Some call it a quarantine, others refer to it as a lockdown. We are asked to observe curfews. And there is news of administering penalties for people who do not abide. This can feel like a big imposition on our free will, but these restrictions are necessary to ensure the health and safety of the community.
It is an abrupt situation that has put people in a state of panic, not knowing how to deal with uncertainty. It is even creating situations where there is a lack of supplies for those who need it most because of hoarding. If you are among the people that weren’t able to get enough supplies in time (e.g. the toilet paper shortage,) don’t get mad, get resourceful!
So you didn’t get any paper products, that’s okay!
Why not try going green? If you don’t already have a bidet you can do as the Filipino do and use a Tabo, or use a bodna/lota often used in Arab culture. Once cleansed, simply dry yourself with a towel. Sure it will take some time to get used to, but even kids can learn how to do this. You may just find that you’ve never felt cleaner after a trip to the toilet and you’ll be saving the environment to boot.
If you were not able to get diapers or are worried stores will go out of stock, you may consider early potty training. Apparently, it’s possible. It will be hard and probably horrible, but if you succeed you’ll win street cred as a parent and you’ll have the right to call your kid advanced.
The hand sanitizer dilemma
I’m sure you’ve been to the store looking for hand sanitizer only to find barren shelves. The last time I went to a store I couldn’t even tell what aisle to find hand sanitizer because there was only emptiness. Recently, there was information on the internet on how to make your own hand sanitizer. I blame the creators of this information for the disappearance of all rubbing alcohol in the country.
The good news is you don’t really need hand sanitizer right now. In fact, it’s not a good replacement for washing your hands. Hand sanitizer is meant to be used when soap and water are not available, like when you’re out and about, but we are supposed to be staying at home. So don’t be lazy, wash your hands for 20 seconds. You have the time now.
If you insist on having a disinfectant for your home, you can always use bleach diluted with water to clean surfaces, not your hands obviously.
In a pinch, you can try using vinegar on your hands. It doesn’t smell great but it gets the job done. It makes towels soft and is strong enough to remove battery acid. If you don’t mind the temporary smell, vinegar is also a great floor and surface cleaner.
On a final note, if you can get your hands on some Everclear vodka, its high alcohol content can be strong enough to disinfect your hands and home as well.
Grocery stores still seem to have plenty of food. You may want to check your home and see what non-perishables you have available. Stock up on items like rice, pasta, canned foods like beans and tuna, canned or frozen vegetables, nut butters and alternative milks that can be stored in a pantry. It’s true that fresh is best, but we want to avoid having to go to the store for at least two weeks. Fresh meats, cheese, and bread can be stored in the freezer until needed. You can try to have your groceries delivered, but keep in mind that wait times could be longer and you may not be able to get all the items on your list. Another option is your local farmer’s market. Most will continue to operate following the social distancing guidelines. Check your local farmer’s market website and social pages for more information. For simple meal ideas to help you stretch out your stash visit Angie D’s YouTube page.
About that job…
If you are continuing to work from home instead of the office. Talk to your employer about the new expectations. You may want to ask if you can stretch your day out rather than working your regular hours. This way you can better accommodate your family’s needs or sprinkle more joyful activities throughout your day. Be patient with your place of work as they try and figure things out. This is probably the first time many businesses are attempting to operate remotely. If you’ve recently been unemployed due to the quarantine, this is a reminder that you can file for unemployment. While you’re waiting for that check to arrive you might consider signing up for a free trial of LinkedIn Learning to beef up your skill set and be ready when it’s time to go back out into the workforce.
When being homebound isn’t your regular routine, it’s very easy to become more lethargic, wake up later, and eat out of boredom, leaving you to eventually become displeased with yourself. However, it’s really okay to indulge in some extra relaxation time. We all work hard, and this pandemic is anxiety provoking. We need to do more of the things we enjoy in order to keep our spirits up. There’s nothing in the world that brings me more happiness than putting on my pajamas and snuggling up with a blanket and a bowl of chips for a Netflix marathon.
Relaxing more and stressing less is vital to keeping our immune systems strong. I personally like the idea of having permission to watch as much television as I want, but we can’t all be Netflix champions. Some of us will begin to go stir crazy being at home 24/7. So if the latter is you, let me propose some ideas to keep you entertained.
You can still go outside and get some fresh air as long you keep a distance of six feet from others and follow these guidelines. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, many gyms and workout apps are offering free at home workouts during the quarantine. You can finally get to that spring cleaning and decluttering since you won’t have other things getting in the way. Or, you can create an at home spa day and give yourself a nice facial. Here are a few treatments that are good enough to eat.
If you are beginning to feel isolated, consider having a virtual party. Of course it’s not the same as physically being in a room with friends, but with all the wonderful video chat apps available everyone can pour their own drinks or make dinner at home and include friends for conversation. You can create a virtual game night, if every friend has the same board game at home. Or, have a Netflix watch party. This extension (only available on Chrome) enables you and your people to watch your favorite Netflix together and includes a group chat feature.
If you have kids that need entertaining, now is not the time to be feeling guilty for letting them use screens all day. As I mentioned before, we all would benefit more from staying calm and happy. They will eventually get tired of watching television, being online, etc and when this happens they will let you know. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all option to entertain kids, it could be a good idea to ask them for ideas about what they want to do. If you need some inspiration here is a comprehensive list.
If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum and you need to get away from the people in your home, hopefully you have a large closet, or a car where you can get some quiet time. Perhaps you can designate a quiet space in the home where everyone can take turns being left alone.
If all else fails, you can do what a dear friend of mine did to escape her children, and lock yourself in the bathroom with a chocolate cake. It’s a solid plan.
Remember that even in this time of social distancing, the world has never been more connected. We are all experiencing this distress together. Thanks to technology we can find out about other people’s experiences so we don’t feel so alone. I enjoy watching show hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah of the Daily Show make efforts to do a smaller scale version of their show from the quarantined comfort of their homes. We can also catch up with friends and family we haven’t spoken to in a while, and if you have no one to talk to you can still get support. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has some great resources for maintaining emotional well being during this time.
Most importantly don’t get caught up in the media hype about the coronavirus. While we should definitely take it seriously, we should also maintain hope. Keep a lookout for reports of recoveries rather than the death tolls, and if you’re spending time on social media try to find content that is inspiring rather than fear inducing. I am really impressed with all the creativity out there influenced by this crisis. Stay healthy, stay safe, and wash your hands.
If you have any ideas for how to stay sane and have fun during this stressful time we would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments!