Message from the President
This has been a difficult week for me and I’m sure many of you are feeling the same. The news from New York City and our own corner of Western New York has been grim and the pandemic continues to hit closer to home for many of us. I’m anxiously monitoring my 72-year-old father’s fever from afar. One of my closest friends, who has underlying lung issues, is quarantined at home awaiting test results and struggling to breathe.
I already suffer from anxiety and the collective panic that grips the globe is taking its toll on my mental health. So what am I doing to combat this? I’m trying to focus on self-care. Therapeutic baths. Virtual yoga with Heart Fire Yoga. Telehealth appointments with a mental health practitioner. Regular check-ins with family and friends via Zoom. Stress baking (this week I made maple-sweetened pumpkin muffins). Comfort TV (I’m currently re-watching the Good Wife and catching up on Schitt’s Creek and Grace and Frankie). And of course, lots and lots of dog walks.
It’s also been helpful for me to focus on little ways to help others in our community. Donating blood. Putting a teddy bear in my window as part of my neighborhood’s “Bear Hunt.” Buying gift cards from local businesses shuttered during the crisis. Checking in on vulnerable neighbors.
And I remind myself every day to be grateful. For my health, my friends and family, my bar association colleagues, my job, my home, food in the pantry, toilet paper (at least for now). And for everyone on the front lines of this crisis: hospital workers, parademics, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, public servants, pharmacy techs, and many, many more.
Wishing you peace in this difficult time,
For Your Physical & Mental Health:
Heart Fire Yoga, a queer-owned, inclusive, and community-focused yoga studio, is offering virtual yoga classes starting March 23. You can sign up for 30 days for $40 or buy single passes. https://www.heartfire-yoga.com/
Power Yoga Buffalo is offering yoga classes on Zoom. Check out their Facebook and Instagram feeds for scheduling info. https://poweryogabuffalo.com/
Be Embodied Mindful Living & Yoga Study has a number of online resources, including a Sanity During Covid series available at https://bemindfulliving.com/blog
Nicole Chumsky, LMHC, has a series of online meditations available on Insight Timer at https://insig.ht/7b9ZlVK234
For the next two months, FabFitFun TV (https://tv.fabfitfun.com/) is opening their library of workouts to non-members.
Working at home and looking for a break from your desk? Try the 7 Minute Workout in any room in the house, no equipment needed. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/activity/the-7-minute-workout
The meditation app Headspace is offering free access to a mediation series called “Weathering the Storm” for these uncertain times. www.headspace.com/covid-19
From Beth Solek, President-Elect:
I thought I’d share some of the little things that are getting me through...
1. Luxe Loungewear: Nothing like statement dressing to mentally prepare for a day at the office, and by office, I mean kitchen. https://shop.laceandday.com/ Lace and Day has a variety of items that make dressing up for work fun. Shop local!
2. Social Distancing. Erie County parks are still open. Sprague Brook Park has a three mile loop of rolling hills that is perfect for a stroll with the human and fur babies or a run for those looking to amp up their cardio.
3. Designated Space to work out. A perfectly placed yoga mat, weights, and flowers cannot be ignored. https://www.corepoweryoga.com/ has free online classes. PYB is charging $5 per class.
From Ashley Lowry, Local Director:
Radio.com has a list of podcasts to keep your kids engaged.
One of my favorite online teachers is offering a free 7-day challenge to help align our chakras during this time of fear and change:
She also offers a TON of free videos on her YouTube channel for anyone who wants to try something new, and/or focus on a certain style of yoga or part of the body: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrettLarkinYoga/featured
For Kids (and their exhausted parents):
From Kelly Gotham, State Director:
A couple of things we have been using to occupy my kid -
1) The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a Home Safari Facebook Live at 3:00 p.m. every day where they highlight one of their animals and share an at-home activity.
2) Daily Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems on YouTube
3) The New England Aquarium hosts virtual visits on Facebook and YouTube every day at 11 a.m.
4) Facebook Messenger Kids for my daughter to video chat with her friends
From Immediate Past President Kara Addelman:
The author of Pete the Cat, James Dean, is hosting a daily Instagram story at noon where he shows the audience how to draw a character and reads one of his books. My 4 year old looks forward to it every day. On Instagram, follow @petethecatofficial
Kara also recommends: (1) doors, (2) designating day sweatpants and night sweatpants, and (3) snacks, snacks, and more snacks.
From Kara Eyre, Working Parents Committee Co-Chair:
ABC Mouse (abcmouse.com) and Adventure Academy (adventureacademy.com) - Fun and educational games for kids.
Cosmic Kid Yoga on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga)
Koo Koo Kanga Roo (https://www.youtube.com/kookookangaroo) and GoNoodle (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2YBT7HYqCbbvzu3kKZ3wnw) have great little dance lessons for kids.
Learn to draw videos on YouTube are fun for all ages and my kids are obsessed with them!
HeadsUp has a kids version for non-readers and it’s quite fun! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/heads-up-kids/id937976391
If you have a piano or a keyboard, the Simply Piano App has little lessons and will teach you how to pound out chords so you can have family music time.
And lastly - I’m not gonna lie - I shelled out the money for Disney Plus. It has been WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY.
From Darice Hickey, Treasurer:
This is the website I have been using for my preschooler while she is out of school. It has lessons for all ages and is free!
From Local Director Anna McCarthy:
The WNED Learn at Home website provides a daily “learn at home” schedule, and has a link to the WNED PBS Parents & Teachers Facebook Group, which provides daily curriculum from PBS, NPR, and other public media network resources.
From Christina Akers-DiCenzo, Working Parents Committee Member:
I immediately invested in an Amazon Echo Show so my kiddos can talk to their family/friends using a screen to video-chat. It’s a privacy sucker and I otherwise loathe these types of products but I did it so we all can stay easily connected. It connects to Skype. I’m sure there are more free options out there (Facetime, Zoom, etc.) but I wanted something tangible and bigger than a phone.
Ways to Give Back:
From Local Director Christine Vogel:
Here are some things I have done/am doing that helped me tremendously emotionally and make me feel like I'm doing my part:
If you're a landlord consider waiving all or part of April rent for your tenant(s). Do this either conditionally or unconditionally. A condition could be a waiver ii exchange for mowing, shoveling, painting, bringing garbage totes to the road, weeding, digging a garden, etc.
Pick up garbage in your neighborhood. Spring is always a gross time for garbage in the streets especially along the curb. Wear gloves! It's an outdoor activity and is rewarding.
Offer free notary services to folks in your neighborhood (do it on your terms like meet outside only and IDs to be slid across the hood of a car.)
Join organizing and volunteering efforts through social media groups like Buffalo Mutual Aid Network. Also check with your local Block Clubs and neighborhood FB groups.
From Joanna Chen, State Director:
Volunteer to deliver meals at https://www.feedmorewny.org/volunteer
From their website:
FeedMore WNY has an urgent need for volunteers to help during the COVID-19 response. We are in need of home-delivered meal volunteers to bring nutritious food to our homebound and elderly neighbors throughout Erie and Niagara counties. We also are in need of warehouse volunteers to help package emergency food packs for those in need, including children and families struggling while schools are closed. If you are able to assist with these tasks, please complete the form below and a member of our staff will be in touch with more information. Thank you for helping our vulnerable neighbors during this time of need!
Support the local restaurants, bartenders, servers, and kitchen staff who are out of work during this crisis and help them get back on their feet when businesses reopen by donating to the WNY Hospitality Relief Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/wny-hospitality-relief-fund
Donate blood! Western New York is facing a blood shortage due to the pandemic. Find out more and book an appointment at https://www.connectlife.org/get-involved/donate-blood
Where to Eat:
Support our local economy and get some delicious food at the many restaurants that are working through the crisis. There are several sites compiling lists of restaurants (and bars) open for takeout: