhoods and complexes have a community Facebook page. Check to see if yours does.
  • Create an event on social media to help out in your neighborhood or community, such as grocery delivery for those that can't leave their house, or a car parade to celebrate graduating seniors whose graduation ceremonies were canceled. 
  • On your community page, post humorous videos of how you are handling quarantine so your neighbors don't feel so isolated during this period. 

It only takes a few minutes out of your day so grab your phone or computer and connect with someone in your community today!

 

  1. Knock, knock, "Who's there?" "Orange"

As mentioned above, some people in your community need help getting groceries. It could be an elderly person, an immune-compromised friend, or a neighbor who lost their job. During your trip to the grocery store, why not pick up a few extra items for a home-bound neighbor (and deliver to their front door), or to donate to your community food bank? 

If you feel more comfortable donating money, many schools are taking donations to help feed needy families. Contact your child's school teacher to find out how to contribute.  If everyone in your school district contributed $10 each, think how much food that would buy!

 

  1. Eat. Drink. Shop...Local!
  • Order take-out

We have been sheltering at home long enough now that most of us have run out of meal ideas and are ready for a dinner out. This is the perfect time to help local restaurants that may be struggling. It's a win-win for both parties. You don't have to cook and they get to stay open during and hopefully even after COVID-19. 

  • Order local produce 

There are several websites set up to help local farmers deliver produce to your home. One is:  https://localfarmok.com/. Buying from your local farmer ensures your produce will taste better and last longer. Eating fresher, less processed produce can help you to eat and feel better, all while supporting your local food movement. Shopping on-line for a farm near you that will deliver it to your home eliminates the stress of going to the grocery store and trying to figure out which veggies to buy. 

  • Shop local

When you need to shop, try to patronize your local merchants. Their business has likely been hit hard by this virus and they will be appreciate your support during this hard time.

 

  1. Gifts! Gifts! Gifts!

Everyone loves getting gifts, even if it is a little thing: 

  • It could be as simple as a postcard or a funny letter to bring joy to your friends. You could get your sister one of those makeup box delivery for the next month. Sign your cousin up for goofy socks delivered twice a month. 
  • Send an Edible Arrangement or buy lunch for people working at the hospital, fire stations, and police stations.
  • Create a gift basket with essentials like Germ-X and fuzzy socks for someone special. 
  • Get your children involved and have them make art and letters saying how thankful they are for essential workers. 

 

A little something goes a long way. When you give to others, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, it can really make you and someone else feel better!

 

Get inspired to help your community during this time of challenge. Remember, in addition to helping someone else, giving will also bring you joy.



July
29

 

These days, living life looks a lot different than how it did at the beginning of this year. We all want to do our part to keep ourselves, our famlies, and our community safe. But, with all the media hype and rumors going around, it can be hard to figure out what you really need to do (or not do) to stop the spread of COVID-19. Here is a an easy guide with actual facts from the CDC. Follow the link at the bottom to get further information.

  1. Wash your Hands!

Washing your hands is a good practice in general, but during this time, washing your hands is so important to stop the spread of COVID-19. The standard for washing hands is with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Some people get very creative with this 20 seconds and sing portions of classic songs that are 20 seconds long to make sure they wash for the proper amount of time. Some favorites are: "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees (chorus), "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo (chorus), and the classic "Happy Birthday".  If one of those doesn't fit your vibe then there is a website that generates a poster with the song of your choice that last 20 seconds (https://washyourlyrics.com/)! Washing your hands should be done frequently, especially when you cough or sneeze or when you have been in a public place. So, get you grab your favorite tunes and have a happy hand washing party!

  1. Distance makes the Heart grow Fonder.

Staying home as much as possible and avoiding contact with others when you do go out are essential right now. The easiest way to do this is to try to limit your shopping trips to once a week or every two weeks. You can also get things delivered to your home or use curbside pick up. Many local restaurants are even doing curbside or carry out, too. If possible, try to support your community by shopping local! If you do have to go out remember to stay 6 ft. apart from others. If you have a hard time visualizing how far that is just imagine your 6 ft. husband or brother army crawling to sneak a donut out of the kitchen. Also, remember to avoid shaking hands, high fives, and hugs. This one is probably the biggest adjustment to most of our lives, so be kind to yourself and take a deep breath when you are figuring out how to maintain social distance

  1. *Aaachoo*

If you become sick stay home. See if you can have a friend pick up your groceries for you and leave them at your front door. If you are coughing and sneezing use a tissue and then immediately throw away the tissue and wash your hands. If you absolutely have to go out, wear a face mask and gloves. Although this doesn't protect you, is does keep your germs from becoming airborne, potentially infecting others. If you are unable to find any to purchase because of the current shortages, you can fashion one out of a bandana, sew one with old t-shirt material or check out Facebook for friends that might be making them in their own homes. 

  1. Clean, Clean, Clean

Sanitation is key to kicking COVID-19 to the curb. Use surface cleaners and disinfectants to clean your house and car frequently, especially the places you use a lot like the kitchen and bathroom. Get some gloves on and go to town on cleaning, just make sure to read the instructions on the container first. If your kids need something to do, you could create the clean my house olympics and give them points every time they do a cleaning task in the house. Turn on your favorite dance music or clean a little every commercial break or between binged episodes and your house will be sanitized in no time!

CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html

July
29

During this time of pandemic, more so than in years past, many people are starting vegetable gardens right where they live. Growing your own vegetables means not only fewer trips to the grocery store and venturing out into public, but a way to help you feel like you are making a difference when your world feels out of control. 

Where To Begin?

For people who are new to farming, it is hard to know where to begin. Luckily for us all, there is limitless one-on-one advice on line, teaching us the "a, b, c's" of how to grow your own vegetables. Gail Langellotto, a professor of horticulture and statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program at Oregon State University offers a free course through the end of April. Even if you miss the free introduction period, it is worth taking her introduction to gardening course. 

You Don't Need 100 Acres 

In fact, you don't even need any land at all! You can start your home garden on your porch or deck, using containers or decorative pots. With container gardening, all you need is a vessel, good soil, and plenty of sunlight. 

Jennifer Blackwell, one of our very own Chinowth & Cohen Realtors agent, has joined many Oklahomans who have started home gardens on their porches, big and small. She was recently featured in the Oklahoman talking about her experience.

As a segway from containers to raised beds, many people have adopted straw bale gardening, or tilled soil gardens. Straw bale gardening is when you use straw bales like raised beds in the yard so that no additional soil is needed.

Get Started With Seeds

Starting out may seem overwhelming but once you get going, you'll be done in no time. In 30-75 days you will have a productive garden of your own!

Start your seeds early, so that when the weather is consistently warm and your garden is ready, they will be too.

You can use used teabags to put seeds into, as it activates the growth process. Use empty Keurig cups or empty egg shells as the container for the teabags. Once the plants are big enough and the weather is warm enough, plant your seedlings right into the garden, giving them plenty of space to stretch their feet. Different varieties need different amounts of space, so be sure to do your research before you plant. 

Do you Prefer a Traditional In-ground Garden?

If you want to forgo the decorative pots or straw bales, and plant directly in the ground, you will need to apply some old fashioned hard work to get the ground ready. 

  • Getting the Grass out - This step requires elbow grease, or better still, a teenager! Skim the grass off the top after wetting it to soften. You can either compost or throw this grass away, but you want to save as much dirt in this process as possible. Smothering the area with a clear plastic tarp may do the same trick, but it could take up to several weeks to kill pests and grass depending on how hot it gets.
  • Preparing the Soil - Begin layering with black ink only newspaper, weed barrier cloth, or cardboard before adding any new dirt to keep any new grass or weeks from growing up in your new garden. 
  • Know your region - Choose plants that will thrive in your planting zone. Test your soil. Some areas have more acidity or clay which makes growing difficult. Depending on your soil quality, you might need to add conditioners to make the atmosphere more hospitable to your new plants.

Handy Tip - Make a blueprint of where you planted which vegetable in your garden because it is easy to forget!

Becoming an urban farmer provides countless benefits to you and the environment. Whether growing a single tomato plant or enough vegetables for you and your entire neighborhood, it can improve your physical health by supplying your diet with nutritious vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Gardening is a way to get outside for some fresh air, physical activity, and absorb vitamin D from the sunshine, all promoting physical health. And don't forget, you can save money by growing your own vegetables!

 

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