Most of the United States, and much of the rest of the world, are ‘sheltering in place’ because of the Coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the globe. This means that vast numbers of people are cooped up at home, looking for ways to stay entertained, upbeat and sane. I’ve been curious to see what trends in behavior are discernible in this period of mass self quarantine.

I’ve read that online dance parties have been organized with Zoom and other Face-Time style technology. This is a creative and fun way to get exercise as well as a sense of community for people who miss being able to ‘party.’ Pilates and Yoga classes are also continuing on Zoom and other platforms. I have a friend in London who is a Pilates teacher and she says that she’s never been busier – all online! So this trend is not just an American phenomenon, it’s worldwide.

Holidays are inspiring family activities in large numbers. Families are having ‘costume days’, when everyone dresses up for Xmas or Halloween, etc. and they take family photos to send out to friends and family. Along these lines, many bored families are pulling out all the holiday decorations and festooning the house with Xmas lights and Halloween décor. Neighborhoods are organizing holiday ‘parties’ and people are driving around and admiring what their neighbors have done to liven up their homes. This is a great way to create fun, cheer and humor in depressing times.

Online tutors are seeing a surge in demand as are liquor delivery services. Weed stores in California have been deemed ‘essential’ businesses and have also seen an uptick in business. No surprise there!

Liquor deliveries are trending

One trend that brightens my heart is the increase in shelter pet fostering and adopting around the States. Many shelters had to close down their facilities during the pandemic so they put out emergency calls for foster parents to step up and take pets out of the shelters and into their homes on a temporary basis. Some animal shelters in New York City are running out of pets due to a huge surge in applications. One shelter in Bakersfield, CA, had 200 foster applications in 48 hours! They set up a drive-through service to adhere to social distancing rules. Matches between pets and fosters and adopters were made online and then the approved families drove up to the shelter and their dogs or cats were brought out to their cars. Drive through pet adoption! How cool!

Drive through dog fostering

Maybe it’s an increased sense of humanity and compassion today or that people are stuck at home and are bored and want something fun in their lives, like a new pet. Whichever it is, this is a wonderful trend and I hope it continues after people go back to their busy lives.

One way to tell what people are doing at home is to see what they’re buying in large quantities– like flour, yeast, and eggs. Shortages in all these items have been reported recently because there’s been a big boom in home baking and bread making. People can suddenly do time-consuming activities like proofing yeast, monitoring rising dough and meticulously navigating complex cake recipes. Baking is also something parents can do with kids and many families are turning daily baking into a family ritual. There is a therapeutic element to baking; the mindfulness required to bake is soothing and relaxing and stress baking is a healthy way to deal with today’s high level of anxiety. It supposedly gives people a sense of control in a time when we seem to have little control over anything in our lives.

People in large numbers are also turning to puzzles to occupy their time and puzzle makers suddenly can’t keep up with the surge in demand for puzzles. Their sales are more than tenfold what they were before and there is a backlog of orders. It’s beyond what they call ‘Christmas volume.

Another item that is flying off the shelves in record numbers is vegetable seed packets. Seed companies are being swamped by an onslaught of orders from backyard gardeners. People may suddenly see the value of growing their own food in times of potential shortages and in reaching some level of food independence. Or, like with baking, people are looking for productive activities to occupy their time and their children’s time.

This consumer frenzy is focused on vegetables high in nutrients, like kale, spinach, and other quick-growing, leafy greens. All kinds of beans are also big sellers because they’re healthy, easy to grow and versatile in cooking.

So people are getting very creative in the ways that they are choosing to occupy their enforced downtime. It’s encouraging to see some of these quarantine trends and I hope that when social distancing is in the distant past, people will continue to spend family time doing some of these emergency hobbies that popped into their lives in this odd time of crisis.

Categories: baking, Cooking, Coronavirus - Covid 19, Food

Tags: , , , ,

12 replies

  1. There seems to a positive outcome of this horrible situation. It is very inspiring to see how we are pulling together Ellin.


    • At least we have all slowed down! It’s also amazing how many things we find we don’t need after all.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m curious to see how much more work will be done from home after this is over. It obviously works just fine in most situations and it saves commuting time and cuts down on real estate space needed by the companies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Housebound with dogs who don’t know anything is is different. Power outage – 7 hours day before yesterday.
          Read by candlelight and oil lamps until I couldn’t see the print.


    • People seem to be staying positive and are very resourceful in finding ways to stay connected and busy. The ‘good news’ stories coming out of this time are truly awe inspiring.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I hope so too. It might be the silver lining of this dark cloud over us that people are rediscovering slow living.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always wonder why we were always in such a hurry. Especially on vacation. People race through castles like there’s a prize at the end of the tunnel.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My first husband was the kind of guy who scheduled too many things for each day, even on vacation and it did become a rush to get to them all. This was accomplished often at the expense of eating or sleeping adequately, even when we traveled with young kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, that’s another reason that I prefer to explore on my own rather than on an organised tour.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The only tour I went on was with my mother when she visited me in Israel. But it was great because we hired our OWN guide and we went really unique places. My father bitched about it, but he bitched about everything.

          Liked by 2 people

          • We did a couple of tours in Beijing because of language but one was just us, a student asked us if he could act as our tour guide to improve his English, his dad was a taxi driver. That was really good. The other was a small group of business men on a one day trip. I was the only woman. What I really wouldn’ t do is two weeks in a coach with 40 strangers and a different town every day.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Many of my friends always seem to be busy rushing from one thing to another. I had that kind of life style for many years but I’m much happier now in a slower paced, more quality oriented existence with room for choosing what to do in the moment instead of having everything planned out for weeks ahead.

      Liked by 2 people

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