Real talk: how is this quarantine affecting your mental health? I’m an introvert who, on a normal day, loves being home and would choose a quiet, solitary night over just about anything else. But my brain is not pleased with my increase in screen time, nor is my body happy with my new (and not improved) sleep and eating schedule. 

One of the things I miss the most in this strange, new reality is visiting all of my favorite neighborhood haunts for coffee, gifts and flowers. Chicago neighborhoods wouldn’t be the same without the rich number of locally owned businesses, and I am so proud to work for a company that has been owned and operated by Chicagoans since 1984 (#ChicagoFromDayOne). As the marketing manager for FFC, I spend the majority of my days on the internet, and during this quarantine, I’ve come across some pretty cool ways that local Chicagoans are both supporting the community and practicing self-care.

If you’re looking for ways to unplug, spread some joy, eat a meal you didn’t have to cook or entertain your children, here are a few of my favorite options. Bonus: almost all of the businesses listed here are small, local businesses owned by Chicagoans, so you’d be helping out another human as you take better care of yourself. 

Note: The suggestions below were up to date at the time of this writing. As things continue to change in this fluid environment, please stay tuned to these businesses’ websites or social media accounts for more information on their current offerings.

If you’re looking to exercise your brain:

Volumes Books: Local Wicker Park bookcafe is offering free shipping through April! If you’ve been waiting for a new release, hop over to the Volumes website to place your order. 

Open Books: Get ready to find some amazing, gently used books at this West Loop store. Online ordering is a go on their website, with free shipping on orders over $10. 

Martha Mae: Get your creative juices flowing with a new art project! Paint sets, calligraphy items, journals and more are available for online order with free shipping. 

Komoda: Looking for puzzles? Shop Komoda is offering curbside pick up or delivery on online orders.

Related: If you’re looking to exercise your body, tune in to one of our free, live classes on Facebook!

If you’re looking to add a little cheer to your home:

Fig and Fern: New shop Fig & Fern is offering curbside pick-up on any orders. Search for a new plant, a curated gift box, candles and other locally made goods on their website.

Scratch Goods: While their storefront and mask bar is closed, Scratch Goods is still processing online orders for all your skincare needs. For every $50 you spend, you get $5 to use on a future purchase, no limits. 

Flowerlife Inc: Local Bucktown flower shop is creating floral arrangements to help bring some joy to your household. There are no minimums for orders and they will deliver your arrangement for free to your doorstep (local delivery only)!

Chicago Candle Company: Order a new candle from this Pilsen-based shop and receive free shipping!

Aya Pastry: Treat your household to something sweet from Aya Pastry. Aya is delivering orders twice a day to local neighborhoods and is offering everything from freshly baked bread to boxes of cookies. 

If you’re tired of eating mac & cheese: 

Real Good Stuff Co: Real Good continues to offer its juice cleanses for delivery if you’re looking for a reset. Plus, they’ve come out with a new Farmer’s Grocery Box with fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients so you can skip a trip to the store. 

Sweetgreen: Did someone say free delivery? Place an order on sweetgreen’s mobile app, and you’ll have a healthy salad at your doorstep in no time. 

Left Coast: Left Coast is offering delivery on their menu of acai bowls, breakfast hashes and so much more. 

Protein Bar: Need some more protein in your diet these days? Protein Bar is offering pick-up and delivery from their Lincoln Park and Northwestern locations. Local Foods: Looking for meal kits? This local Lincoln Park grocer is offering ingredient kits for everything from taco meals to salted chocolate chip cookies.

Related: For a pretty comprehensive list of all Chicago restaurants still offering pick-up or delivery, check out Dining At A Distance!

If you need to entertain your kids:

Waterlemon: Does your child have a birthday coming up? Chicago suburban company Waterlemon has created Birthday Bash Boxes so you can create the perfect at-home birthday party for your family. 

Red Balloon Company: Worried about the upcoming holiday? Local children’s shop Red Balloon is curating Easter basket ideas with online ordering. 

Play2Day: Chicago childcare provider Play2Day is hosting daily Instagram Live educational classes, activities, sing-a-longs and more. 

Chicago Children’s Museum: Chicago Children’s Museum is sharing tons of at-home crafts for kids of all ages. 

Rainbow Art Walk: Have your children create rainbow artwork to hang in your window, and then head out on a neighborhood walk for a rainbow hunt!

Post written by FFC Contributor Natalie Casper.