Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.”

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

So every day I take small steps to lift my spirits, to help who I can, to love my family, to get my job done. 

And I try to have some fun too, because that’s part of achieving each of those.

Sam just wants to go for a walk.

I get outside a number of times a day.  I always knew that seeing the sky and trees and feeling a breeze could lift my spirits, so I love discovering that researchers recently proved 2 hours a week of outdoor time can substantially improve mental health. (University of Exeter. “Two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and wellbeing.”).  I’m lucky enough to have a house where I can walk around it and easily practice social distancing and walking our dogs pretty much forces me to be outside for 2 hours a week.  In addition my husband and I often drive to a nearby nearly empty state park.

Oh… and if you don’t have a good option for going outside right now, here is another option I’ve used – a video of nature scenes and peaceful music.  I put it on a second monitor while doing some emails. Not quite the same as being out there, but it helps.

I’m also running most days – literally taking small steps to boost my mood and get in better shape.

Sometimes my running feels closer to plodding, but on I go.
Photo by Daniel Reche from Pexels

A fellow runner told me years ago that when he finishes each run, he still has all the same problems that he had when he started the run, but he feels differently about them.  That they almost feel like someone else’s problems.  “Well put, Jim!”

My husband and I have been doing some of the free online crossword puzzles offered by the Wall St. Journal.  Not much unique there, but a creative twist, we use Zoom’s free service and conference in my 92-year-old mom.  We aren’t just trying to keep her mentally sharp; we need her help!  Seriously, we each have clues that we get while the other two are scratching their heads.  It’s fun, though I’m guessing other families might have a different favorite game.

I’m also lucky to have a full-time job that I can do from my home.  My advice for being productive is to set daily goals and also track your time. Dedicate the next x minutes (keep it small) to ONE task – write down your start time, the length of time you are committing to and the task.  Set a timer and go.  You will be stunned to find how often you can’t even stay on task for 10 minutes, except….  Maybe you will with that timer and note beside you. 

Why care about being productive with all the chaos around us?  I feel if I’m lucky enough to have a job I can do, then I should do it and help lead my co-workers to keep our projects moving forward.  Someone has to produce something and keep the economy going.  That someone can be you and me.

So those are my clues to the riddle of how to maintain some sanity.  I’ll leave you to puzzle out the rest with this crossword puzzle created by – (Thanks, teachers!)