In the past year, we have been evacuated, repopulated, and now confined. In an attempt to blunt the spread of COVID19, health officials have ordered us (along with most everybody else) to shelter in place, which means to stay home. It’s enough to cause anyone anxiety and confusion. How do you keep your wits in times like these?

Here’s some suggestions we have found that may be of value to help us all get through this:

Realize It’s Temporary

This is not the “new normal”. It will end, some things will have a long lasting effect, such as the blow to the economy and the way we shop. But we will get through this, and faster if we all pitch in and stop the virus from spreading. Just that realization alone provides us with the hope and encouragement to persist in the short term.

Clean Up and Organize

Aside from a positive attitude, now is the time to get ready for getting back into the action. We are systematically going through our stuff and making decisions about how to be more efficient and better organized. We want our immediate physical environment to reinforce a sense of order and preparedness, even though the world around us may be in chaos. This is productive, rewarding, and calming.

Reboot Your Body and Spirit

We are getting into nature as much as possible (while, of course, practicing social distancing). Walking in nature reminds us of the natural balances and beauty all around us. The physical exercise necessary to take a hike keeps our circulation up and our anxiety down. Natural sights, smells, and sounds reboot our attitude, give us a healthier perspective, and provide a needed break from “cabin fever.”

Learn Something New

This is an excellent time to learn something new. Never before has there been so many great things to learn online. Whether it’s taking a course or just researching what you are interested in, this is a perfect opportunity to expand your mind and your skill set. The more you know the better prepared you will be for the economy that will follow this crisis. Or maybe you can just finally learn that new language you’ve been talking about wanting to master for way too long.

Socialize Online

Take some time every day to call your friends and loved ones. People are lonely and feel deprived of social contact. It’s time to check in on them, find out how they are doing, and show them that you care. Your encouragement and support can raise their spirits and remind them that they are not alone and that you care. This “contact” can mean the world to them and improve their attitude, which most doctor’s will tell you is the foundation of mental health. Plus it makes you feel good as well!

Enjoy a Good Laugh

Get away from the constant drumbeat of the news. Watch a good movie, preferably something uplifting or humorous. It’s time for a good distraction and perhaps a good laugh! We particularly like some of the old movies like “The Thin Man,” a classic 1930’s detective film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy who with wit, flirtatious banter, and sarcasm solve mysteries with their dog Aster.

Find a Need

How can you pitch in? Our friend and neighbor, who is a Dr. and a researcher, has put his energy into researching and communicating the latest scientific information on COVID19. He is selflessly communicating his findings in plain English to his friends and neighbors and all who will listen. Another friend, a nurse, is not only on the front lines but is delivering food to those who are not able or at great risk to do so on their own.

Plant a Garden  

We are fortunate to have enough space to have a garden. We have started veggies and flowers inside and out. We will grow enough food for our friends and neighbors. Watching plants break ground and grow reminds us that life is strong and will endure. Planting a garden is an investment in a bountiful future. It’s fun, rewarding and delicious! Gardens grow more than edibles. As Bonnie’s mom used to point out, “They grow sanity!“  Every day you see some progress. Just what we need right now!

Count Your Blessings

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the 9 good fingers when you have a sore thumb. But that’s exactly what we have to do at times like this. Count your blessings (chin up; help others who need consoling; enjoy your good health and do the things that make you feel good; hug your significant other and the folks you are sharing your household with). We will get through this! We wish you all safe and healthy times while we wait for this threat to pass.

PS: Our Canadian colleague who runs the Canadian National Library for the Blind said she binged on our new business audio theatre style audiobook, The Barefoot Spirit over the weekend. She said she found it “uplifting and inspirational.” It will be converted to a format designed for the blind and offered through the library, free of charge. You can enjoy listening to Chapter 1 here. It’s free, a great distraction, and it’s edutainment at its best. So, we hope this is valuable to you. We are here to help you get through this and we will be here when it has passed. Feel free to give us a call (our phone sometimes works), but our internet and online social media are unavailable to us at this time. Guess they got the virus, too.

Below is Bonnie’s shortlist:

Clean up your own backyard (or closet, or garage, or attic)

Educate yourself (improve your skills; take on-line courses)

Socialize (using video calls and phone calls) NOTE: folks need to connect, and when they do, they will talk longer than usual, so be prepared! Everyone needs assurances these days that, together, we can get through this.

Recreate (get into nature – the parks remain open)

Play nice with others (face it – we are stuck with our roommates, significant others, kids and relatives. It might take some getting used to, but it seems like we have the time required to adjust to living 24-7 under the same roof. Luckily for us, we (Bonnie & Michael) have had decades to build up a tolerance to each other, and therefore have already adjusted each other’s shortcomings; when discussions come up, stick to matters you agree on; now is not the time for strife!)

Distractions are your friend (old, feel-good movies; your fav series; our audiobook, which the director of the National Library for the Blind, said she “binged” on.

Find a need and fill it (Dr. Brad is doing research on this virus and sharing it with friends, family, and neighbors; discover needs your community has, such as a personal shopper and home delivery services)

Plant a veg garden (we plan on tilling up a grassy area in our fruit orchard, and planting enough veggies for our neighbors and our workers; consider sprouting seeds indoors and planting the starts once you are convinced there will be no more freezing temperatures – good luck guessing when that may be)

Count your blessings (chin up; help others who need consoling; enjoy your good health and do the things that make you feel good; hug your significant other and the folks you are sharing your household with)

Keep the Spirit alive!



Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact