Most, if not all of us, are struggling in one way or another, as we work out how to live life during a pandemic. There are a lot of rules and guidelines, but no rulebook.  Countless people are out of work and waging physical and mental health battles exacerbated by the isolation and uncertainty. Others are muddling through new work from home challenges and the sheer sameness of, well, everything. We are all just doing the best we can, and that looks different for everyone. My methods, which work most of the time — we of course all have bad days or weeks — are to lean on my daily rituals, embark upon personal challenges (30-day yoga challenge, anyone?) and introduce novelty into my day-to-day life in any and every possible way.

In the early days of lockdown, I swapped out the living room throw pillows. I had grown tired of a big purple pillow and a small, multi-colored pillow last year and stowed the pair away in a closet. I hadn’t seen them in so long, it was like getting new ones. That prompted me to bring a colorful, heirloom afghan out of the bedroom and place it on the back of the couch. It had some of the same color of purple in it and really made the pillow pop. Instant living room makeover! I was so psyched.

Even our Top Box deliveries from Crescent City Farmers Market every few weeks have become a source of delight. This week I’m trying out a new recipe, because we got an eggplant and Mark and I both are underwhelmed by that particular vegetable. The roasted eggplant soup recipe I found is going to infuse some nutrition and excitement into our week. In fact, trying out new recipes has been one of the No. 1 ways we’ve combatted monotony. Hello, flavortown!

Last week, novelty came in the way of a new bathroom rug. That may not sound like much, but it was a surprisingly big visual change in the space. So much so, I find myself sneaking a peek every time I pass by the bathroom door. Bathroom, transformed!

This week, we are eagerly awaiting the delivery of two coloring books and a set of colored pencils. As writers and artists, low-stakes creative outlets are essential, but honestly, who wouldn’t want to while away a few hours coloring? It was a big trend a couple of years ago, when everyone realized what a great stress reliever it is and remembered time spent as a kid riffling through the Crayola box looking for the perfect color combinations. Literally everyone is stressed right now, so get some coloring books for goodness sakes — stat! Not my cup of tea, but also see: Puzzles and board games. Wholesome fun for the entire family!

If you are working from home, set up in a different room or space every once in a while. Or even better, if it’s a nice day, work on your porch or patio or at the park using a hotspot. I rotate from my worktable to the sofa to a chair in the bedroom to the porch throughout the day. Each change of scenery helps my sanity and creativity. Keepin’ it fresh!

At this point, I guess what I’m suggesting is just do whatever you can think of to mix it up, create a spot of joy, introduce whimsy and simply delight yourself or your family. We are going to be doing this for who knows how long, so we have to get creative. We also have to be kind to ourselves and one another and share our resources and ideas. So tell me, what are you doing to have fun, change your space, be creative or stay sane? Share in comments or email me at