Guess what? COVID-19 is still circulating the world and filling everyone’s news channels and social media pages with more stats, information and memes than we possibly know what to do with. As the world’s nations quickly move to try and contain the spread of the virus, the public has gone into what I can only describe as mass panic and it reminds me a little bit of something …
THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! Okay that may be a tad dramatic since I don’t think there has ever been a zombie apocalypse in the non-fiction world but the way people are behaving, it is starting to feel like the end of the world in some places. The virus has come, people are getting infected, shops are literally empty because there is nothing left and schools are officially closed or doing e-learning. It does look like the end of the world. But now what? Now what are we meant to do now that schools are closed, work will most likely also slack off, ‘quarantine and chill’ has become a thing and there is an astonishing shortage of toilet paper? It’s a long wait ahead, and it’s best to be prepared even when so little is really in our control.
Everyone and every country are responding quite differently to the Coronavirus. In South Africa, things have become quite serious as COVID-19 has been declared as a national disaster. Scary right? This means travel bans to high risk countries, all learning institutions have been closed and gatherings with more than a hundred people are an absolute no. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it will actually reduce the infection and spread rate because it is minimising access to high risk areas and forcing social distancing. However, this hasn’t boded well for grocery shopping, or parents who now have children without a place to go during the day. I went to buy some ingredients for dinner on Monday and was shocked to see that there was no protein in the store. Absolutely none! Most of the non-perishables had been cleaned off the shelves and I couldn’t find even the shadow of a roll of toilet paper. These are crazy times for us to be living in, especially when we, the public, have got so little control over the situation. So, here are a few suggestions that can hopefully help all of us get through this pandemic – together.
Don’t buy the whole store
How did I find myself in the situation on Monday where I had to go to four different stores to find a chicken? It’s because this thought that we are all going to be locked away in our houses, unable to go grocery shopping was gassed over the entire population and now everyone is ensuring that they can outlive any quarantine. The only problem with stocking up like mad all in one go is that you’re not the only person who’s going to think that way. The result means empty stores with nothing but lettuce and other fresh produce before the afternoon. Why is that a bad thing you may ask? Well what about all of those people who can’t take off work in the morning to go grocery shopping? Or save their shopping for the end of the week or even the end of the month because they are waiting patiently for their monthly income. They are going to walk into a store and be horrifically surprised to find there is nothing left. Now, thanks to everyone else loading up for the zombie apocalypse, those who are less fortunate, those who don’t have the time or means are left to suffer. That’s not fair and actually, not cool. So, if you’re going to stock up, try and restrain yourself from buying half the store. Imagine you can only go shopping late in the afternoon and arrive to empty shelves with a hungry family at home. Try not to enforce that reality on other people.
Find toilet paper alternatives
I have absolutely no idea why (because Coronavirus is more like a cold and doesn’t cause diarrhoea as far as I know) but for some reason everyone is buying toilet paper by the tree load. Seriously I haven’t been able to find toilet paper for days because no matter how often stores restock, the shelves are empty in no time. So, I’d highly recommend looking at investing in toilet paper alternatives. If you can find toilet paper – great! You may want to buy it in case you never see it again. However, if you can’t find any, try looking for roller towel (paper towels), serviettes and things like that. I can’t think of any situation worse than running out of toilet paper because then you really are in the … and there is very little you can do about it.
Think clean, hygienic and healthy
The key to any situation that involves a virus or health-related issue is to try and be as hygienic as possible. Every time you think about it, wash your hands and then wash them again. Keep a bottle of hand sanitiser (if you can find some in the stores) in your bag or car or on your desk. Try avoid overcrowded areas and practice social distancing. The beauty of this modern world means that even if we can’t meet up with our friends, these magnificent little things called phones can keep us in contact so the only thing you’re really missing out on is being close enough to touch them. Which, at the moment, I don’t think anyone is really missing. Try to keep you, your family and your space as clean as possible. Also, eat fruits filled with vitamins, try to exercise and keep a healthy lifestyle and make sure you’re taking your medications. I know these are all quite lame things to say but these things do keep us healthy and right now we all want to stay healthy so doing anything you can to up that immune system can’t be a bad idea. Just think clean, healthy thoughts.
Stock up a little – just a little
Okay, back to my earlier point about stocking up. I understand that things are a bit nuts right now and given the state of the world and things being shut down, I get that you may want to stock up just in case. However, if you’re going to load up the pantry and fill the freezer, rather do so gradually than all at once. Don’t be that guy who buys eight chickens, twelve containers of mince and half the tins on the shelf. Rather buy a little extra every two/three days. Buy two chickens instead of one, or six cans rather than four. You’re still stocking up, but doing so at a pace that can allow the retailers to compensate and in a way that doesn’t mean everyone else will be eating the crumbs left over from the stampede to buy anything non-perishable. Stocking up is okay, but think like a team player and how you’d want other shoppers to behave if the roles were reversed.
What to do without schools – constructive activities for kids
One of the big ‘events’ that has happened as a result of this pandemic is that schools on a global level are being closed either for early holidays or for online learning so as to limit the spread. Now while this is a great idea in theory, because schools are literally petri dishes for disease with all the kids running around, this does leave a small, teeny tiny problem. Kids are now home from school during the day, and I don’t think day-care can count as a plan B, and I’m guessing most parents for the mean time still have day jobs that they can’t leave behind. Also, childcare can be incredibly expensive especially when it isn’t planned. A tip for handling children that now have nowhere to be during the day and keep them occupied is to have some constructive activities ready. For example, my younger brother is supposed to be spending a lot of time in our makeshift gym at home to prepare for rugby season. He also has online work to do for school and my dad has given him a bunch of books to read and academic activities to keep him occupied. So, if you are looking for ways to keep children busy, try look for both fun activities and ones that have a learning advantage. Books are always a good idea. So are puzzles, learning/study apps such as Khan academy or you could even give them projects to do at the house that could take them a week to finish. I know that everyone’s situations will be different and this isn’t a one-size-fits-all problem, but at least these ideas are a start.
Make the best of it and think positive
The truth is, things are going to close. People are probably going to be sent home from work and that means spending a lot of times at your own house. The only way to get through this difficult period is to try and make the best of it and think as optimistically as possible. If you’re stuck at home, now is the ideal time to get all of those house projects out the way that you’ve never seemed to have time for. Or, you could get all of that extra work or filing finally out the way. Or, you could get organised with your planners, clean out your cupboards or simply take the forced downtime to relax. Read that stack of books that you save for the holiday that never comes or finally start that tv series. Another crucial thing to do is think positively. Instead of thinking about everything you’re missing out on, rather think of the positives. For instance, you can spend more time with your family and will have more time to do so many things. Cooking dinner, eating together and nightly board game competitions could be something your whole family can enjoy. Also, this ‘break’ could give everyone the opportunity to clear their heads and get some perspective and who knows? Maybe by the end of this pandemic, everyone will appreciate family time a little bit more or be a little more thoughtful to everyone else?
And so there you have it! Time’s are difficult right now, I’m not going to lie. Everything is topsy turvey and quite frankly, all that does is cause unnecessary stress. That being said, I do hope that things aren’t too crazy for you and that these tips and suggestions help you get through everything. Now is a time more than ever when we have to stick together, so if you have any tips that you want to share with everyone else for how to manage right now, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments section. Otherwise, thank you all so much for reading and I wish you all good health and good luck for the upcoming weeks. (and I hope you all have enough toilet paper)
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx