Leah’s Journal: I spent a week inside my apartment. Here’s how I still ran errands, worked out and ate well.

Leah Linscheid At Home

Staying home is hard.

That’s the first lesson I learned while socially distancing and working from home this week. My managers at News 3 Now asked me to self-quarantine after I returned from a week-long vacation in the Florida Keys, just as news of the coronavirus broke in mid-March. I decided to use the time as a social experiment of sorts – can I spend seven days cooped up in my apartment, stay sane while I’m at it, and explore resources to share with my Madison neighbors who might be asked to do the same?

While I’m by no means an expert on working from home, I did learn some lessons during my time going live from the living room – starting with: this is a lot to ask of folks. It is challenging to self-isolate; to connect with your family through Facetime instead of through a hug; to miss those community interactions at the gym and the grocery store. But it is doable, and it is important.

This week, we offered up advice on how to keep your home clean and your heart happy while self-quarantining. We answered questions about who needs to get tested, especially if you’ve been recently traveling like me. We talked about which professions are most at-risk of exposure to coronavirus, and we shared a list of online resources for parents who are juggling work and kids. I also talked about the hard conversations I had with my parents on their risk for catching the coronavirus.

Here are some other ways I made it through a week of socially distancing.Target Drive Up

I still ran errands – with the help of the Drive Up option at Target. I needed paper towels, body wash, shampoo and a pull-up bar (hey, the gyms are closed – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do). I ordered online, selected the “Drive Up” option, and paid through the website.

Two hours later, I showed up at my nearby Target, pulled into the designated Drive Up parking, and a cashier handed over my items with a quick scan of my phone. Several area grocery stores also offer pick-up and delivery options; I never had to come into contact with anyone to get the stuff I needed.

I ate out, too – or rather, ate in – with the help of EatStreet. Eatstreet InThe company has been offering free delivery from a host of local restaurants. It’s a great way to benefit the local restaurant industry that has taken a major hit, with the closure of establishments statewide this week. My fare of choice – red curry from Thai Basil on Madison’s west side. I tipped my driver via the app and instructed him to drop off my food outside my home; no contact with humans, but I still got my curry fix while helping to keep my favorite lunch joint in business.

Fitness is a major part of my life, and coronavirus has taken that from me. I’m a member to three gyms in Madison – Burn Boot Camp, barre3 (where I’m also an instructor) and solidcore (a company that had to lay off 98 percent of its workforce this week as it shuttered all 72 locations); without that sense of community, I’ve found myself at a loss. How do I work out without the support of my gyms, without that drive from the woman pushing herself harder right next to me? Fortunately, the fitness community has stepped up.

Barre3 ZackBurn Boot Camp has offered Facebook workouts this week, and barre3 has opened up its online membership option to everyone at a discounted price. I’ve jumped in on Instagram Live workouts posted by solidcore, and I even tried out a workout posted to Facebook Live by Canvas Club Boxing (big shout-out to Ernest for kicking my butt virtually!). In turn, we have tried to give back to our gyms – many members are offering to continue to pay their membership fees, so companies can pay their employees. We may be stuck at home and using water jugs for weights, but this fitness community is stronger than ever.

There are options for entertainment, too. Locally, the DIY studio Revel Madison is offering Craft Kits as a fun diversion for your family – you can choose from options like etched slate coasters, canvas boards and confetti-filled frames. You might have heard about the Nextflix Party option, a new Google extension that allows you to binge-watch your favorite flicks with your friends. Or you can follow my lead and find your entertainment in torturing your fiancé – I forced Zack into a barre workout with me in our living room.  At least I didn’t ask karaoke of him, as suggested by my old boss Tom via the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (but if you and your family take part, please send me a video!).

This social experiment of mine was not easy – but as I near the end of my time in self-quarantine, I know our time practicing these unprecedented measures is far from over. I will continue to utilize many of the lessons I learned this week, even as I return to the anchor desk Monday morning. It will only get harder to go days, then weeks, without seeing my parents, missing my gym time and longing for the social connection we treasure here in Madison. My sacrifices, though, are so much less than those who have lost their loved ones and their jobs. This is a small ask of us to help protect the most vulnerable in our society. We are all in this together, and we will make it through.

Do you have questions about self-quarantining or suggestions on how to get through this time together? Email me at llinscheid@wisctv.com, and stay well, friends.

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