Barb Childs of Waterboro looks on as Wyatt 13, passes the basketball during a game at Childs’ home. To the right is Gavin, 6. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Barb Childs of Waterboro is spending more time outside, with her three foster children, ages 6 to 13. They are thinking of going up to Popham Beach in Phippsburg to fly kites. She recently walked that beach herself and found it was a good stress reliever.

“It’s a situation that feels safer,” said Childs, 53, of being outdoors, away from crowds. “You can relax and take your mind off things.”

Brad Fox, 72, of South Portland, has been spending a lot of time watching his dog Penny, play with other dogs. He adopted her about a month ago from Mississippi and tries to get out to a dog park with her as often as possible. A retired school principal now working as a substitute teacher in South Portland, he has to be aware of the latest virus news and precautions that are being recommended.

“I have to pay attention to what’s going on, so it’s a great stress reliever to get out and watch all the dogs play,” said Fox.

Annette Elowitch, a 77-year-old retired art gallery owner from Portland, is singing more. She sings about an hour a day at home and has been going to choir in Brunswick a couple times a week.

“There’s nothing like singing to relieve my stress,” said Elowitch. “I’m still stressed out about the virus, the president, everything. But for that hour a day when I’m singing, I feel much better. And twice a week I go to choir practice, thank God for that.”

Camille Smalley of Westbrook is listening to ’80s and ’90s pop on the radio instead of news on National Public Radio news, which had been a daily habit.

“It’s not so much the tone of the stories, it’s that they are everywhere. When I look at news (online) at lunch, it’s in every headline,” said Smalley, 33. “If something interesting I haven’t read before comes out, I’ll look at it. But other than that, I don’t need to hear and see all these stories. I know I need to wash my hands.”

Elizabeth Keifer, a semi-retired English professor in South Portland, has been taking longer walks outside, including along the ocean at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. She figures she’s getting fresh air and staying away from crowds, two things that help ease her mind about the coronavirus. Plus, peace and quite and beautiful scenery is always good for one’s mind, she said.

Elizabeth Keifer walks her dog, Kittydog 2.0, at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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