You’ve stocked up, you’ve cleaned up, you’re staying inside/ away from others as much as possible.
After a few days of working from home, TV watching and stress junk food eating, you start to feel helpless, hopeless or bored AF in isolation.
But think of this as a time for self-reflection and opportunity.
What are things you also want to do to self-improve, and how can you help your community? Remember to take care of yourself first (airplane air masks). Only when you are healthy and implementing best practices are you able to help others.
To figure out your own list of how to fill this new, always-at-home time, start with your 2020 New Year’s resolutions. What did you hope to accomplish this year? Or even last year? What are actionable steps you can do now, from home?
Here are suggestion to create a healthy routine, home environment, and ideas for activity to maintain optimism in uncertain/scary times. [Note: These are particular to me/ my situation living alone in Jersey City during these times.] Please write if you have suggestions regarding: pets/children/work from home simultaneously with your spouse/roommate and how you’ve adjusted your routine/tips for sanity/pretty much anything else. I’ll be doing follow-up posts as the weeks continue.]
Now is a great time to practice self-care. Improve your hygiene while also improving your beauty regimen. You win!
Build your immunity
*Take immunity-boosting supplements; the first three are specifically recommended for COVID-19; the last two I recommend in general:
- *vitamin d3
- *vitamin B complex
- *collagen powder
*Take a walk or run outside. You need fresh air, Vitamin D, and movement. Stay six feet away from everyone. When questionable people approach within your personal danger zone, either hold your breath for 4 seconds or take a long exhale. Do not breathe in for the four seconds or so it takes to pass others (not scientific, but the breath space gives me peace of mind).
*Meditate, strength train, do your favorite class indoors via app or your TV. A friend suggested Peleton — the app offers a free 30-day trial of at-home workouts in all categories — and you do not need to give any credit card information!
*305 Fitness is also offering at-home dance cardio classes at 12pm and 6pm via YouTube.
*How often are we tired with life’s demands? Take advantage of your 8pm curfew to go to bed earlier.
*Take naps. You have the time; the times are are uncertain. Mini breaks help you de-stress. Also, the more you sleep, the faster times passes. All at once, you’ll awake in May on a sun-filled grassy field or porch or pool-deck and wonder if that thing really happened or it was just a strange nightmare.
*Charcoal was really trendy in the beauty sector two years ago, and chemically, it is especially good at binding to toxins. Now is the time to use charcoal powdered toothpaste (bonus: whiter teeth!) and charcoal facescrub/soaps.
*Change your razorblade. DO NOT SHARE RAZORS with anyone. Keep your razor out of the bathroom/away from moisture and heat.
*Since you may be washing your hands up to 100 times per day, slather them in thick hand cream to heal them overnight. A friend recommended maximum strength hydro-cortizone cream. Look at what you have in your cabinets. Aquaphor or any thick cream/pertroleum you have handy (fragrance free best), will do the trick.
*Pamper yourself with all those at-home treatments people have gifted you. Toss a bath bomb in a bucket of hot water and soak your overworked feet. Use the 24-K gold face mask or under-eye patches you’ve been meaning to implement in your weekly routine. We all have a lot of products, even in our kitchen, that do wonders for our nerves and our skin.
*De-stress your face from all the screen time. Take a few minutes to use your under-eye rose quartz roller; drain your lymph nodes by using your spiked roller (always roll upward and towards your back; three strokes for each area).
*Give yourself mini neck and back massages to alleviate pain from hunching over your screen/ sitting.
*Upon entering your home from outside, immediately wash hands thoroughly. Then remove shoes and clothing and toss them in the hamper. Wash hands thoroughly again. Shower if you have the time. Put on clean clothes. Also, I’ve been machine-washing my clothes in hot water for extra precaution. Not the best for the clothes, but then again, they’re not my *best* clothes, as we are not dressing up in our finest…and if we are, we are certainly not throwing them into a washing machine (just in a bag for when the dry cleaner opens again.)
Clean, Clean, Clean (Disinfect, Dispose, Disinfect again, and Organize)
At a time when many are hoarding supplies, take a good look around and see all that you do have. Begin disposing. Marie Kondo’s original book has always been the best method for me. I also do it by area rather than category if I have a limited time frame. (Kitchen/pantry cabinets usually have like items, so that is a good place to organize by area.) Then:
- Toys or chotchkes
- Kitchen hardware you never use
- Junk drawers
- Piles of mail/file cabinets/paper you don’t need
Deep Clean Your Entire House
*From the deep-bathroom clean, to cleaning out your refrigerators and cabinet shelves/handles to dusting to polishing vacuming sweeping/disinfecting all floors. Do a deep clean now.
*Wipe down your doorknobs and all common handles (think refrigerator, toilet flusher) as frequently as possible throughout the day.
*Every surface or counter touched should be disinfected immediately after someone touches it. (Best practices = let the disinfectant sit on the surface for a few minutes before wiping away).
*Wipe your phone and computer with disinfectant wipes throughout the day.
SELF-IMPROVEMENT/ CREATIVE EXPRESSION
*Art projects. I’m finally finishing scrapbooks that I’ve always said I’d do on a snow day. A little bit at a time, but there is plenty of time.
*Cooking. Since you will undoubtedly have to prepare more of your own meals than usual, improve your culinary skills. There’s no better time to get kitchen-creative: Who else purchased a lot of random items and will soon be hard-pressed to come up with combinations of cabinet contents?
*Reading. Most of us have books and magazines lying around. Once you’ve decided what to toss or donate, read through the rest and toss or donate more.
*Language. Even if you don’t commit, you can still learn how to say something funny or sexy in a foreign tongue for entertainment purposes. I like the memrise app, which is free.
*Computer/Phone. Explore that program/app you’ve always been curious about.
*Useful Skills. From replacing the diverter valve in your shower to drawing the perfect eyebrow, YouTube and other social media outlets provide tutorials on all of your most random how-to questions.
*Write letters. Think about all the ones you love. Tell them how much you care about them, tell them about a memory you have with them, or anything. Just put it in writing, and sani-safe drop it in the mailbox.
*Jersey city is providing a list of opportunities. Not sure what to do to help? Have neighbors who are at risk or immobile? Fill out this form to be connected to volunteer opportunities in Jersey City. Need help or know someone you can’t personally help? Fill out this form.
*Is there a skill you are especially good at that can be useful to others during this time? Go on your neighbors/nextdoor app or facebook group and assess where there are needs.
Avoid supermarkets for basic pantry needs
It stuns me that people are lined up outside of overwhelmed local supermarkets when most things out-of-stock at the mains are available at the corner stores and dollar stores — and there are no lines or crowds (which means people are staying home, a good thing). Big supermarkets are high-risk social spaces, being the only big spaces a crowd can gather (besides hospitals) where it’s hard to keep proper social distance.
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Speaking of supermarkets, those in this area usually do not have the best produce. In winter, (because the farmer’s market doesn’t open until May), I always shop at Young’s Farm. Usually all of my favorite fresh items are in stock and in peak condition — and cost very little compared to the grocery store. Always, as usual, check your produce for spoilage, as the environment is not as controlled.
*Use the delivery/pick-up services of restaurants that are still open. Tip generously; these kind folk are working around the clock with limited staff, putting their own health at risk to feed you.
*For those restaurants that are closed, see if you can contribute to their go-fund-me/ “tip-it-forward” pages to support their out-of-work-employees. Buy gift-cards for future use, if offered.
Practice Public Health Safety
*Be extra kind, patient and especially respectful in terms of staying 6 feet away from your police officers, firemen and women, crossing guards/traffic controllers, and most importantly, your healthcare workers. Keep the people trying to protect us strong. Think about their health, working overtime and having anxiety about being exposed to so many people in public.
*Social meetups, aka video hangouts, are where it’s at. Virtual family Sunday suppers, wine nights with your girlfriends, live group fitness classes with your actual instructor and classmates, one-on-one language sessions or mentor check-ins. Think of how you can continue doing everything you did pre- COVID-19 outbreak — with people yet not with them.
*And don’t forget the basics: Call your loved ones; people want to hear your voice. Write real letters. Everyone loves receiving mail (recipient should let it air out; or use gloves when opening/wash hands/open, read, do-not-touch-anything-else, especially face/wash hands again).
*Learn new ways to socialize as technology and ways to be in the community/ safe evolve over this time.
Write to me with anything you’d like me to share with the Jersey City community at firstname.lastname@example.org