Social Distancing: 10 Ways to Stay Busy at Home
By: Heather Bien
No matter where you are in the world, chances are, you’ve heard the guidelines to practice social distancing as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no doubt that it’s scary to watch as one country after another deals with an increasing number of cases, but the best way to stop the spread within any community is to isolate ourselves from others –– even if we don’t believe we have come in contact with anyone who might have it.
This means schools and events have shut down, workplaces have gone remote, and many of us are left wondering, “What do I do when I can’t leave the house?”
While this isn’t a situation any of us want to be in, it is an opportunity to reframe the narrative around socially distancing ourselves and, instead, look at it as a chance to work on ourselves and our home environment. So, here are 10 ways that we plan on staying busy at home over the next few weeks.
10 Ways to Stay Busy at Home
1. Check-in On Loved Ones and Neighbors
First things first, just because you’re socially distancing yourself from others physically, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. This is the time to send out a text to a friend you haven’t chatted with in a while, to call your grandparents, to remind your mom and dad to stick close to home. If you have a neighbor that’s elderly, give them a quick call to see if you can pick up some groceries for them. We may not all be able to hang out together, but we can still be there for each other.
2. Declutter and Deep Clean Your Home:
You have the opportunity to go into spring cleaning overdrive! Start by tackling one closet or one drawer at a time. Maybe set 30-minute increments on a timer so you can break it down into bite-size chunks. Work your way through the entire house minimizing and cutting clutter. Once you’re feeling lighter and less dragged down by stuff, it’s time for a deep clean. Tackle the mopping, dusting, shining, and vacuuming. Don’t forget the fridge, the microwave, and the baseboards!
3. Work on Your Capsule Wardrobe:
While you may not need any office-ready clothes while you’re working from home, use this time to look at your closet and build a capsule wardrobe that you’re excited about. Try different combinations of tops, bottoms, and accessories, then, photograph them so you’ll never again find yourself stuck thinking, “I have nothing to wear!”
4. Get Creative With Meal Prep:
This is the time to clear out all the pantry staples that have been sitting on the shelf for way too long. You may have done a big grocery run to stock up on frozen foods, canned foods, and other ingredients with a longer shelf life –– now think of new ways to combine shelf-stable items like rice, pasta, and legumes with frozen meats, spices, and veggies. Look into meal prep recipes. Unleash your culinary creativity.
5. Give Your Space a Refresh:
You don’t have to go shopping to give your home a new look. Use this extended period of time around the house to rearrange furniture, switch up your framed artwork, and see what items could have a new life when placed in another room. Shop your existing decor to give your space a different look or take a few items out of each room and see what you think of a more minimal look.
6. Tackle Those Lingering Home Projects:
Those shelves that need to be hung. The touch-up paint and spackle that’s been sitting on the to-do list for way too long. The closet door that doesn’t shut quite right. It’s easy to put these projects off when you’re busy but now that you’re home for a while, set aside an afternoon to knock them out. Bonus: if you have an outdoor space, this is the perfect opportunity to get it ready for warmer weather!
7. Master Your At-Home Workout or Yoga Practice:
We’ve all gotten the emails; fitness studios and gyms are taking necessary precautions to keep us safe. But, the reality is, we may want to move our workout routines in-home for a while. Check in to see if your regular fitness studio offers on-demand online classes (many are offering them for free right now!) or look at what’s available on YouTube. Whether you’re into barre, pilates, HIIT, yoga, or something else, chances are, you can adapt it to your home. Plus, running outside is still fine if you keep your distance from others! Inside or outside, gear up with bamboo activewear, and get moving.
8. Do a Puzzle:
Anxiety levels are high and you need something to take your mind off the endless news cycle. Grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea and settle in with an old-school puzzle or a board game. The nostalgia of these pastimes is like comfort food to bring down the sky-high stress levels and distract your attention for a few hours.
9. Take Up a New Creative Hobby:
10. Shop Local...From Your Sofa:
We know that local restaurants, shops, and bars may lose business as people stay home, but we don’t want to put ourselves or their employees at risk. Consider ordering a restaurant gift card now to use at a later date, placing an online or phone order with a local shop, or ordering “contact-free” delivery from a favorite restaurant if they’re staying open (many restaurants are shifting from dine-in to take-out only!). Find a way to put your dollars back into your favorite community businesses so they can stay afloat through this uncertainty.
And, lastly, a reminder that you don’t always have to be AT HOME –– practicing social distancing can look like taking a long car ride with the windows down, getting out into the mountains to hike, or even biking through your neighborhood. Fresh air does us all some good, as long as we steer clear of others.
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.