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Good News You Can Actually Use!

by Carolyn Walder

“Your choices of action may be limited—but your choices of thought are not.”  

—Esther Hicks, Motivational Speaker and Author

We are reaching out to our clients again in the hope that you are all doing well and are staying healthy.  We urge you to abide by the CDC warnings and stay home to the extent possible to try to limit the spread of this highly contagious disease.  Although we are learning more each day about the virus, we know that the simple act of staying home and limiting your trips will be the most helpful.  If you must go out, we suggest that you carry antibacterial wipes and wipe down surfaces you come in contact with (e.g., grocery carts) and wash your hands as soon as possible.  We know you have heard this before, but we felt it couldn’t hurt to say it one more time!

If you have been watching the news networks, then you have probably received more than your fair share of grim news.  This message takes a different approach: we are sharing useful tips and positive information that we have collected over the past week.  We hope this dose of “feel good” medicine will be helpful to you!

Income Tax Update - As you may or may not know, the U.S. Treasury has delayed the filing date for 2019 U.S. income tax returns until July 15 of this year.  That means that you do not have to file an extension if you anticipated filing one, and you have an extra three months to get your taxes done and send in any payment due!  Beware, though, your state taxes may or may not be affected. The current responses for those states that have modified their income tax return schedule are found in the AICPA State Tax Chart. You will note that Maryland has extended the payment due date until July 15 and will waive all interest and penalties if owed, however, your 2019 Maryland State income tax return is still due to be filed on April 15, 2020.

Resources for Parents with Children – You can find a wealth of information on everything from the status of school closings to childcare resources to learning activities for homebound children. The link is https://schoolclosures.org/. There are some really interesting resources in the links provided, including connecting with other parents through Facebook groups like the Secular, Eclectic, Academic (SEA) Homeschoolers at https://www.facebook.com/groups/seahomeschoolers/. There are multiple resources listed that allow self-learning (like the Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/). There are even resources to teach your children to learn to code! Even parents (or grandparents!) who are technologically challenged can learn about how computers and the internet work (found in the link on keeping children on track academically).

Resources for Working Remotely – If you are still in the ranks of the employed (as opposed to retired), you may have been asked to work from home.  Some companies are providing resources to their employees, such as company laptops and other equipment, and other companies are still just trying to figure out how to make this work.  If you are one of the employees (or know someone who is) working from home, these resources could be useful. Tips on productivity including https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/7-tips-for-remote-workers-to-make-you-more-productive-less-stressed.html, and https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/8-best-practices-for-successful-remote-workers/https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/10-ways-to-stay-ultra-productive-when-you-work-from-home/. While these articles were written before the Covid-19 outbreak, these tips are timely, nonetheless. If you would like to peruse the curated repository of resources for working remotely, you can find the entire list at https://springworks.in/remote-work-resources?.

Maintaining Your Health and Routine – While the resources noted in the previous section contain a number of helpful tips for those working from home, we felt it important to emphasize that you maintain both your physical and mental health. It is important to maintain your normal routine as much as you can. Such as:

  1. Get up at your usual time.
  2. Get dressed, even if it is regular clothes.
  3. Eat breakfast or have coffee … essentially maintain your normal breakfast regime.
  4. If applicable, get your kids up and ready for the day.
  5. Stick to your workout routine, if possible—this is very important for your physical well-being as well as your emotional and mental state.

If your gym or other workout facility is closed or operating on a reduced schedule, be sure to get out and get some fresh air.  Take a break from your workday and go for a walk.  Now that the mid-Atlantic is starting to see signs of spring, getting out and getting some sun has multiple health benefits.  According to Psychology Today, an estimated one billion Americans have a vitamin D deficiency.  Sunlight exposure increases your vitamin D levels and releases serotonin which is a natural mood stabilizer.  So if you have been feeling anxious or “blue,” a walk in the sunlight and fresh air will help!  Of course, remember to keep your distance from others and apply the “six-foot rule” as recommended by the CDC.

Positive News on the Covid-19 Outbreak – With all the bad news and increasingly dire statistics on the Corona virus outbreak, we felt that it would be helpful and encouraging to share some information from the Good News Network.  This organization has compiled a list of 10 positive updates on the Covid-19 outbreak from around the world.  You can find this at https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/10-positive-updates-on-the-covid-19-outbreaks-from-around-the-world/.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or if you just need a dose of good news, we highly  encourage you to visit Good News Network at https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ where you can find all kinds of useful and inspiring news stories that you will probably not find on the news networks.  You can even sign up for a “Morning Jolt of Good News” to go with your coffee! The reviews for this website have been especially heartwarming, including a “Thank You” from former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell! 

Live Update Map of Covid-19 Cases Around the World – For those who are curious and do not mind the bleak statistics of confirmed cases and deaths around the world, you can find all the latest numbers, updated in real time, including a world map at https://ncov2019.live/.

We hope that this information proves useful to you.  

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