Last week I shared my new “Covid” rituals and asked readers what practices they’ve added to their lives to help see them through the pandemic. Here’s the good news: I received many positive and uplifting emails. You’re getting more exercise, trying new crafts and hobbies, reading more, writing, being more mindful through meditation and prayer, slowing down, and most importantly, giving back. Of course, there is a self-selected bias here; those who have embraced optimism were probably more likely to write in! But overall, there are common themes among our amazing ability to adapt to the most extreme circumstances. I found the responses inspiring and hope you will, too. ***** I walk now every morning for an hour in one of the preserves near me. Usually, it takes a good ten to fifteen minutes into the walk for the chatter of my brain to quiet down, and then I begin to focus on the beauty of the woodland around me. Originally the idea was to walk away despair, knowing that brisk walking would kick in endorphins and keep away depression. Now it has become a regular way to begin the day. Before the pandemic, I would never have carved out time for myself like this. I also have at least one inspirational or self-help book on my night table, and I read a few pages before retiring. Two go-to books are A Book of Delights by Ross Gay and my old standby, Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization. ***** Daily prayer Walks on the beach Monthly food pantry donation of cereal. I watch the ads, clip coupons, and buy whatever cereal is on sale. Pay it forward at DD drive-thru: I’ve been making frequent visits to Dunkin Donuts during the pandemic and have, on more than one occasion, been pleasantly surprised to be gifted with a free order paid for by the unknown person in front of me. So, every few weeks, I do the same. It surprises the person behind me in line, hopefully, makes them happy, and makes me feel good. It’s a win-win situation. ***** I started writing; a nonfiction writing class at Sarah Lawrence. I take long hikes in the woods with Tashi, my dog. I go to Rye Playland with the dog at least once a week; it is dog haven. I have cut-flowers in the house. I cook healthy meals. Daily. I exercise 6 times a week. We sit down for civilized dinners. ***** This year I started, what I call “purchasing with a purpose.” In an effort to spearhead a minimalist lifestyle, I think carefully about every purchase and ask myself: 1. Do I NEED it, or just want it 2. What value will it add to my life 3. Is there anything I currently own that I can use/repurpose instead? Most of the time, I end up not buying it, but I can say it’s made me appreciate every purchase even more! ***** I make time to pray. Really pray. With intention, with purpose, and with my whole heart. I’m more focused in the kitchen – I keep it VERY simple. I’m on an organic farm weekly pickup. The quality makes a huge difference. I’m working out with Eric again. ***** Committed to best health via vitamins, doctor’s appointments (don’t cancel), less alcohol, and moderation when I enjoy it. Nightime stretching before bed. Friendships remain strong. We gather at night around fire pits. It seems everyone has installed one. Tons of home projects. ***** I find that creativity is the antidote to adversity, so I have been keeping a daily journal since March and also am on chapter twelve of my new book. I do three to four crossword puzzles every morning and try to schedule two ten minute walks around the grounds of my apartment building (weather permitting!). Like you, I start cooking my dinner in late afternoon, currently using Jacques Pepin’s new cookbook. I am blessed to be able to be with two of my grandchildren on Wednesday to help the six-year-old with online learning. All of this, plus constant phone and internet contact with friends and family, are lifesavers in this time of trial. **** Resourceful, gratitude for basic human needs, the fundamental importance of family and friends, respect for the planet, honesty, industry, thrift, compassion, recognition that the sky can fall after all, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, time to clean out the attic, rearrange the books. ***** In 2020 I incorporated crocheting lap blankets and donating them to hospice, homeless, and others just down and out and in need of a little warmth to brighten their day! I read more, relax more, reflect more, and appreciate more! ***** I’ve revived doing needlepoint, but I have no idea where to take a finished piece to be stretched and made into a pillow for a granddaughter. I live in Guilford, and it’s been suggested that I have to go to Westport to find a good needlepoint place. Do you have any suggestions? ***** I’m watching the sunrise as I drink my coffee. I walk with a friend every day. I play virtual bridge with three friends on a website called Trickster. I connect with my family (NH and VT) using a new device called a Portal. I bought three heated throws so I can sit on my semi-enclosed porch with a friend 9 feet apart with a glass of wine. I do minimal cleaning; no one comes in. On January 18th, I can sign up for my vaccine- but still practicing all my safe habits. Love reading your e-list! Needlepoint is soothing and you don’t feel like such a slug doing it while you watch the (horrible) news or a much better saga on TV. ***** Walk more Talk less Read more not less :)) Write more Snack less Shop local Surf social media less Love America more Worry about myself less Bug my kids less Aggravate my wife less Nap more I’m too cheap to have a Peloton but I like their ads modeling results. ***** Life is a journey, not a destination. It’s a road trip, we may have had a flat tire or two, but the RV is still on the road, the kids and grandkids still want to know when will we get there, Pop Pop and I are still insisting The Beatles, not Taylor Swift, should be at the top of the charts. ***** I love my home. My drawers have never been cleaner. I watch the sunrise, sunset, and everything in between. God willing, we will be introducing people into our routines, in the next few months. I always knew I had some hermit-like tendencies….BUT I sure do miss my grandkids kisses! ***** Inspired by an Essex Paint and Sip fundraiser I attended for the Cosgrove Animal Shelter, I’ve been having fun channeling my inner artist. While I’ll never be featured on any gallery wall, it’s very relaxing to work with color and learn from online tutorials. I also bought an adult paint by number kit — almost done with my peacock. You should try it!