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  • Katharinehn

Corona Virus Diaries: Episode 2— Seven Ways to Stay Productive During the Outbreak

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

Right now, as you all are more than aware, we’re in the midst of a worldwide lock down due to the Corona Virus. Most European countries have shut their borders and have placed large restrictions on public spaces and events, and the United States has recently followed suit. This is a trying time, and it's understandable that people are feeling a little lost and hopeless —especially with so much more free time on their hands.

If you’re like me and find it difficult to relax and may-or-may-not have an irrational fear of wasted time and not being productive, then I have just the list for you! I personally curated and hand-selected this exclusive collection of activities that will pass your time in a productive and healthy manor. If you have any ways you are spending your time productively, I invite you to share them, too! :) Without further ado, I present to you my list of: Seven Ways to Stay Productive During the Outbreak

1. Learn a new language

Alright, folks. That’s your list. You're welcome!

Lucky for you, learning a language is not possible in two weeks, and if you’re learning Danish, this will probably take your whole lifetime (whoop whoop!) Since arriving in Denmark in February, I've been busy with learning the Danish language. In fact, I'm in the middle of taking an intensive course at a language school in Copenhagen that is supposed to meet 3 times a week for 3.5 hours a time. Of course, due to the Corona Virus, this class has been moved online; however, this course still occupies most of my free time which I am really thankful for! For me, learning Danish is really my full time job at the moment, and I know it’s a good use of my time. Honestly, learning any language is a good use of your time, which is why this is #1 on my list.

Fun tip: If you’re trying to learn any language, I highly recommend checking out the App “Duolingo” because it teaches you the language in a really goofy way that helps you remember it. For example, the sentences “Er æblerne effektive som mad? (Are the apples effective as food?) or “Hvorfor er jeres forældre underlige?” (Why are your parents weird?”) are completely fair game.

Pro Tip: Of course, watching movies or listening to music in the language you’re trying to learn is helpful, but what I find really helpful with my Danish studies, is watching speeches. Whenever the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, addresses the Kingdom of Denmark, I am right there listening to every word she says. In speeches, the speaker usually speaks slowly and clearly (two unheard of things in Danish) and there are usually subtitles. I’m telling you, there is no better time to learn a language than now with so many official speeches happening all over the world!

If you can't be convinced, here's a video of the Queen of Denmark making paper animal hats back in 2018. That's all.

2. Take Care of Your Health

Holy cow. If there is anything I’ve learned from my past 25 years on this planet it's that I need to move my body daily. Whether by walking, dancing, running, or going to fitness classes, being active is what makes me stay healthy, happy, and mentally balanced. It's also 1000% more effective in producing joy than just sitting in front of a happy light and taking vitamin D supplements all day (although that sounds like it has potential).

Although the Corona Virus has brought a lot of hardship into this world whether physically, financially, or mentally, it has brought one positive thing forth and that is: free online fitness content. No, not your typical online fitness content where the trainer looks like a genetically modified alien with butt implants, but your actual local gyms and studios' content– real people you know! I've been loving the opportunity to "attend" some of my favorite classes from both MN and OR, and I would love to share them with you if you're looking for some great ways to move your body!

BodyRock Training and Fitness

My dear friend, Ally Galloway, is a phenomenal personal trainer and is ALL about body positivity and overall wellness. She has been involved with the Bend NEDA Walk for many years and is a true rock star. Ally has been uploading KILLER workouts that you can do from home, and I highly recommend you check them out!!

Bliss Dance Workout

Ahhh! One of my absolute favorite things about Bend, Oregon are the Bliss Dance Workout Classes. This style of class was actually created to mimic a night club; they turn the lights down low, hip hop and pop music are booming over the speakers, and you can let loose with your friends by dancing. Fun Fact: I actually became a certified Bliss Dance Workout instructor in January, and hope to take this style of class to Denmark once I am legally able to work! Please enjoy this super fun class by my very lovely Bliss friends Jeralyn, Julie, and Bethany.

Summit Dance Shoppe

This is my old dance studio in Plymouth, Minnesota. Summit Dance Shoppe (SDS) is SUCH a phenomenal studio and many of the dancers even go on to have professional dance careers after finishing their competitive programs. SDS has been releasing tap, ballet, and dance fitness classes, so if you've ever wanted to take a more official dance class, now is your chance! I've linked a super fun tap class below with the fantastic Galen Higgins. Enjoy!

3. Marie Kondo the F out of your space… in Cute Shoes

Let’s get real. If you’re living in Europe and are already a week in to “social distancing” then you’ve already seen half of the shows on Netflix. There’s no shame in that. An all-time favorite of mine is “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” because, well, obviously.

What I do that Marie Kondo doesn’t do, is wear my favorite shoes throughout this long, daunting, and somewhat emotional process. Shoes don’t judge, they listen.

You know that expression, “Life is short, get the shoes”? You know, the very same expression that convinces you to buy a pair you’ll never wear, but hold on to for the faint chance that you’ll have an occasion for them in the future i.e. a girls’ weekend in Paris… a destination wedding in Bali… or Fashion Week in Milan… you know, realistic occasions). Well, now is the time for you to wear them!

Pro Tip: One of my favorite things to do when organizing my space is displaying my items artfully. Fashion has always been one of my greatest passions, and there is nothing that sparks more joy for me more than seeing my favorite shoes on display— well, maybe a cute dog, but this shoe shelf is definitely up there!! Instead of hiding your favorite pieces in garment bags or shoeboxes, I recommend showing them off so you're always reminded of how lovely they are!

4. Channel your inner Mr. Clean

Now more than ever, it’s important to have a hygienic home and to disinfect high-contact surfaces such as: doorknobs, counters, cabinet handles, light switches, etc. But, since you have all of this newfound free time, you might as well target the neglected parts of your home, too. The top of your refrigerator needs a little love, and the dust gathering on your George Jensen vase (I’m talking directly to every Dane I know now) is feeling lonely. Acknowledge and validate these abandoned, yet hard-working residents of your home, and give them a good clean. If you want, you can put on put on your favorite starchy white T-shirt, cross your arms, and channel your inner Mr. Clean if that helps. Maybe even pierce your left ear and put a little hoop ring in it if you want to be truly authentic.

Pro Tip: Cleaning provides the perfect time to catch up on the news and your favorite podcasts. I regularly listen to NPR while doing the dishes, and think it's a great way to stay informed while being productive in another manor. For friends living in Denmark or just interested in the country, the Global Denmark Podcast is one of my favorites at the moment as it's entertaining, informative, and the hosts get a lot of exciting guests on the show as well.

5. It’s Time to Mend Your Relationship with Your Broken Things

If you’re not entirely bored out of your mind yet, now is a great time to get going on the Things-I-Have-To-Fix-At-A-Later-Date part of your house. Personally, I like to keep all of my broken things together in one little home—usually a drawer—so they're not lonely. I think this gives the items a sense of comradely. Anyway, since the start of the Social-Distancing situation, I’ve successfully mended: a pair of Simon’s pants, a pair of gloves, a pair of shoes, a few of my notebooks, and a wine stopper. Shout out to my Grandma for teaching me how to sew. Shout out to my brain for knowing how to use Super Glue.

6. Read a Book

I’m a great book-buyer, but not such a great book-reader. I always start a book with great enthusiasm and tell myself, “THIS is the book I will finish!” . . . before putting it down never to be finished again. The thing is, I know reading is important, but would always rather listen to a book on tape or to a podcast of something. I think it’s difficult for me just to sit down, pick up a book, and say, “this is going to be what entertains me for the next 5 hours.” BUT, much like the rest of this list, there is no better time than now to revisit neglected books and give them love. Plus, you have just “woken up” the books you want to keep through the completion of the KonMari method, remember? Those little “taps” you did on each of the books (that I know you did) were like little vows to each and every one of the books; you were kind of saying, “You’re still important to me, and I will read you.” Don’t break your vows.

One week into Social Distancing, I’m done with the book, “How to Live in Denmark” by Kay Xander Mellish and have plans of reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood next. Cheerful days await, guys. Do you have good books you would want to recommend to someone who is an avid book neglecter?

7. Take to the Forest—Unless You’re Not Allowed To—Then Please Stay Home

I find behavioral patterns very interesting. For example, when Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, first addressed Denmark regarding the virus, Danes flocked to grocery stores to “hamster” (hoard) toilet paper and other on-brand products for Danes to consume. Although Simon and I missed the first wave of “hamstring” that night, we got to experience the shortage of goods Danes deem as mandatory household items the following day. What on-brand items did Danes wipe out? Why potatoes, milk, and yeast of course! Actually to this day, yeast is still hard to come by in Roskilde due to the deep need Danes have for consuming freshly baked goods. I’m not complaining; in fact, I *also* adore eating fresh baked goods. I just find Dane’s grocery shopping patterns pleasantly predictable and equally fascinating!

Hvor er kartoflerne? Where are the potatoes?

Another predictable behavioral pattern for Danes during this time is to take to the forests. Like (hopefully) most Danes, I am not leaving my apartment other than to pick up groceries (apart from yeast) or go on a walk—usually to the forest. Last weekend, Simon and I went on a 4-hour journey— and I don’t use that word lightly. Our journey was much more like that of Frodo’s in the Lord of the Rings than the way a plethora of hopeful females use it to describe their experiences on “The Bachelor”. This journey we had, showed that when life is disrupted in the way it has been in light of the Corona Virus, Danes take to the forests. What was once thought of as a clever way to get fresh air and avoid crowds, is actually where you can run into the most people (and dogs). Fortunately, forest crowding has slowed a bit, but you still have to be careful as to where you choose to get your “fresh” air.

Amidst the Corona Virus Outbreak, trees sprout new flowers at the Roskilde Harbor
Amidst the Corona Virus Outbreak, trees sprout new flowers at the Roskilde Harbor

Alright guys, that is it for now! I hope you enjoyed some light and fun reading, and maybe found some productive and inspiring ways to keep busy for the days ahead. I hope everyone reading this is doing well and is staying healthy wherever you are! This is certainly a trying time for many people, and my heart goes out to those impacted by this virus.

Be well, everyone!


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