Life Lessons Learned - How Stay-At-Home has helped me refocus my behaviors.
I have been thinking about this month's blog post for the last couple of weeks, feeling that this is not a time for a frivolous post, a comedy bit (even though I felt after 31 years in education, I had plenty of material for a comedy routine) or a doomsday scenario. I am definitely a glass half-full person and began to think about the recommendations that have been our day-to-day existence and how they are not entirely bad ideas to continue after COVID-19 has been contained. So I started to make a list:
Wash Hands: We all know that we should do this after using the rest room or before we eat, but is that enough. We have been reminded in many a news report and magazine article about the dangers of E.coli bacterium and other wee beasties that exist everywhere even where we'd least expect them. We don't want to turn into a germophobe, but think of where your hands have been and what they have touched; I for one have been thinking about this more. Most experts say that just soap and water for 20 seconds can do the trick and maybe we can reduce the occurrence of colds and flu by just being mindful of washing up more often --when we get home and especially before we prepare or eat food. Not a bad thing to continue into the future.
Stay at Home: This is a real hard thing for people who still work or volunteer, but if you are sick or coming down with something, please don't share. Many years ago as a teacher, with available sick days, I still found it more trouble to stay home than to drag myself into work. As a school administrator, I have seen things like the flu cripple a school. So if you are retired or are working from home and don't need to go out, don't, stay home and rest!
Isolation: I learned this one many years ago from my Aunt Joan. When I was 13 my grandmother and grandfather brought me and my brother to California to visit my Aunt and Uncle and their family. Part of the visit included a trip to Disneyland and 4 days before we were to go, my uncle came home from work with a stomach bug. My aunt went into full isolation mode - there were 6 kids and 3 other adults who were looking forward to this trip. She isolated my uncle to one room and he was the only user of the small bathroom off the master bedroom. She would not let him travel the house and even when he was feeling better, eat or socialize with us. The isolation paid off and no one else got sick and we had our trip to Disneyland. I used this good advice with my own family and still separate from my husband when either of us is unwell. She had learned this in the Air Force where once someone was sick they were ushered off to sick bay away from all the others. Not a bad idea at all!
Be Prepared: I am far from a survivalist, but I am always prepared for at least a month with food and supplies for us to get by on. We now live in a small townhouse, but I still have a small freezer, so we buy meat on sale, e.g. a $13.00 pork loin was cut up into boneless pork chops for 6 meals. I no longer have a pantry, but we always have plenty of pasta, beans, soups, broths, canned tomatoes, fruits, powdered milk, oatmeal, flour, bread flour, sugar, coffee, tea, and different types of rice etc. The menu might get boring, but we will not starve. We can also regularly donate to our local food pantry. Below is a link to stocking a pantry by purchasing one or two things each shopping trip to add to your stock and maybe there won't be a run on toilet paper in the future.
Getting Back to Basics: There is no denying that cooking from scratch is much cheaper than purchasing prepackaged ready made foods. It does take planning and time, but we all have that now, so why not try some new recipes and become proficient; I have proudly mastered a no knead sandwich bread that my husband has put his seal of approval on. (recipe link below) Not only is making it from scratch less expensive, but there are less additives and the end result is a more nutritious food. In the 60's when people in low income areas received flour, corn meal, sugar, cheese, rice etc., my mother volunteered to work with young mothers who didn't know what to do with these basics. She also helped them to shop, stretching their assistance dollars, buying basics instead of convenience food options which cost much more. Last week, a cousin of mine posted on social media --she said that perhaps that after this is over we should concentrate on eating more nutritious foods and live a healthier lifestyle, so next time we won't be in the "people with underlying health issues" category. The definition of which includes things like obesity, coronary heart disease and type II diabetes. All of which we have some control over.
So I know this is a lot to consider and the "Ground Hog Weeks" will eventually be over, but hasn't it given us a new perspective on how we would like to live our lives. Below is some helpful links to explore:
52 Week Guide to Building Your Food Storage - from The Organized Mom. You don't have to go crazy, but she has a lot of good ideas.
How do you choose to behave during COVID-19 Stay-at-Home? This Blog entry includes a great graphic for the zones of behavior articulating how we move forward toward a Growth Zone. If you are having difficulties and stuck in the Fear Zone be sure to contact your own physician or Google your local Mental Health services. Remember family and friends are just an Email, phone call or text away.
Still working, but working from home - check out my daughter's recommendations for how to stay on track---I actually used her advice when I first retired so I could structure my days better. LINK