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Anyone who doesn’t plan more than a few weeks ahead, or even days ahead, needs a rethink: we all need to prepare for a COVID-19 lockdown.
Even as the COVID-19 vaccine starts to be distributed, the chances of being forced into staying home are still very high.
You may have to self-isolate if you, or a family member, tests positive. Or, you may just want to stay safe at home.
Making sure you are prepared is fairly simple – as long as you are sensible and methodical.
No, you don’t need 300 rolls of toilet paper, for example.
We’ll give you a checklist of everything you need to survive the coronavirus outbreak, as well as some ideas on preserving your fragile mental health during difficult times.
How to Prepare for COVID-19 Lockdown
There’s no doubt that going into lockdown is a shock to the system. We are, after all, social creatures – even the introverts among us.
But by taking the time to properly prepare, we will come out the other side of this coronavirus outbreak.
1. Stock up on Food
First up is the most important bit: we need to eat.
Food is more than fuel too. So this isn’t about having a stock of field rations – trust me, they’re not nice. Instead, you need the ability to make different meals, maintaining a balanced diet.
While you have plenty of fresh ingredients, make extra and freeze for later.
Ideally, space permitting, you’d keep 1 month’s worth of food at all times. Then, just rotate things in and out as you use them. That way you’ll never be caught out. And you play your part in preventing the spread of the virus by avoiding the supermarket.
2. Work from Home (WFH) Set-Up
Working from home can be a real challenge for many of us. The routine of going into the office is beneficial in many ways.
Contrary to many employers’ beliefs, most people actually work longer hours from home. This is because there are no clear boundaries between work and free time.
So there are some key things you should do to maintain a healthy work/ life balance whilst working from home.
- Keep your old routine – If you got up at 6 am, gym, then work at 8:30 am, try and do the same. If you finished at 6 pm, finish at 6 pm. Laptop off until tomorrow. Use the extra time to cook, relax, meditate, exercise. Whatever makes you happy – just don’t work extra.
- Have a separate space for work – If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room with a desk, work from there. If not, try and sit in a different chair or work somewhere completely different to where you’d normally relax. Compartmentalizing like this will help you focus and relax.
- DON’T WORK FROM BED – This will mess up your sleep more than anything else. It’s tempting but don’t do it!
- Think about your posture – It might feel nice to sit reclined with your laptop but it’s horrible for your back. You could be working from home for a long time. So, get a good chair if you can and have a desk at the right height so you don’t hunch. You’ll be grateful down the line.
With gyms closed, it can be easy to shrug off exercise and fall out of the habit.
But now, more than ever, it’s important to stay healthy and keep fit.
You don’t need to invest in expensive home-gym equipment either:
- Hit the streets and go for a run.
- Put on face masks, meet friends, and go for a socially distanced walk.
- Take part in an online exercise class.
- Find yoga videos on YouTube.
- Even just do some chores.
The possibilities are endless. Not only will it improve your mental health, but also your immune system. Both are essential for navigating this public health crisis.
4. Avoid Hoarding
When you see images of cleared out supermarket shelves, it can be tempting to stock up on things you don’t need or want.
But that’s just not smart.
Not only are you continuing to fuel the problem, but you are also preventing those without the financial means to hoard from even getting the basics.
Instead, plan out what you need and prepare in a way that also supports your local community.
Toilet paper is a common item to be wiped off the shelves. So, instead, try your hand at making your own. Not only will you avoid fights in the supermarket aisles, but it’s also a great task to entertain yourself. Win-win.
Checklist Items to Prep Pre-Lockdown
First of all, look at your current situation. Ask yourself how long you’d last if you couldn’t buy anything else right now?
1 week? Maybe 2? Hopefully more if you are a regular reader of SHTFPreparedness.
The temptation is to go out and buy all the rice and toilet roll you can get your hands on. But, by taking a bit of time to prepare and going through this checklist, you can live relatively normally during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- Meat and fish – Vacuum packed is best. Tinned salmon or tuna can make some tasty meals. Tinned meat…..less so.
- Fruit and vegetables – Start with fresh fruit and vegetables but stock up on frozen varieties, too. Frozen at the source has more vitamins than the fresh stuff. Plus it can be used in smoothies.
- Dried rice, pasta, and other grains – Long-lasting and versatile; get a few types for variety.
- Tinned soups, beans, and tomatoes – You can add tinned tomatoes to almost anything and make something tasty.
- Cooking oil, salt, and pepper – Nobody wants bland food.
- Coffee and tea – With no more coffee shop lattes, you don’t want to add caffeine withdrawal to your lockdown problems. Instead, get some delicious coffee to keep you going.
- Dried herbs and spices – Protein + tinned tomatoes + herbs and spices = lots of delicious things.
- Pet food – Your best buddy needs to be looked after too.
- Snacks – Whether it’s candy or chips, stock up on treats for yourself.
- Liquor – You still deserve those drinks at the end of the week.
Having a stockpile of standard household items is often forgotten, but is just as important as food.
- Disinfecting spray – Have a few bottles spare as you’ll be wiping down a lot more than before. Here’s a list of products that have been tested directly against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and approved by the EPA for sanitizing during the current pandemic.
- Toilet paper – Bizarrely the first thing that people panic buy. Yes, you will be using your own bathroom more but not THAT much more. We haven’t yet heard of any COVID-19 cases causing bathroom symptoms! If you’re concerned, have the materials to make your own on hand too.
- Water filter (and spare) – Bottled water is bulky and heavy. Having a water filter, preferably with at least one spare, will save you space and money.
- Washing up materials – Whether it’s dish soap and sponges or dishwasher tablets, you’ll discover that you suddenly have A LOT more washing up to do.
- First aid supplies – Painkillers, flu remedies, plasters, feminine hygiene products. COVID-19 isn’t the only thing that can make you sick. As a result, make sure you have a couple of fully stocked first aid kits.
- Laundry detergent – You won’t need to wash your clothes as often, no one will see the sauce stains anyway. But you will run out of underwear if you don’t do some washing.
- Hand soap – Wash your hands properly in accordance with CDC advice.
- Hand sanitizer – Stock up at the store, or learn how to make DIY hand sanitizer.
- Shower and skincare – Whatever your routine, have spares.
- Diapers, formula, baby wipes – Don’t forget the kiddos!
Final Tips for Staying Sane
Staying healthy means looking after your mental health as well as your physical health.
If in doubt, however, speak to your health care provider for tailored support.
Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself
Social media is full of people who have learned a new skill, read three classic novels, and become a sourdough master baker during COVID-19 lockdown.
But that doesn’t mean you should feel bad for not doing these things too. Everyone works differently. If your happy place is watching Friends on loop, then watch Friends on loop. Never judge yourself by other people’s standards.
Just because you’re locked down doesn’t mean you have to stay in the house all day. Go out – even 20 mins outside will make you feel much better.
But, always remember to wear a face mask and keep socially distanced when in public places.
Zoom, Facetime, Hangouts. Whatever form, chatting face to face is better than group chats. Try watching TV or sports together. Or, have some drinks and play games.
Humans need contact and even if it’s just faces on a screen, it’s better than nothing.
Try Something New
Even if you don’t stick at it. Want to read an epic classic novel? Learn an instrument? Try to knit? Now is the time.
Little projects to keep you distracted are good, even if you give up in 2 weeks.
Don’t Watch the News
Check the headlines every so often. But, currently, good news is slow-moving.
So agonizing over coronavirus cases, the COVID-19 vaccine, and the general spread of the virus isn’t going to make anything better. And it certainly isn’t going to make you feel better.
Prepare for the Next COVID-19 Lockdown Now
You may feel like we’re coming out the other side of the coronavirus outbreak, but nothing is certain.
This may not be the only coronavirus pandemic (or other public health crisis) in our lifetime. And there may be other events that require staying home for a period of time.
So, take everything you have already learned about how to prepare for an eventual COVID-19 lockdown, and put a solid plan in place. Keep up your DIY toilet paper making skills, maintain healthy routines, and ensure you are sufficiently stocked up for the pandemic.
By preparing now for any eventuality, you can live stress-free, knowing you are ready for whatever comes next.
So, what are you waiting for?