JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: How to stop from going stir crazy

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I see lots of people walking. People are riding their bikes. My son works for Comcast and works right from his apartment. He gets out of bed, has his coffee and begins taking calls. People are staying home and watching movies, which is better than getting out and exposing yourself to a virus we can’t see. You’ve seen those ads for “Great Courses.” I sent away for a few and I hope to become an expert in drawing. I have always wanted to illustrate my own books.

We are all doing many things in order to keep from going stir crazy. You are probably doing some crazy things to occupy your time if you aren’t working from home. Even if you are, what do you do when you aren’t on the job? Here are a few more things for you to try.

If you haven’t already, make some noise. A global movement has begun to thank all of our front line health care workers by making some noise at 7 p.m. each evening. You can clap, blow a whistle, ring a bell or shout “hooray.” I have an old school bell I ring and Kathy blows a whistle.

Kathy and I started a 10-activity stay home “Olympic Games” event. Thus far she is leading 3 to 1. She beat me in the “Crossword Puzzle” challenge. She did the entire Pioneer puzzle in 15 minutes while I was only half through. She also won in Yahtzee and Rummikum.

I won the Gin Rummy event. We still have Sudoku, Scrabble, checkers, Trivia Pursuit and a few other events to do. In hindsight I should have included chess, which she doesn’t know how to play.


I cleaned out our spare bedroom, which has been serving as a “put it in there” kind of a room. I just have a few things stacked on the bed to put away. It hasn’t looked this good since we moved into our Lake Julia home. Do you have a closet that needs cleaning? How about the garage?

Don’t you have a lot of old photos in some boxes some place? Now is a good time to sort them. Put some aside to put in an album, give some away and junk the rest. It’s really a good feeling to throw away old photos. If you have real old family photos going back a generation or two, now is a good time to put the names of the people on the back of each photo.

People have been making a lot of phone calls and I am sure you have too. I received a call from Joy in Becida who thanked me for my last two columns. It made my day. It was even better than harvesting a gallon of maple syrup, which I also have been doing. It’s been a banner year so far. If you haven’t made a few calls, now is a good time.

If your kids are looking for something to do and I am sure they are, have them call a few classmates who would least expect a phone call from them. If they don’t want to call, have them write a note to someone.

If your kids are looking for something unique to do, have them write a book and illustrate it. Take two blank sheets of paper, fold them in half and you now have an eight page book. Put an illustration on a few of the pages.

The birds are returning. Keep a list of birds you see out of your windows. How many different birds can you see in one day, in one week? The robins have returned. I just saw a flock fly past my window to invade a crabapple tree.

Pretend you are taking a vacation but make it a staycation. What would you like to do on your staycation? Imagine you will be gone for four days. What special things can you plan for four days?

Do you want to really go stir crazy? Don’t use your phone or computer for a day. Can you do it? How much gumption do you have? Why not test it?


Make your own face masks. There are several YouTube videos that tell you how to make them without having to sew.

Start a hobby. If your kids don’t have a hobby, talk about what they would like to do. I have no research to support this but I think kids who have hobbies have a higher graduation rate than kids who don’t have a hobby.

Plan an ethnic dinner. It could be Scandinavian, Chinese, Mexican, Ojibway or German. Plan one a week.

Many organizations are really hurting for money. How much can you spare to make a donation? It doesn’t have to be much. Every little bit helps. What a wonderful feeling it is to give.

Next time you go through a drive-thru, give the clerk an extra dollar or $5 and have them deduct it from the person’s bill in the car behind you.

Try a new recipe. Finish your income tax. Plan your summer garden. Clean out your fishing tackle box. Give your pets a brushing.

Make a list of just three of the above things to try and see if you can’t stop yourself from going stir crazy. Whatever you do, ring a bell at 7 p.m. At least that will get you moving.

Riddle: What did the bee say to the flower? (Hey, Bud, when do you open?) Yes, the trees are beginning to bud and the pussy willows should be out. Go get some.



Each week on Facebook I give tips for parents (and teachers) about helping kids learn at home. I always mention how important it is to graduate 100% of our students. Thanks for helping kids remember this No. 1 goal. (Facebook: Project Graduate, 100%) Thanks to Bemidji Lions for helping to fund a second booklet containing tips for parents to help their kids learn. These 3,000 copies will be distributed in a week or so.)

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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