It is a very uncertain time right now across the globe. COVID-19 has many people under lockdown or “shelter in place” orders in countries all over the world. Here is how we are coping in these difficult times.
Like millions of people, we’re on “lockdown” here but it’s complicated. The governor declared a “shelter-in-place” measure. Both my husband and I work outside of the home. Except now, decisions like work-from-home and social distancing are all over so that we can help do our part to flatten the curve. Here’s what it looks like.
Working from home when you have not
Many people are suddenly being faced with lay-offs as restaurants, bars, clubs, amusement parks, salons, and on and on are closing. Depending on where you live, this may not be the case or has already taken place. However, needless to say, many companies have mandated that if their employees can work from home, they should. And my husband and I are those people. Our jobs, like many, were not set up for work from home but now faced with closures and a serious virus, they are quickly embracing this, at least temporarily.
Here are some tips to getting used to this when you have not before.
Tips for at home
- Reach out to people who do work-from-home (WFH) already, you probably know at least one or two, they’ll know a lot about how it works, routines etc.
- Set up a routine! This is critical if you have children who are now in your home 24/7
- Ask a homeschooling, homesteader. They’ve been doing this for a while. Many of the homesteaders I admire and aspire to emulate are pros at this.
- Set up a task list and mark off accomplishments. Just because you are at home does not mean you can’t have a daily to do list that includes something you are trying to accomplish.
- Track your time. If you are used to being somewhere for 9 hours straight, and now you are fashioning an 8 hour day out of 15, then you might have to be flexible as to when that occurs. And keep track so that you don’t over or under work.
- Leave a little grace and “me” time. You may not have a lot and this time is unusual and scary but many millions of people are going through it so give your brain some space to feel and be at rest.
- REMEMBER: This is a CRISIS not a regular work from home situation. You cannot go to a coffee shop to buy some work time, you can’t send your kids to a friends’ house to work on something. You are AT HOME and nowhere else. Do not try to be as productive as you had been, just be as productive as you can be.
Skills to learn to help you
One of the things I was striving to do before this deadly virus was become more self-sufficient and self-reliant. There are many skills you can learn. Even without the threat of losing a job, getting sick or making others sick, or anything like running out of bread or toilet paper. Before all of that, I had been working toward being a producer rather than a consumer. You can too. And now is a good time to start.
Self sufficiency at home
- If you have never made bread, now is the best time. You literally only need water and flour. That’s it. You’ll have to make your own wild yeast (sourdough starter), but after that’s going, you are good to go
- While many restaurants around here are still offering carry out or delivery, you may want (or need because of money) to make your own food. There is a lot of restaurant quality food you can start making yourself today.
- Sew, knit or crochet. I’ve been making my own unpaper towels for years now and I know very little about sewing. There are many good you tubers that will guide you to what you need to know to get started.
- Break out the rake and shovel. Now is as good a time as any to start a garden. I probably couldn’t feed my family on the food in my backyard right now but I aim to. Food security can be vital in a situation like this. Even starting small can get you your own herbs and maybe not run to the store as much as you have needed to the past.
- Fix things. One of the most important aspects of becoming self sufficient is learning how to maintain your own things. Replace that window, change your own oil, cut down that troublesome tree. You can do it!
- Build a chicken tractor! You can meat or eggs in a short time. Chickens are super easy to care for.
Shelter in place
The governor of Louisiana mandated a “shelter in place” for the entire state to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are just at the beginning of this journey. At the time of this writing, it is April 8th and the #stayhome directive or shelter-in-place has been extended to April 30th. It is almost as a daily change in everything we’ve known as Americans, indeed as citizens of the world as this is a global pandemic.
The governor outlined what businesses are essential and can stay open. In addition, they are requiring almost all places of gathering, parks, pools, work out facilities, etc. be closed. People are not allowed to even gather in their own homes. You are allowed to go for a walk. Or start a garden!
The CDC has consistently raised the risk levels and requirements of the citizens to respond to the novel coronavirus. Including recent recommendations to wear cloth masks wherever you go in public where you may be near people.
What does this mean for you and your family?
Well I can only speak for what we’re doing and it is tough but totally necessary. Luckily, we were able to keep our jobs, though that was not a simple thing as we quickly had to learn how to work remotely, change job duties and even juggle emergency leave and pay cuts. But we are some of the lucky ones.
We only have one person that ever exits the house, my husband. While I have once or twice for drive through type actions (picking up medications, food, etc.). But even then, I never did exit the vehicle or touch anyone without it being restricted contact.
Our story during shelter in place
We do go on walks. A lot of walks. We have a big backyard, with swings, toys, plants, chickens, bikes, sprinklers, etc. We have a mix of toys after having 3 sons. Cards, dominoes, etc. We are doing ALL the things as a family. We are using a chromebook from the school system to help our 1st grader get work done. My mom is here (THANK GOODNESS) so my husband and I can do work.
We can do this
Despite all that life has been full of pitfalls. First, the entire family got sick with an upper respiratory virus (we got tested, not COVID19). Then the washer/dryer broke. Then the refrigerator finally died. There are two things to take from all of this mayhem. First, YOU CAN DO IT. There are serious, tough decisions, unemployment applications, WIC/SNAP benefits to apply for, bank loans, small business loans, grants, etc. that millions of Americans are having to face and consider. Second, even if you have to do this. You can wash laundry in a bucket and dry laundry on a line, even in the rainy season. You can put your meat in a cooler with ice. There is always a way.
The service people helping us, they too have to risk their safety and that of their family in order to fix our appliances. And to all people who are out there, because they care for animals, farm food for the world, and not least of which, all the healthcare workers dealing with this pandemic, you are going strong and we stay home for you. In fact, on our street, there are at least two people with camping trailers out front, hooked up and running so that the doctor/nurse can have a safe place away from their family to keep from giving COVID19 to them.
Those who are, have been or will be shortly directly impacted by this virus, we hope and pray for their safe return home. It is for them and for our own family that we stay home, don’t bend the rules, only go out when necessary. Many millions of people will still need to go to the hospital during the crisis and we want to do our part to be part of the solution and not the problem.
In this together
Just remember, we are in this together. We know many millions, millions of people are losing their jobs, safety, security and many thousands are dying. But we can get through this together. Support your neighbor. Teach, reach out, donate, grow food, stay home. Call family, drive by for a birthday, FaceTime your uncle. You got this. We’re in this together.
You can find me and others at the hop!