Sheltering in Place in the Time of Covid-19

Sheltering in Place in the Time of Covid-19

We are all still reeling from the way Covid-19 turned our lives, our state, our country and the whole world upside down.  Our hearts and our prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones in this pandemic, who have fallen ill and to those who are currently fighting for their lives.  So many of us are furloughed or have lost jobs as well; as of this writing, over 10 million of us are now unemployed.  Everyone of us is adjusting to the many ways this virus has turned our lives upside down.

The last time the world experienced a pandemic like this was just over a century ago when the Spanish Flu raged around the globe in 1918, 1919 and 1920.  The Spanish Flu killed up to 100 million people- about 5% of the world’s population.  Because of the significant advances in science and medicine, no one expects Covid-19 to be that deadly, not even close!  History Unplugged has produced a very informative podcast entitled Covid-19 is Nothing Compared to the 1918 Spanish Flu and as the podcast suggests, we should be very grateful that we are not facing what our grandparents and great-grand parents faced 100 years ago.  Medicine has come a long way since bloodletting was the recommended treatment for the flu! 

Sheltering in Place in the Time of Covid-19
Because we now understand how viruses are spread and how important it is to stop the spread, the CDC is recommending that we all wear face masks when out in public. Staying home, practicing social distancing, and wearing face masks when you must go out are all so important for supporting our medical and essential services workers who are on the front lines for this pandemic. The best thing we can do for them and for ourselves is to not catch it in the first place. For those of us with sewing skills, here’s a link to all the info you need to get started making masks for yourself, family and friends. I made the masks pictured here in about an hour out of high thread count pillow cases and the elastic from the fitted bed sheet, and, trust me, my "sewing skills" are rudimentary, at best!  If you don’t have sewing skills or friends with them, you can make a mask without having to sew a thing and chances are you have everything you need in your home already. In addition to staying home, wearing a face mask when out in public, staying at least 6 feet away from people you encounter in public, everyone is encouraged to wash their hands in warm soapy water very frequently, especially after trips to town for essentials like groceries. Speaking of grocery stores… Be sure to give your grocery store worker at least 6 foot of space and be sure to thank everyone who works in your grocery store for their hard work. We’d all be sunk without them.

Most states have issued some sort of “Shelter in Place” order. Wondering what exactly that means and how states are enforcing their orders? CNET has aggregated all the differing state orders in one place along with very helpful information about worldwide travel restrictions, which businesses can stay open, which businesses must close, etc... While it is important to keep up with the news, so you stay informed, most psychologists are advising us to limit our news and social media consumption to a few minutes a day in order to protect our emotional and psychological health. The website Worldometers provides a quick snapshot of confirmed Covid-19 cases in each country, and also by each state in the US. For more information about what is happening in your state, visit your state’s Department of Health and Human Services website. There you will find case counts by county, specific instructions from your state, and resources for individuals and families, health care workers, and more.

Another website that provides information concerning the projected peak of viral infection per state, and when we might see social distancing and shelter in place orders lifted, is Covid-19 put together by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. Because none of us has immunity to Covid-19, the disease is spreading rapidly across the US. In order to control the spread of the virus states have ordered many businesses to shut down resulting in mass layoffs. The US Congress has passed the largest rescue package in our country’s history as a result. If you are one of those folks that find your small business closed or an employee or contractor that finds themselves furloughed or laid off, there may be help for you within the rescue package. Here’s a link to a stimulus package questions and answers article. Many states and other organizations are holding on-line town halls to help citizens navigate the application process.

Covid Victory Garden
Staying positive, getting good nutrition, exercise and plenty of sleep are as important now as ever because they help boost your immunity. For those of us lucky enough to have a back yard or small plot of ground, consider growing a Covid-19 Victory Garden. Yes, that’s a thing these days and it makes sense for so many reasons. Fresh vegetables are great for your health and it’s a lot easier and less worrisome to get your fresh vegetables from your back yard than going to the grocery store. Putting in and maintaining a garden require you to move your body outdoors…excellent!

And for those of you with kids at home, every kid LOVES to play in the dirt! The University of Idaho’s Teton County, Idaho extension is offering free victory garden courses on-line and seeds can be ordered on line as well. Wondering what to grow in your garden? The Sustainable Food Trade Association published a fantastic guide entitled 100 Organic Plants You Can Grow And Eat. I love the health information, vitamin and mineral content, and disease prevention information they give for each plant in addition to the growing and insect control tips. The guide even includes recipes!

Staying home with your “shelter in place” partners 24-7 can certainly challenge your relationships. Let’s face it, many of us are not used to spending so much time with the same people day in and day out, and conflicts are expected.  Learning to deal with stress, exhaustion and conflict in a positive, love affirming way is the trick to thriving in our new reality.   I highly recommend Brene Brown’s new podcast entitled Unlocking Us, and invite you to take a listen to her episode entitled Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 myth and Settling the Ball, where she talks about strategies for falling apart, staying connected and kind, and giving ourselves permission to feel hard things during these extraordinary times.  The Atlantic published a great piece entitled How Not To Tank Your Relationship in Quarantine a few days ago that advises all of us to intentionally look for the upsides of our relationships- and even the upsides of being stuck at home- and it’s totally worth a read!

If you and your shelter in place partners find yourselves getting bored and restless, the City of Los Altos California put together a wonderful resource of fun activities to do while you are home together.  These activities include everything from “biodiversity bingo” for the kids that can be played in the yard, links to free on-line learning resources, links to live video feeds of animals at the San Diego Zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium, a virtual tour of the Louvre museum, Yosemite, and much more.  You’ll also find links to free on-line fitness classes.  The site even has links to famous actors reading children’s books! 

Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
If you are ready for some off-line, “analog” activities, it’s also a perfect time to pull out books, puzzles, musical instruments, board games and the recipe books. Norm’s Farms has some delicious cookie and bar recipes. Kids love baking cookies and bars and if you don’t happen to have any Norm’s Farms jam on hand, you can substitute with whatever is in your fridge. A selection of Norm’s Farms Jams are on sale-10% off- now through the end of April- to help sweeten the deal!

Much evidence indicates that the worst of this should be behind us by June or so. While we don’t know if the virus will make a comeback in the fall or not, we should have the summer to reconnect in person with all those we love and miss so much. We predict that the summer of 2020 will go down in the history books as the “summer of hugs”! Until then, stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, and when you must go out, be sure to thank all the front-line grocery, gas station, pharmacy and health workers you meet. They are our heroes!


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