Practicing Social Distancing – 101 Ways
As many of my friends and family know, I grew up in a small town outside of Las Vegas, a place called Golden Valley Arizona. Growing up we shopped once a month for groceries, went into to town only 1 time a month, lived on a 5 acre lot of land between my mother and grandparents. We lived remotely, in the middle of the desert on dirt roads with neighbors who were miles apart. We had 100+ animals at any given time, an orchard, a garden, and lots of work always needing to be done.
Social distancing is what I grew up on and it isn’t impossible. Even though you may not have 100+ plus animals to care for, a garden to tend, fruit picking or canning to do, you also are not destined to lose your mind. If you are social butterfly this could seem really hard or close to impossible and you may even be feeling the four walls closing in but it doesn’t have to be.
The WHO and The CDC are recommending social distancing as a way to control the spread of COVID-19 and here is how it has helped other countries grasp control. It is an effective measure, I’d like to share some of my tips:.
Combine Your Errands
When I was a kid, my mother and I did all of the months errands in a single day. Typically, that day was Saturday or Sunday, and the errands included the grocery store, doctors office, and if I was lucky time at the park with a sub sandwich, but all the other errands got done that day as well.
My mother being the gardener she is, also grew a great deal of our own food. In summer, produce came from our garden, eggs year-round from our chickens, and fruit from our orchard. We canned a lot in the summer to save our fruit and produce for winter. Lots of jams, stewed tomatoes and apple butter. If there was any entertaining to be had, that was camping trips for a weeks in the mountains, fishing for our own food, or summer vacation in the Montana Badlands in 700 square foot cabin with no bathroom (just an outhouse). Moving to the city was quite the acclimation for me, but going back to my roots of social distancing, is second nature.
Combining errands may necessitate a rethink on how you get things done:
- Consider an average week.
- How often do you leave the house?
- Where do you go when you do?
- How often do you eat out?
- How often do you socialize with friends?
- Go to the Movies? Bowling? Tennis?
- Start considering iOptions or online or virtual options.
- Can you buy groceries online? Instacart, Curbside Pickup, Uber Eats
- Dr. Appointments virtually?
- Medical visits through an apps instead of in person
- Plan Ahead and Buy In Bulk
- Planning and bulk buying are essential to a good social distancing program.
To cut your grocery shopping down to once a week or less:
Identify your “must-have” foods. These are the things you either use in a lot of cooking, or that help you feel food-secure. For us, garlic, carrots, and rice are “must-haves” because they feature in a lot of the dishes we make. Peanut butter is a “must-have” because I feel safer knowing we have it – it’s a cheap source of protein.
Think about foods which last a long time.
These are items like: pasta, rice, beans, flour, sugar, canned goods and meat (deep freeze).
Consider the meals you make most often.
Which ingredients do they have in common? These are your targets for bulk purchases. Aim to have at least one item in every major food group (grains, proteins, fruits, veggies, herbs/spices, and fats/oils) that commonly appears in your cooking and that you can stock in bulk. You may not always have exactly what you want to eat that day, but you’ll likely have the ingredients to make something palatable.
Explore shelf-stable replacements for certain ingredients. Currently, the grocery store at the end of my street has almost no canned beans – but the shelves of dry beans are fully stocked.
Buy extras only of things you’ll use before they expire. Here’s where choosing the most shelf-stable version is your friend: The longer it lasts, the more likely you are to use it before it expires. Things you won’t use before they expire are a waste of money.
Take advantage of the weather. In many parts of the U.S., it’s still cool enough to store things like apples and potatoes in spaces like the garage or back porch. They’ll keep longer without wasting refrigerator space.
Repeat this process for other commonly-used items, like cleaning products, pads/tampons, toilet paper, and so on. My problem is that I have always grown up this way so many times we have extra unneeded items. In this instances it has paid off for us to have extra supply of cleaning, and regular household items.
For me, the main foods have always been chicken, ground turkey, rice, spaghetti pasta, bread, garlic, onion, carrots, broccoli, spinach, oranges, beans, couscous, quinoa, peanut butter, vinegar, and olive oil. If I have these things in my house, I know I can eat appealing, balanced meals with very little work. Work up a similar list of your own, using the foods that appear most often in your own cooking, and find ways to buy at least two weeks’ worth of them at a time. Big Box stores help a lot.
Once you’re stocked up on essentials, you’re ready to stay in the house for longer periods of time. Here’s the next challenge: If you’re not used to staying home, how do you do it without feeling trapped?
Comfort Zone – Home Workspace
If you’re working from home, an at-home workspace is a must. A comfortable one at that. Even if you don’t have an office and your space is very small, anything can make do. Put your projects in a box, with your pendaflex green hanging folders and keep that with you where ever you decided to setup shop (Kitchen table, Kitchen Desk Nook, Upstairs loft, Etc). You want to make sure your projects get done and in a timely manner. You will have to time block while working from home and understand your deadlines. Most of the time, you will the urge to break away and do laundry or dishes, or the kids who also may be home with you, will also be needing time and attention. While the outbreak has already created inconveniences (and much worse) for millions of people in the form of travel restrictions, health scares and stock market turmoil, it has been an exciting time for some fans of remote work.
At-home social distancing time is the ideal time to tackle projects you’re curious about or have been meaning to get to, and it starts with having a workspace for these projects. Set aside some area in your house to work on the thing you’ve always wanted to get to. Cover your dining table with a 5000-piece puzzle. Put a card table in the basement and stack all your cheese-making tools onto it. Park your laptop beside your favorite chair so you can work on that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
Social Media Is Your Frenemy
On the one hand, social media is vital. It keeps you connected with friends, family and co-workers. You can share information, update everyone on how your life is going, and communicate with others who might need help.
In COVID-19 terms, there’s a fine line between “connecting with your loved ones” and “getting totally flabbergasted by all the virus-related news.” Use social media mindfully and proactively. Log on with the express purpose of updating your social circles or checking in on them. Then, log off. Go back to work or try any of the following ideas to help keep balance to maintain your mental and emotional health – which you need just as much as your physical health.
- Try a New Recipe
- Start a Garden
- Read a Book
- Play a Board Game
- Try Yoga Classes or other at home fitness
- Put Together a Puzzle
- Treat Yourself to a Spa Night
- Arrange an Indoor Picnic
- Enjoy a Baking Night
- Try a New Craft
- Take an Online Class
- Catch Up on The News
- Call an Old Friend or Family Member
- Make a Family Video
- Watch Old Classic Movies
- Have a Dance Party .
- Play Dress-Up
- Have a Bonfire
- Clean Out Your Closet
- Christmas Shop Online
- Have a costume Night:
- Throw an indoor picnic
- Have a Christmas Party out of season
- Host an international Dinner.
- Film a “Newscast”
- Have an Indoor/Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
- Take up a new hobby and research and practice.
- Wood work
- Play an instrument
- Drawing / painting art
- Cooking Baking
- Learn New Language
- Card Tricks
- Try Podcasting
- Learn to Juggle
- Learn a new hairstyle
- Learn how to braid hair
- Learn Tarot Cards
- Take up Astrology
- Learn to Repair Computers or Phones
- Themed Movie Night
- Film a Cooking Show
- Have a Karaoke Party Night
- Have a LEGO Building contest
- Have a water balloon fight
- Have a Photoshoot
- Study for Homework
- Do a word search, crossword or Sudoku
- Do items on Home Improvement Lists
- Write Time Capsule letters
- Make a bucket list
- Deep Clean Your Home
- Watch nature cameras
- Watch old family videos
- Shop Online for necessities
- Clean up your emails
- Scan and Archive all your Receipts and Computer
- Write in a journal
- Clean out your garage
- Make a list of 100 quotes you love
- Make a list of 100 things that make you happy
- Make a list of 100 things you are grateful for
- Make a list of people you might owe an apology to
- Write apology letters.
- Write a letter of gratitude and appreciation to someone
- Write down a list of 100 people who have inspired you.
- Declutter home and throw away unnecessary paper
- Go through all pens and markers, throw out bad ones.
- Make a vision board for the next 1, 2 3, 4 and 5 year goals
- Listen to some podcasts
- Spend a few hours reviewing your bills and see how you can reduce outgoing expenses
- Scan old photos
- Do online networking
- Call family or friends you haven’t spoken to in a long time.
- Start a collection of something
- Read up on new law changes in your community
- Research politics, senate bills, assembly bills that matter to you.
- If there isn’t a law on something, write your senator, and ask why it isn’t there and make a pitch to get it into law.
- Start a petition
- Read the dictionary or thesaurus – increase your vocabulary and education.
- Take a long bath
- Discover new music,
- Go Star gazing, and learn about astrology.
- Give your self a manicure, pedicure
- Make a homemade face mask or beauty product from items in your pantry.
- Rewatch a favorite movie
- Watch a Ted Talk.
- Update your resume
- Google your self
- Get ordained to do marriages:
- Create a blog
- Sage Your House
- Play Some Video Games
- Delete apps you don’t use on your phone
- Clean out your fridge
- Create a new Pinterest Board
- Wash your windows
- Do Laundry from start to finish
- Create a website
- Research Bartending *& Cocktail Ideas
- Organize Your books
- Organize your pantry
- Organize your Pots & Pans
- Organize your Tupperware
- Make a list of all your best traits that distinguish you from others
- Make a list of your bad habits and how to improve on those
- Explore Google Earth and check out different options
- Explore Reddit
- Rearrange your furniture
- See how long you can plank
Hopefully all of these things will help keep you from going mad. You can only stare at the same four walls for so long. So get creative and get curious. With all the times we are overworked and stressed out, take this down time to heart. Build you future empire or just day dream the social distancing away. This list is inclusive and can keep you occupied for at least two weeks.