Cozy distractions in the time of Corona

Even if you’re healthy and safe at home, you may be losing your mind right about now. I’ve put together a list of things (in no particular order) that might brighten your mood during this surreal quarantine from the rest of humanity.

— First of all, complete your 2020 Census! It may not be a cheerful activity, but it doesn’t take long and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when done.

— Please visit Sampy and friends in Finland. Seriously, CLICK THAT LINK! You can’t help but cheer up when you see Sampy, Hiskias, and Elmeri cavorting in the snow. They are magical creatures and they always fill my heart with joy.

— Pre-order The Jane Austen Society. Yes, there’s a new Austen-themed novel coming out, and Richard Armitage* is reading the audiobook! The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner, with starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, is “a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works.” Doesn’t it sound lovely? Speaking of sound, here’s a snippet of the performance by Armitage. The novel releases on May 26 in the U.S.

*NOTE: If you’re a fan of Richard Armitage’s voice, check out all the Audible books he has narrated. I was gobsmacked!

— Listen to Shedunnit, “the podcast that unravels the mysteries behind classic detective stories.” The latest episode is about Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, and thus of particular interest to me, but there’s much more you’ll wish to explore.

— If you’re a fan of Hallmark movies, particularly the Christmas ones, fill out the Merry Madness Christmas Bracket. You can create up to 10 brackets and maybe even win some cash. This form of March Madness may not be as exciting as the NCAA basketball tournament, but it’s a nice distraction.

–ALSO, Hallmark’s Spring Fling starts March 28. In the meantime try to catch a repeat of In the Key of Love or watch it online. We loved it.

— Reorganize your tea cabinet. (Or any cabinet/drawer that contains magical things but has become untidy.) Trust me, it feels SO GOOD. I started with my tea cabinet and then moved on to every cabinet in the kitchen. But really, I only moved on to the other, less interesting cabinets because I was still on a high from tidying my teas. Check it out:

–Watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. It’s adorable, but you do have to give it a couple of episodes before you connect to the characters. This show makes me so cheerful, and sometimes (more often in later seasons) it’s so poignant that it makes me cry. Another great option: Playing House. This is my ultimate comfort show. I have downloaded all three seasons to my phone, and I often watch it on airplanes when the turbulence is rattling me. Maggie and Emma are a lovable pair of friends, and the actresses are besties in real life.

— Read the Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths, or download the audiobooks from This incredibly appealing series of cozy mysteries will distract you from the harsh realities of our world. (Or just save you from boredom.)

— Make cocoa with marshmallows. I love this recipe from Epicurious.

— Take a long walk. It’s good for your body and will clear your mind. If the quiet streets freak you out, go home and drink more cocoa.

— Work a puzzle. There must be at least one of them lurking in a closet somewhere.

— Meditate. I like the guided meditations on the Calm App. They have wonderfully soporific sleep stories, too, if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night.

— Learn. Surely you’ve seen the ads for a free month of “The Great Courses” online? Go here for more information.

— Start or end your day with journaling. I’m addicted to this practice, and it has become my morning therapy. If you have no idea where/how to start, google “journal prompts” and you’ll find endless lists of questions and suggestions. As I’ve mentioned before (here, for instance), I love the journals from Paperblanks. But any old notebook will do.

— ETA: If all else fails, watch this: Coronavirus Rhapsody

Have a suggestion for this list? Do share in the comments!

Featured image credit: ID 85961367 © Stanislav Salamanov |

6 thoughts on “Cozy distractions in the time of Corona

  1. Michelle Lunsford

    And Richard Armitage* is reading the audiobook! (Michelle sequels with delight!!!) – Thank you for this bit of news.

    Here are some suggestions of my own… Snuggle with beloved pets. For that matter, snuggle with some beloved humans with whom you may be sharing the experience of homeboundness right now. Do you live alone and have no pet? Find a pillow or other comforting and beloved object and snuggle with it for a bit.

    Listen to *happy* music. Whether you need something upbeat or something calming during these days, listen and listen often. Ask friends and family what their playlist is. Share favorites as suggestions with one another. And if you’ve never tried an online or app music provider, many of them offer a free trial for a period of time – this may be just the opportunity to give one a try. Take advantage of this extra time we seem to have to do some music exploring. If nothing else, sign up for the “free” version and when the commercials come on use it as a cue to do something happy, like stretches, get up and walk about for a bit, or recite to yourself a positive truth or quote that boosts your mood.

    Whatever you find that works for you, I know what helps me most is to make sure I’m striving for balance between the ‘feel good activities’ and the ‘trying to stay informed’ activities (news, social media, internet, etc). It helps to take in at least as much good as we do the not-so-good, and the more we tip the scale toward the good I think the better. 🙂

    1. SoniaG Post author

      I love your suggestions! It is very calming to cuddle Cedric. At the same time, when he screams for attention, my stress levels rise. (But I’ve created this monster, so I really can’t complain.). As for music, I’ve used Pandora for a long time and haven’t always been that pleased with it. I might try Spotify for a change. I’d really like to find more “background music while working” options.

  2. Dee Dee Chumley

    Great suggestions, Sonia! I have planned for years to paint the inside of my closet. Your tea-organizing project has inspired me. And regarding Schitt’s Creek, here’s a bonus: Paying close attention to Moira’s lines will vastly improve one’s vocabulary!

    1. SoniaG Post author

      Paint that closet! Share a photo! Reward yourself. 🙂

      Oh, Moira. Such a character. I love her so. WHEN IS THE NEW/FINAL SEASON COMING TO NETFLIX?

  3. Deanne Luck

    I alternate between playlists and the YouTube “music for work” compilations like They have all sorts of styles. Especially helpful when I’m having more trouble concentrating than usual, because I’m not tempted to sing along. 😄
    P.S. Just checked out The Convenient Marriage to listen to. If I’ve read it before I don’t remember!

    1. SoniaG Post author

      Oh wow, I just checked that YouTube link and I really like the music! Are there commercial interruptions? If so, how often and how annoying? It’s hard to fathom how much access to music has changed since the olden days when we were recording songs from the radio with our little tape recorders. (Spoken like a granny, I know….)


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