It’s a good idea to review your insurance coverage at least once a year to ensure that your family and belongings are appropriately protected. You’ll also want to review your coverage any time you’ve made a major purchase or experienced a significant life event, such as getting married, buying a house, sending your child off to college or receiving an inheritance. These life moments are considered insurance-qualifying events (also known as life-changing events for purposes of insurance), and it’s important to make sure your coverage is up to date to protect the people and things that matter most to you.
Have you had a life-changing event that might require an adjustment to your insurance coverage? Here’s some information to consider, which can help ensure that you’ve got the coverage you need to protect your loved ones and belongings. A good place to start is by doing an insurance review.
What Is an Insurance Review?
An insurance review is a thorough look at your insurance coverage – the policies protecting your vehicles, home, family members and other valuables. To review your insurance coverages, enlist the help of an experienced agent to tap into their expertise and knowledge. An agent will be knowledgeable about the available insurance products and can provide professional guidance on which coverages may be best for your unique situation.
The Benefits of an Insurance Review
An insurance review helps provide you the peace of mind that your most treasured belongings (and family members) are adequately protected in case something unexpected happens like a fire, theft or weather event. A review could also result in a potential reduction in your insurance costs if, for example, your agent discovers you are eligible for discounts, or that you require less coverage than you did previously.
Why (and When) Should You Review Your Insurance Coverage?It is critical to review your insurance coverage regularly to help ensure that your property, your possessions and your loved ones are well protected. During an insurance review, you should evaluate your home insurance (or renters insurance), car insurance and any other policies you have in your name.
When should you do a review?
When your circumstances have changed, or you have what’s considered a “qualifying event” or a “life-changing event” in insurance terms, you may want to consider an insurance review. As mentioned earlier, these events include things like having a baby, getting married and other big milestones. You should also consider an insurance review any time your policies are up for renewal. This is typically once per year.
What’s an Insurance-Qualifying Event?
Insurance-qualifying events are those moments when life circumstances change. Since these events can occur throughout the period of an insurance policy, you’ll want to check with your agent when an insurance-qualifying event occurs outside of the typical policy renewal time frame.
A qualifying or life-changing event, for insurance purposes, typically means:
Other Times You May Want an Insurance Review
In addition to those life events that might prompt an insurance review, there are other times that you may want to check with your insurance agent to review your coverage. For example, if you have expensive, high-value possessions on your property or are taking steps to increase the safety of your home, such as by adding an alarm system or upgrading your electrical system, those situations may warrant a fresh look at your insurance coverage. If natural disasters (for example, hurricanes) have increased in your area, you also may want to consider updating your policy to reflect these added risks. Check with your insurance agent for guidance.
How Often Should You Change Your Coverage?
Though you might review your policies annually, that doesn’t mean you’ll always need to make a change that often. In many cases, your current coverage may still be adequate. But generally, it’s a good idea to review all of your insurance needs at least once a year. If you have a major life change, contact your insurance agent or company representative, as the change in your life may have an impact on your insurance needs.1
How Current Is Your Household’s Insurance Coverage?
If you haven’t conducted an insurance review recently (or you’ve experienced a major life event or acquired additional property of significant value since you last renewed your policy), it might be time to evaluate your coverage.
The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force released a statement regarding the outlook for Summer 2020 today, after Governor Charlie Baker announced the reopening plan for the Commonwealth on Monday.
“We are cautiously optimistic that our friends, relatives and guests will return to the Cape this summer for respite and a return to a traditional vacation,” said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and Facilitator for the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force. “This optimism is supported by our recent traveler sentiment survey. The volume and pace of this summer is expected to differ from prior summers, but 67% of our opt-in visitor database is reporting they are likely to visit the Cape this year.”The Chamber is the region’s tourism council, which promotes Cape Cod and the Islands to visitors from around the world.
While beaches officially open statewide May 25th, most town-owned and Cape Cod National Seashore beaches on Cape Cod have remained open and will be open this Memorial Day weekend. There is hope that restaurants will begin to serve dine-in customers and expand to outdoor dining where able, beginning at some point in June. Many restaurants are open for take-out service with new safety and ordering protocols including dozens of the region’s famous take-out seafood establishments, clam shacks, and ice cream parlors. Accommodations of all types are clean, stocked with supplies and are scheduled by the state guidance to reopen in early June as well.
Governor Baker’s reopening plan lists a return to dine-in for restaurants (with a possible restriction to outdoor only seating) and allowance of leisure accommodations in phase 2 of his reopening plan, which would begin no earlier than June 8th. The Governor has made clear that decisions on moving to phases 2, 3 and 4 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will be dictated by public health surveillance data including rates of hospitalization, positive tests, and morbidity.
While Memorial Day has traditionally been the unofficial start to summer, this year’s calendar is creating an ironic opportunity, with 14 more days of summer in 2020, Northcross reported. Memorial Day falls this year as early as possible on May 25th, and Labor Day falls as late as it can, on September 7th; the additional 14 days of summer provide a cushion to summer business cycles that may be muted by stay at home orders just now lifting.
“Over the past several weeks as we have planned for reopening on Cape Cod our aim has been to save lives and livelihoods,” State Senator Julian Cyr (D- Truro) Member and Public Information Officer for the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force. “We all know that the 2020 summer season will be different than what we are used to; indeed we expect a muted season. But opportunities to enjoy this special place will still be plentiful this summer with all Cape Cod has to offer.”“Moving out of the ‘stay at home’ phase into the ‘start’ phase of reopening, allows everyone to plan, knowing there are at least three weeks between phases,” said Wendy Northcross. “Currently, accommodations and restaurants are serving guests under restrictions in Phase 1. Phase 2 plans for restaurants and accommodations and some attractions to reopen with guidelines.” Those guidelines include social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations training and cleaning rules, which apply to all business and social organizations. Northcross is participating in a working group organized by the Governor’s office on restaurants, accommodations, and tourism to advise on safe reopening prior to Phase 2, when these sectors are expected to begin reopening.
Given the highly seasonal nature of many businesses on Cape Cod, which serve their guests on a leisure travel experience during the warm weather months, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force has been instrumental in pushing for advancement of the reopening date and guidance for the region and state’s many tourism amenities,” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) Member of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force. “If we do this right, giving confidence to the consumer and ensuring the health and safety of our workforce and residents, we expect to have the reawakening of our tourism businesses in just a few weeks’ time.”
In order to help businesses follow best guidelines for mandatory safety practices, Sean O’Brien, Director of Barnstable Health & Environment and Member of the Cape Cod reopening Task Force has marshalled county resources to prepare information for businesses to access for best practices on cleaning and operations.
“We will be publishing FAQs on topics like testing, best practices for entities ranging from boating to farmer’s markets and everything in between,” said Sean O’Brien.
The County’s Department of Human Services will compile health metrics, and the Cape Cod Commission will publish a new economic data dashboard and track business impact through a new survey tool. All will be on one central Cape Cod website which will launch in the coming days.
“Guidance to towns on how to quickly ramp up outdoor dining, accommodate more pedestrian flow and town-regulated activities that may need adjusting at this time is being vetted and shared with the 15 towns,” said Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission and Member of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force.
“The single biggest determinative factor for what’s possible this summer season depends on the personal responsibility of residents and visitors alike,” said State Senator Julian Cyr. “That means everyone covering their nose and mouth with a face covering when unable to keep distance between others, washing hands and surfaces, maintaining distance from others, and watching out for symptoms. Adherence to these health precautions will both prevent spread of coronavirus and allow us to safely reopen.”“While we expect this summer to be different from any we’ve experienced in our lifetime, we do believe the lure of Cape Cod’s plentiful and beautiful beaches, miles of hiking and biking trails, 47 golf courses, boating and outdoor recreation are the right prescription at the right time. We will be here to safely and warmly welcome our guests,” said Wendy Northcross.
The kitchen is perpetually full of dishes, the living room is overwhelmed by abandoned pillow forts, and the laundry baskets are bafflingly full every day of the week.
“Homes are absolutely on overdrive,” said Dan DiClerico, a smart home strategist for HomeAdvisor. “It’s like having a newborn in the house.”
We’re using our homes differently now and it shows. The kitchen counter may double as a home office. The living room may now serve as a preschool playroom. Reset your thinking about how your home functions, and it is possible to find a rhythm that reduces the amount of grunt work you’re doing to keep the household running.
Bring order to this new configuration by designating spots for specific tasks. If the breakfast nook is now a tele-school classroom, dedicate the space to that task. If space is tight, and the area still needs to play double duty, clear the table of all schoolwork items before anyone eats, storing the materials in a bin or basket on a shelf until they need to be used again. (Of course, no one is coming over, so make do with what you have in the house.)
“Keep things grouped and corralled and contained — it helps,” said Clea Shearer, a co-owner of The Home a Nashville, Tenn., home organizing company. “With no system, it’s a free-for-all.”
If the children need a craft area, choose a table for the activity so glue sticks and glitter do not end up on the coffee table or sofa. Set specific times of day and locations for those messier activities, like finger paints or Play-Doh, and clean up immediately after playtime. If sticky hands do meet the wall, cleaning products like a Magic Eraser can help.The same goes for the living or dining rooms. Designate certain areas for play and others for lounging. Create a reading nook, and stock it with a cozy blanket and plenty of books. Everyone in the household should know that this is a space for quiet reading, and only such items belong there.
Get Control of the Kitchen
With everyone home all day, the kitchen may now feel like a 24-hour restaurant. Put a stop to that. Set times for meals and snacks, so everyone in the household eats together as much as possible. Make a rule that anyone who eats at off hours needs to clean their dishes and the counter before they leave the room.
To keep control of the dishes, limit how many the family uses each day.
Give each family member a set in the morning — a plate, a bowl, a mug and a glass — and they are responsible for rinsing it after each meal and reusing it throughout the day. With fewer dishes, you’ll run the dishwasher less often, extending the machine’s life and your patience.
You are likely using your kitchen differently, with on-the-go breakfasts replaced with morning pancakes, and takeout night swapped for slow cooker creations. All this extra cooking means more dishes to wash and more counters to wipe. Take a step back and reconsider the space and how you use it now.
Start with the pantry. Items like flour or rolled oats that once lived in the back may now be daily staples. Move those items to a more accessible spot and rotate the stuff you’re not using much anymore.
“If you’re making pancakes every morning, maybe your skillet is kept right on the burner,” said Faith Roberson, a Manhattan home organizer.
Plan meals ahead of time, taking advantage of multipurpose ingredients. This will also help you use what you have, and limit your trips to the supermarket. If you’re chopping carrots for a recipe, chop up a few more and store them in a tightly sealed container for tomorrow, or grate a few to use in a carrot salad another day. Aim for dishes that freeze well, too, like chili or stews: Double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another dinner the following week. By thinking ahead, you reduce the work you’ll do later, and make the most of the time you do need to spend on the task at hand.
Give the Appliances a Break
Your dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and water heater may all be getting more use than they bargained for. Now is not the time for anything to break down. You need them to be workhorses.
“It’s not like everything is going to start breaking down at once,” said Mr. DiClerico of HomeAdvisor, “but it is important to stay on top of preventive maintenance to avoid having to bring a repair man into the house.”
Your dryer is probably the riskiest appliance because the vent needs to be periodically cleaned of lint once or twice a year. Clogged dryer vents can cause house fires.
Normally, this is a task best left to professionals, but Mr. DiClerico recommends using a Lint Lizard, a flexible vacuum cleaner attachment designed to suck up lint, as a temporary alternative. Your washing machine should be able to handle the extra loads. However, to sanitize it every few weeks, run an empty cycle on hot with a cup of bleach.
If your dishwasher is getting extra use, sanitize it every few weeks by running an empty cycle with a bowl of white vinegar on the bottom rack. Clean the filter monthly — or every two weeks, if it’s running double time. If you have a hood over your range, change the filter if you’ve been doing a lot of cooking. (Check your manufacturers websites on how to change filters.)
Your water heater may also be working extra hard. Read the instruction manual for maintenance recommendations, as many heaters should be drained periodically. This can usually be done with a hose attachment at the bottom of the cylinder.
Less stuff means less to clean up. In a home with small children, limit the available toys at any given time, setting the rest away in a closet to cycle through later. With fewer toys available, you may find that the children are more likely to focus on one for a longer period of time.
“Be deliberate about what is accessible and what is not,” said Karri Bowen-Poole, the chief executive of Smart Playrooms, a Westchester design company. Store the toys in easily accessible bins so the children can play (and tidy up) independently. Label the bins with words or pictures to make cleanup easier for small children.
Resist the lure of online impulse buys. More stuff means more clutter. Instead, hunt for activities among the items that already exist in your home. “Recognizing that less is more can be beneficial,” Ms. Bowen-Poole said. “Put a stapler out for a 6-year-old. Show them how to make books.”
Set Schedules and Dole Out JobsWith no one ever leaving the house, days can bleed from one to the next, making it difficult to keep on top of chores, activities and tasks. But people crave order, especially at a time when nearly every routine has been upended. To stay on top of all that needs to be done, add some structure to the day, and to how the home will be used.
Figure out the chores and divide them among the members of the household — anyone who’s old enough to walk is old enough to do something. “Systems and schedules are going to save all of us,” said Regina Leeds, a Los Angeles organizer and the author of “One Year to an Organized Life.” You can either rotate through responsibilities with a chart, or everyone can choose ones they like and be responsible for getting those tasks done. But agree as a household about how you will go about collectively getting the work done.
Monday could be laundry day and Saturday bathroom cleaning day. Daily household rules help, too. If you finish an activity, put it away. If you take cereal out from the cabinet, put the box back and wash the bowl immediately. Before bedtime, everyone in the family helps tidy up the living spaces so they’re ready for the next day.
“Do a pass at the end of each night,” Ms. Shearer said. “It takes five minutes to tidy up your living space at the end of each day.”
Liken the task to making the bed in the morning — end the day with a clean slate and the next one will start more smoothly. Perhaps, with a little order, the work will feel more manageable.
Nearly 59% of small businesses say their revenue decreased by more than 75% since the coronavirus became a widespread concern, according to a Main Street America survey of more than 5,850 small businesses.
If the crisis continues, nearly 7.5 million small businesses may be at risk of closing in the next five months, according to the survey, and 3.5 million are at risk of closing in the next two months.
The federal government has issued the Payment Protection Program, which offers $349 billion in forgivable, low-interest loans for small businesses. Still, many small businesses remain concerned about staying afloat, and many individuals are wondering what they can do to help.
Here are four simple ways to help small businesses you care about in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Keep spendingMovie theaters, restaurants, local gyms, and retailers are all hurting. But there are ways to keep spending at these places even while you keep your distance.
Many of us, we purchase things online from Amazon. ... Take a couple more minutes to see what [small] businesses in your area might have the same product.
Let business owners know what you needSome small businesses may be able to adapt their services to offer ones their community needs at the moment.
“Particularly small business owners are more flexible to pivot,” says Dan Honig, owner of the Happy Valley Meat Company, whose business supplied meat from local farms to restaurants. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the company has started shipping and selling meat directly to consumers.
“If all of a sudden I’m realizing, ‘Oh, people are looking for X, Y, or Z,’” says Honig, “maybe that’s an opportunity that I can jump on.” For example, distilleries and breweries throughout the country have started producing hand sanitizer, and some eateries are now offering customers toilet paper along with food and beverage orders.
Reach out to small businesses you patronize on Instagram, Facebook, or through an email they list on their website, and let them know if there’s something relevant you need right now. Even if they can’t supply it, maybe there’s another business in their network that can.
Share their storiesWhat with the chaos of day-to-day life since the stay-at-home orders began, struggling businesses “may not be top of mind” for a lot of people says Campbell. That’s understandable. But sharing their stories throughout social media and in your networks can help raise awareness about their plights and what services they’re offering.
“If there’s a brand that you like,” says Honig, “just share it around to your network and then hopefully more of the small businesses go viral.”
If there’s a brand that you like, just share it around to your network and then hopefully more of the small businesses go viral.
Offer up your skill setAs some companies try to figure out how they can survive and shift their business models to meet the needs of quarantined customers, they may need help with tasks like marketing, web design, or delivery. Reach out to your favorite small businesses and let them know what skills you can offer to help sustain them.
“If you’re a programmer or you’re a digital marketing specialist,” says Honig, “reach out to all your favorite brands that are pivoting because there’s a ton of work that goes into starting a brand new business.”
Some companies might be able to pay or offer you their goods for free in exchange for your efforts, but if you can afford to volunteer, it could go a long way toward helping a small business you value survive.
Life as we know it has changed dramatically in the coronavirus era, affecting work, school, travel, and more. And it's shed light on the way we live at home, underscoring the fact that there's nothing more important than safe shelter for our family.
To that end, COVID-19 is influencing what people want to see in home design.
"After the pandemic, our homes are going to reflect the lessons learned during this painful period, such as ways to disinfect ourselves and our possessions," says Jamie Gold, a wellness design consultant and author of "Wellness by Design."
In a postvirus world, we won't soon forget our shelter-at-home memories. Going forward, if there's even the slightest chance (god forbid) that we'll need to repeat this awful practice, homeowners may want to prepare by buying or renovating a house with amenities that'll make it just a bit more bearable.
To help, here are 10 features to look for in a new home—or demand in your current one—once we've bid the coronavirus adieu.
1. More bathrooms
A family member who's caught a virus needs his own loo to keep germs in one place, so the addition of a second (or third or fourth) bathroom in homes will be important.
"This option used to be about convenience, but in the age of quarantines, sharing a bathroom could be dangerous," says David Sipp, owner of two Mr.Handyman franchises in Indiana.
And since hand-washing is a constant nowadays, a half-bathroom or even just a sink right by a home's entrance may become fairly standard.
"There's renewed focus on [sinks near front entrances] in an attempt to get people to wash before entering the home," says architect Kobi Karpof the eponymous firm.
2. Better mudrooms
Taking off your shoes before entering the house has long been recommended to cut back on grime and germs. But now that a recent study found that the novel coronavirus can cling to shoes' soles and then get tracked inside, even more people may start removing their shoes right as they enter a house. This could make the presence of mudrooms—including larger, souped-up versions with seating areas and cubbies—more appealing than ever.
3. Bigger pantries
You probably weren't alone if you found your food storage was lacking in the early days of the coronavirus—and the fix will be bigger and better pantries. Room for nonperishables is key so you can cut back on the number of grocery store trips you make.
No room for a dedicated pantry? Sipp anticipates a need for more food storage like shelving and cabinets in other parts of the home, like the garage and basement.
"And larger pantries won't necessarily live in the kitchen area, but will instead be more of an add-on in the laundry room or entryway," says Gold. The reason: Deliveries can be made contact-free, away from living areas, and trips into the house will be reduced.
4. More freezer space
Remember the old-fashioned chest freezer your grandmother had? Look for it again, along with more built-in freezer drawers, in future home design. Panicky pandemic shoppers are snapping up all manner of foods, and the result has been a sold-out stock of freezer units.
5. Bathroom bidets
The French know a thing or two about healthy bathroom design—and we're finally taking notice. Bidet use was already on the rise before the coronavirus, and since toilet paper shortages have hit hard, more and more folks are looking to install this amenity.
Bidets are gentle and hygienic, and even when TP is back on store shelves, these devices will still be in demand, says Gold.
Want something cheaper than installing a whole new appliance? Consider the washlet, which is a seat fitted to an existing toilet that's equipped with a spray nozzle.
"There's less need for tissue with a washlet," says Melanie Turner, an architect at Perkins & Will.
6. Closed-off spaces
"COVID-19 has brought to light a heightened desire for discrete areas, no matter how small, and convertible spaces like guest rooms that can be used for playtime or as a homework spot," says Turner. But open floor plans probably won't disappear—instead, a better balance between private, semiprivate, and public spaces is coming.
"The reason is the need for homes to multitask better, which means if you have two partners suddenly working from home and a couple of kids home schooling, you'll have more quiet, separate spaces for everyone to function effectively," says Gold.
7. Brass and copper fixtures
Adapting to a new, more germ-conscious way of living starts with a return to copper and brass (a copper-zinc combo) for doorknobs and fixtures. In fact, brass kills bacteria more effectively than stainless steel, according to research.
Brass and copper are excellent metals for the home because both are naturally antimicrobial and corrosion-resistant.
"Copper is one of the best for its antimicrobial properties and has been used for decades in plumbing—and brass and bronze are also very popular because of their inherent ability to kill germs, plus over time they give a desirable rustic look,” said Karp.
8. Hands-free light switches, faucets, and more
"We already have hands-free faucets, light switches, and voice-control features to operate windows, showers, thermostats, and sound systems. Plus there's a hands-free door opener that's being introduced for homes," points out Gold, who anticipates seeing them in homes now more than ever.
"We've had touchless entry and infrared detection systems in place for years in hotels, so I expect to see these technologies applied for opening home cabinets, fridges, and drawers in the near future," adds Karp.
9. Closed HVAC systems
For people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues, more sophisticated HVAC systems, including those that can be closed from the outside world for limited amounts of time, might become more common.
"We have to weigh the benefits of fresh air with the desire to temper or limit intake at very specific times," says Turner.
10. Nicer home offices
This one's obvious, and it runs the gamut from a fully equipped workspace in a separate room to smaller iterations like nooks under the stairs or a retrofitted closet.
Having a quiet area in which to work will be a must-have, and if you can include the ability to work while standing up or moving, your wellness will be enhanced, says Gold.
"As people video chat and Zoom more with colleagues from home, they're becoming hyperaware of the changes they'd like to see in a home office, including better lighting and more storage. And since a return to the workplace will be gradual, high demand will continue for an office that's comfortable and functional,".
The average cost to wall off a room can run you anywhere from $2,000 to a whopping $10,000. It’s certainly one of the more effective and permanent options, but not everyone’s existing budget is that flexible, nor is everyone able to renovate their space (we’re looking at you, renters). Whether you’re in the process of saving up for a true wall or you’re simply seeking creative, decorative room divider ideas, consider these seven designer suggestions.
1 Tall, Closed Shelving
Short of building an actual wall, a very tall closed shelving unit will instant create division between two spaces in a room. Alessandra Wood, the vice president of style at Modsy, recommends something akin to the Ikea Billy System (starting at $69; ikea.com) or Ikea Pax System (starting at $330; ikea.com). “These pieces come in an extra tall version, so they sit just below the ceiling giving the illusion of a wall. They also add a ton of additional storage, so they’re super useful,” she says.
Since the units will be floating in a room, you’ll want to make sure everything is anchored in so it doesn’t tip over. “When I did this in my former studio, I actually put a desk on the backside, bolted everything together, then bolted it to the wall,” says Wood.
2 Open Shelving
If you want to create division without completely enclosing a space, then open shelving could be the perfect room divider idea.
“I love this option because the bookshelf itself lends the height and depth of what a wall would naturally provide, but it offers you more opportunity to add storage or decor to a room while letting light flow through,” says Lindsay Pumpa, an interior designer based in South Florida. “Installing this is as simple as deciding where you want the room divide," she says. "Because this is a piece of furniture, you don't have to worry about it being permanent and you can move or adjust it as your needs change.”
A heavy, wide piece will help prevent the shelf from toppling (bolting it down is also a great safety measure). Pumpa recommends the Modloft Pearl Bookcase ($1,099; modloft.com), and the CB2 V Bookcase-Room Divider ($799; cb2.com) is another option.
3 Metal Chain Link Curtain
“When you want to break up a room and make an impact, a chain curtain will accomplish both,” says interior designer Katie Stix, the design director at Anderson Design Studio. “I like this wall alternative because it’s groovy, different, and luxurious feeling, and it can even be considered art. At the same time, it breaks up a large space to add drama and some privacy.” You’ll likely need to have a piece custom installed by a local metal artist, or you can consult a company such as Boegger, which offers a variety of metal curtains to choose from.
4 Sofa and Credenza Combo
Strategic furniture placement is a simple way to organically divide your room. For instance, a sofa paired with a console table or credenza can create an intimate living room on one side and whatever your heart desires on the other—say, a dining space, reading nook, or children’s play area. Or if you’re in a studio apartment, an extra tall headboard also offers a sense of division.
“By utilizing furniture rather than building a wall, you have the option of moving the items around and it won’t block the natural light, which ultimately makes a space feel larger,” says Diana Weinstein, an interior designer and founder of DW Design in New Jersey. “When creating the illusion of division within a room with furniture, I recommend investing in quality pieces that you can have for years and move to different rooms if you get tired of the design layout.”
One option Weinstein recommends is pairing CB2’s Avec Emerald Green Sofa with Brass Legs ($1599; cb2.com) with the Coyne Credenza ($999; cb2.com).
5 Floor to Ceiling Light Installation
Let there be light and artful division. A floor to ceiling light installation is similar to the metal curtain idea, only it doubles as an ambient light source. Kelly Dunn, the head interior designer at Fathom Design Company, says one of her favorites is the Abacus Floor to Ceiling LED Linear Suspension ($2600 to $3700; lumens.com), which isn’t as cost effective as some options, but still offers a striking solution.
“This particular piece can be customized to any height or width and each of the bulbs move on a vertical slide, so you can use it as a living element to add a unique vibe depending on your needs for the evening,” she says. You can also DIY a series of down-lit strings or install curtain string lights, such as Twinkle Star 600 LED Window Curtain String Lights ($32; amazon.com), if you’re seeking a less expensive option.
6 Wooden Dowel or Rope Installation
For a similar floor-to-ceiling room divider idea that doesn’t involve plugging anything in or working with an electrician, opt for a DIY wood or rope installation. "Working in NYC residential, I design a lot of small spaces. One of my favorite recent techniques is to hang wood dowels from the ceiling,” says Dunn. “It separates the space organically while adding texture and filtering light nicely. It also helps your overall space look larger, keeps your natural light intact, and still gives you the vibe of multiple spaces in a single room.”
Pumpa agrees, adding that rope also works. She says, “I love a rope wall because it divides the space and adds a unique decorative element. Plus, you can take creative liberties in the way you fasten the rope—straight tie versus a zig-zag design—and choose whether you want a cleaner rope versus a looser hemp weave.” She says you can either create a movable stand-alone piece, or anchor the rope to the ceiling and floor for a more permanent feel.
7 Plants and Large Planters
Those with a green thumb can utilize plants and large planters to create a faux half wall. “Not only will you be creating a sense of privacy within a space, but you are bringing in color, a feeling of life, and great energy with live plants. And it’s no secret that plants are also great for the quality of air,” says Weinstein. “There are a ton of great options in a variety of sizes, and by playing with the height of plants you can create as much division to a space as necessary.” Try West Elm's Citycape Planters, Tall Double ($299; westelm.com) with your favorite plants.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to sweeping changes and disruptions in nearly every aspect of daily life. With mandates and guidelines changing all the time, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by our own anxieties. It is important to practice empathy during this time, not only for others but for yourself as well.
There are many benefits to practicing empathy. Empathizing with others can help you feel less lonely and more connected. It also increases the likelihood that people will reach out and help others when they need it.
In addition to boosting social connectedness and increasing helping behaviors, empathizing with others also improves your ability to regulate your emotions during times of stress. Feeling empathy allows you to better manage the anxiety you are experiencing without feeling overwhelmed.
A Detailed Timeline of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Cases According to the CDC, WHO
Ways to Build Empathy
Some people are just empathetic by nature, but there are plenty of things that you can do to cultivate your own empathy skills. Research has also shown that empathy is an emotional skill that can be learned.1
Listening to others, engaging in acts of service, observing the empathetic actions of others, and imagining yourself in another person's situation are all strategies that can help build empathy.
Here are some things you can do to try to stay empathetic even when it feels like staying in touch with other people is more difficult than ever.
In a time when people are practicing social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine, it’s all too easy to turn inward and focus solely on yourself or your family unit. But research suggests that caring about others is one of the best ways to fight feelings of isolation.
Showing empathy and engaging in helpful actions, whether it’s donating to a charity or writing a supportive note to a friend, can increase your feelings of social connectedness.
So while you may be keeping your physical distance from others to prevent the spread of the virus, it doesn’t mean you need to be emotionally distant. Show concern and stay connected to the people in your life.
Consider some of the ways that the pandemic has affected your life. Are you working from home or on paid leave? Are your kids out due to school closures? Do you have plenty of food in your pantry and freezer?
Now think about how others might answer those same questions depending on their situation and circumstances. Many people have lost their jobs and are out of work, others have no choice but to continue working. Some people are worried about how to find childcare as they continue to work, and many may be struggling to find or pay for basic necessities.
Empathy and understanding are a critical part of compassion and, more importantly, action. Think of others and look for ways that you can help.
Take it easy on yourself and others. It’s ok if you aren’t managing to do it all. It’s ok if your kids are watching a little too much tv or if you aren’t keeping up on your usual routines. It’s a lot to deal with and everyone copes with stress, anxiety, and fear differently. Cut yourself some slack and practice self-compassion.
Working parents are struggling to manage kids who are home all day now that many schools have closed. Not only is the work situation unsettled, but parents are also trying to help kids with distance learning.
Those working in healthcare and finance are busier than ever. Not only are they dealing with the stress of being on the front line of a public health crisis, but they may also be struggling to find someone to watch their own kids while they are at work.
We all have our own anxieties, but that doesn't mean we should lose our kindness in the face of a crisis.
Sometimes we may be quick to criticize others without making the effort to understand how their situation and experiences are impacting their choices. Yes, it’s easy to lob criticism at others in a time of crisis, particularly those who don’t seem to be taking the situation seriously. Try to remember that everyone copes differently. People may also feel overwhelmed by conflicting information from news sources and social media.
While you cannot control how others behave, you can control your own actions and do your part by sharing health information from legitimate sources. Ask others to observe your desire for physical distance and try to gently encourage friends and family to stay home, wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing, and self-isolate if they experience symptoms.
In the midst of something that seems overwhelming, helping others can provide a sense of control and empowerment. When the world feels unpredictable and chaotic, finding tangible ways to do good and make things better for someone else can be a source of comfort.
Some ways that you can practice empathy:
One of the best things you can do to support others is to simply stay home. Follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC. Avoid groups, stay home as much as possible, and practice social distancing. Staying out of the way helps prevent the spread of the virus, which helps ensure that healthcare professionals and resources are not overwhelmed.
A Word From Very Well
Empathy is always important, but it is particularly vital during a public health crisis. Practicing empathy during the COVID-19 pandemic not only opens your mind to what others are experiencing, but it can also provide social connectedness that can help combat feelings of isolation. During a large-scale event, it is important to remember that everyone is in this together—think of others, reach out however you can, and remember to ask for help if you need it.
Regardless of what’s going on in the world, storm season will continue right on schedule. That means now is the time to prepare your property for potentially severe weather.