Most of us have more free time than we ever imagined as the COVID-19 virus has already kept us indoors for many days.
But the lengthy period we have by ourselves or with family does not have to be spent playing video games or watching Netflix, according to Armani Valentino, the Democratic nominee for County Judge in Bowie County, Texas.
Valentino, a bestselling author, has a message of hope for people worried about the coronavirus shutdown.
"Many of us made it through the ice storm without lights and heat for two weeks in the middle of December, back in 2000," Valentino said. "Be encouraged. We will get through this Shelter in Place order. This too shall pass."
"Use this time as a time to enjoy and appreciate your family," he added. "We are all having to make adjustments, so don't let the enemy get you into a 'woe is me' mindset."
Even simple things like sunlight are more critical at a time like this, said Valentino.
"Be sure to get some sun daily during this time as the sun will help with Vitamin D, which is needed to help with depression and immune support," he said. "It is easy to get depressed during times like this."
Faith is also vital to Armani Valentino, and he said he believes God will help Bowie County citizens weather the consequences of the virus.
"Count your blessings," he said. "God is always up to something great! What the devil meant for evil, God will always turn it for our good. So, stay positive and keep the FAITH!"
The candidate, who is also CEO of College Boy Publishing, offered 7 tips to help people re-think the way they spend their time during this unexpected period away from work and school.
Here are the 7 positive ways to use your time wisely during the virus lockdown from Armani Valentino:
1. Use that "upset energy" in a positive way.
2. Spend more time with God developing your personal relationship with him.
3. Use this time to clean up, play games with your children and family, eat dinner together, and talk to one another.
4. Use this time as a resurrection of the family unit.
5. Focus on the positives, appreciate everything, and count your blessings!
6. Write that book, song, movie, business plan, or stage play you’ve always wanted to write.
7. Get some much-needed rest!
Armani Valentino said these tips could help citizens turn frustration into positive energy that will make a positive change in their lives.
He also said his own family is making adjustments.
"My mother is a retired biology teacher who has always taken health and safety seriously," he said. "So, she taught my sisters and me to do the same."
Due to the influence of his mother, Armani Valentino said his family was making sure they did the following 7 things daily:
➼ 1. Make sure to stay clean (regular hand washing - not just sanitizers);
➼ 2. Avoid large gatherings;
➼ 3. Wear masks/gloves when out in public;
➼ 4. Eat good fresh foods (with reduced meat intake);
➼ 5. Drink plenty of water;
➼ 6. Take vitamins and supplements;
➼ 7. Drink hot liquids upon waking up.
The candidate for Bowie County Judge said his family was not stockpiling food and only taking what they need.
"As far as stocking up, we are not really doing too much of that," Valentino said. "I was always taught to get enough for what you and your household and don't be greedy."
Valentino said his family has been prepared for emergency situations for many years.
"There's sort of a cycle of disease just as there is a cycle for economics and business," he said. "So, we have made sure to have all the basics, soap, cleaning supplies, toiletries, non-perishable food items, and continuing with the intermittent fasting that we have done for many years to help keep the immune system in check."
Valentino also addressed the controversial "Shelter in Place" order put in place by Judge Bobby Howell which orders citizens to stay indoors until April 13, 2020.
"Judge Howell is the interim county judge and is receiving counsel from the medical professionals and individuals around him," Valentino said.
"He is privy to the information that I am not in his decision making. Let's pray that the information submitted to him by the medical professionals is accurate," he added.
"I also believe that he understands it's better to err on the side of caution versus allowing the virus to turn into something greater than what it currently is in Bowie County," said Valentino.
No one likes having to stay home at Easter, but Armani Valentino said the safety of Bowie County citizens is what is most important.
"I think that by Easter Sunday, we'll have more up-to-date information about any mutations of the virus and how the spread of the virus has either increased or decreased because of this Shelter in Place order in Bowie County," he said.
Campaigning in the age of the coronavirus will not be easy, but Armani Valentino said he was prepared.
"I am thankful for knowing how to reach people, both online and offline," he said. "I have had a strong presence online for many years, and people trust my words, leadership, and passion for health and safety and have done so since grade school."
Editor's note: Armani Valentino is running against Bobby Howell in the November general election for Bowie County Judge to fill the remaining two years of former Judge James Carlow. An election will be held in 2022 for a full, four-year term. His campaign website can be reached by clicking here.