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There’s never been a better time to get organised!
Using extra time at home productively
By Jennifer Manefield
This blog post is on the back of a conversation yesterday evening with Cathy Player, Marketing Communications Manager for Howards Storage World.
We were discussing the rapidly changing Covid 19 situation and how in a few short days it had impacted our friends, families and working lives. Maybe self-isolation at some point is inevitable. This means you or someone in your household has been exposed to Covid 19. Or, you may be working from home as part of the nationwide effort to slow the spread of the virus to reduce its impact on the economy and give our scientists time to better understand and treat the illness.
So, in the interests of being proactive, lets discuss not only how to manage self-isolation, but also use the time productively.
Covid 19, is a Coronavirus and related to the common cold. Some people get colds regularly and brush them off really quickly, others cough and splutter for weeks. Viruses mutate and every exposure to a cold and flu builds your immunity as does seasonal vaccination. Kids don’t seem to be getting Covid 19 very much. Why? Doctors and scientists think it might be because their immune systems are already on high alert because of all the new illnesses, bugs and bacteria they are exposed to as they start childcare, playgroup and school.
In an ideal world self-isolation would mean locking yourself in a room, having a bathroom just for yourself and somehow miraculously being delivered food while the cleaning gets done for you.
So. Not. Happening.
Let’s face it. We share houses, bathrooms, household duties and nurture the people we live with. Just as colds and flus often go through a household, Covid 19 might too.
So let’s talk practical strategies that will be useful immediately and have longer term benefits.
FACT: Viruses protect themselves in many ways, one of which is to have a coating that is lipid or fatty based, just like we produce oils that protect our skin. Strip them of this protective layer with good, old-fashioned soap and water. Make it fun for kids by getting them to find songs that last the required time. Keep your nails shorter or invest in a nail brush. Wear less jewellery on your hands or soap rings and bracelets as you wash too.
Hand sanitisers with a 60% alcohol content will destroy the protective coating on the virus too. So use this regularly when you can’t wash your hands. Especially when you are emptying a waste basket or bin filled with snotty tissues, for example, or touching hand rails and door knobs.
FACT: Someone who has Covid 19 may also have it in their gut, which means it is in their “number 2’s”, poo or faeces (however you call it in your household). It is a well-known that flushing toilets with the lid open can contaminate surfaces and items lying around like toothbrushes. This is the perfect opportunity to get everybody closing the toilet lid before they flush. Don’t be afraid to put signs up. Get the kids involved in making them with silly illustrations if it makes them more invested.
Cleaning household surfaces:
Alcohol: 60 percent (or more) ethanol or isopropanol, specifically.
Sodium hypochlorite: 0.1 to 0.5 percent of this ingredient, which is commonly used in household bleach.
Products don’t have to be the more famous brands. They just need to have these ingredients. Check out the generic brands on the bottom or extra-high shelves in the supermarket. Follow the directions so you aren’t damaging surfaces or your skin.
If someone in the house has Covid 19 then it is probably beneficial to wash towels and sheets at 60 degrees C to kill bacteria and viruses.
Start menu planning and food prepping for 2 weeks but maybe four is better. Why? Because just like seasonal colds and flus pass from family member to family member then probably it will be four weeks before everyone in the family who might get Covid19 has had it.
Just like you involve the kids in your recycling efforts, involve them in menu planning and teach them some basic recipes or get them to assist with food prep in an age appropriate way.
Explore online delivery of groceries. Yes, you can get home delivered fast-food but if part of protecting yourself is eating well to boost your immune system, then think about fruit and vegetables. Root veggies store well. If fresh isn’t going to last then modern snap-freezing techniques means that frozen fruit and vegetables are a close second best for quality.
Every culture has an immune boosting soup recipe handed down from Grandma, Nana, Oma, Jida, Ama or Nai Nai. Pull out that recipe and make it.
Don’t panic buy. This is not a war zone and we don’t need to be responsible for contributing to the ridiculous scenes we have seen with toilet paper. But let’s be prepared with a quantity that can easily use over time whether you get this or any other virus that puts you in bed for a few days.
If you can’t go out for two-week then what medicines or products might you need in that time? Sanitary products, batteries, pet food, spring to mind…. but remember enough for 1 month, not 365 days!
Get educated: not the gossip, fearmongering and conspiracy theories but science. Knowledge is power and knowledge arms you with the best strategies. I suggest something like the ABC Radio CoronaCast podcast to stay abreast of what science understands and to learn practical strategies for day-to-day management and behaviour change. What’s written here are some suggestions that may change as we better understand the virus.
Now let’s talk some positives about working from home.
Do you know what clutter blindness is?
The simplest way to describe it would be your day-to-day opening of wardrobes, cupboards, or the state of your garage, without taking in what they actually looks like. We go on with our daily lives never actually questioning the things that have been packed away for months or even years.
So, choose your wardrobe, pantry or linen press and empty it our completely. Give those shelves a good wipe out and inspect for signs of mould. Now look at all those things and I bet you suddenly realise just how much stuff you haven’t used in a long time. Just moving it somewhere else suddenly sparks awareness.
So now you can put aside things you can donate. Put away the things you use most frequently in the easiest to reach places. Oh, and leave room for air to circulate. Take the time to research the best items that help you with storage rather than impulse buy. Take the time to research all possible points of donation. Old towels can go to your local vet or animal shelter. Look up your next household chemical cleanout run by your local council in conjunction with the EPA. Get the idea?
If you are “forced” into working from home then how many minutes or hours a day of commuting are you no longer having to suffer? The digital world keeps us connected so you are not alone.
Instead, do something to nurture yourself. Take this opportunity to get out in the fresh air; to exercise; to practice a hobby, to just chill. Enjoy the fact you are not in traffic, stuck behind idiots looking at their phones who make you miss the change of traffic lights.
Your physical and mental wellbeing will thank you.