Keep Your Family Safe and Healthy During the COVID Pandemic

Right now, the entire world is facing a crisis, unlike anything we have seen in over one hundred years. That can leave you worried and scared for your family. I understand; I feel it as well. Right now, we have to focus on the preparedness and care of our families – physically and mentally.

My husband and I are homesteaders, so preparedness is a way of life for us. When you rely on your garden to provide a bulk of your food, you learn how to be prepared for the unknown, but most people don’t live as we do. 

So, with warnings that the Coronavirus crisis will continue on its streak, getting prepared to weather whatever is coming needs to be a priority for all families.

If you’re feeling concerned, you’re in the right place. Let’s look at things you can do for your family now. 

Gather Pantry Staples to Make Meals 

Depending on where you live, grocery stores might be depleted of their stock. Where I live, our grocery stores are full, but now they limit how many items you can buy and how many people can enter the store at once.

Now is the time to gather all those essential foods for your family. If you or one of your family members contracts COVID, you must self-quarantine for 14 days. That means you might be unable to run out to the store beforehand, so keeping a stock of food is essential.

It’s tempting to buy all the convenience foods; binge eating is a real issue when staying home. However, what you need are versatile pantry staples. Here are some things that we keep in our home.

  • Whole chicken, ground beef, and chicken breasts
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda and baking powder 
  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce 
  • Rice 
  • Oatmeal and oatmeal packets 
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Butter 
  • Potatoes
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Gravy 
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Pancake mix
  • Maple Syrup 

Right now, to get the basics, you might need to go to multiple stores. My best suggestion is to plan out a simple week of meals and base your grocery shopping on what you would need to survive for two weeks for those meals.

Make Face Masks 

The CDC announced that they are recommending everyone wears a mask when they leave home. We know that N95s and medical masks need to be left to the doctors, nurses, and first responders, but you can wear cloth face masks.

wear a face mask

While you can find plenty of people in your area to make one for you, making face masks at home can be a task for your kids.

If you have some necessary sewing skills, you can find easy patterns to try.

If you have no sewing skills, don’t worry. You can still make no-sew masks at home; they’re great projects for kids.

It’s best to plan to keep your kids at home, but they should still have masks on the safe side if you do need to take them out.  

Learn Proper Safety Measures When You Leave

The coronavirus is highly contagious, and if you’re going into questionable areas, like a grocery store, you need to practice the best safety measures

You should wear a face covering. Now, the CDC recommends fabric masks for everyone. These don’t necessarily stop you from getting the virus but help slow the spread. You can spread the virus without symptoms. 

Never touch your face when you go out in public. I never knew that I touched my face so often until I couldn’t do so. You might need to be aware, and wearing a face mask does help.

Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer as often as possible.

Here is what you should do:

Try taking as few items as possible with you into the store. Leave your purse behind. Take your list, keys, money, and phone, if you must. Whatever you bring into the store needs to be sanitized when you get home.

These measures might seem dramatic, but you’re keeping your family safe! 

Create a Decontamination Area

When someone comes in or out of the house, they need to decontaminate. We know that the virus can live on surfaces, and it’s best to assume it is on you rather than believe it’s not. Having a decontamination area keeps you and your family safe.

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Don’t wear your shoes inside! The virus could live on the materials of shoes; we just aren’t sure yet. So, take them off outside to protect your family.
  2. Remove your outer layer of clothes before going to see your family. You could enter your basement and remove your clothes in an ideal situation. Then, toss them into the washing machine.
  3. Take a shower immediately upon getting home. If you cannot, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap. 

Stay Mentally Healthy

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of the Coronavirus crisis is staying mentally healthy. For many people, myself included, losing a social life and the ability to have alone time without kids can be devastating. Many people are quarantined at home by themselves, and that can increase the rate of depression.

There are a few things that you can try at home to stay mentally healthy during this time. 

Exercise Daily

Gyms are closed, but you can find exercises that you can do online. Amazon Prime has streaming exercises. Check if your local gym has uploaded workouts on their social media pages.

Talk walks, try yoga, learn pilates, and stretch often. Exercise is proven to decrease depression.

Drink and Eat as Healthily as Possible

It’s tempting to binge on all the ice cream, chips, and chocolate when you’re stuck at home. That might make you feel emotionally better at first, but it’s terrible for your health.

Use this time to make dishes you never had time to try before, and focus on ones that are good for you. Try using grocery delivery options available in your town to get the ingredients. 

Lettuce and salad mixes are cheap, so keep several on hand with you. Grab plenty of chicken or ground turkey, both of which are lean meats. Try seafood as well. Invest in your physical health.

Contact Friends and Family Daily

We live in the age of technology, and thankfully, we can call and FaceTime friends and family daily. Take advantage of that! You can use Zoom to have a mom’s night with other ladies in your area. Call all of your family on Marco Polo.

While you might be stuck at home, you can still talk to as many people as possible. 

Find a Productive Hobby

Happy senior woman gardening

Hobbies can make you feel better, and they can be anything. Gardening, exercising, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, and more are all hobbies you can try. Order the supplies online!

Focus on What You Can Control

This is hard for everyone, but focusing on what it’s a sad situation makes it worse. We cannot control this situation, but you can focus on what you can control. Use this time to do things you didn’t have time to do.

Maybe you wanted more time with your family. You have it now, and you’re safe in your home. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to garden. Take that time now. Mentally shifting your point of view does help.

Talk to a Doctor

Right now, telemedicine services are available for mental health. You can talk to a professional if you feel as if your depression is peaking and you need more help. 

Keep Your Kids Entertained

With four kids at home, I can tell you that keeping kids entertained during quarantine is rough. Kids are bored, and you don’t want them stuck on video games all day.

Here are some things we do with our kids.

  • Take 1-2 hours per day for educational activities with your kids. 
  • Have a family read-aloud time. Find a chapter book and read two chapters per day. 
  • Play board games together as a family. 
  • Put together a puzzle; take an hour to work on it each evening. 
  • Have an art time each day when the kids can be creative.
  • Have family movie nights. Disney+ is streaming all kinds of great movies for kids!

Get Outside 

A stay-at-home order doesn’t mean you must be stuck inside the house. It does depend on your location, but if you can get outside, do that as much as possible. It’s good for your immune system and your mental health. Kids need to be out.

Our local playgrounds are closed, but that doesn’t mean our kids don’t love to go outside. We have a large yard, but if you don’t, don’t worry. 🙂

Here are some things you can do outside with your kids. 

  • Make sidewalk chalk art
  • Take a walk
  • Find a local hiking trail
  • Go bike riding 
  • Go on a nature walk to find leaves and local flora
  • Birdwatch 
  • Plant a garden 
  • Jump rope 

Maintain social distance when you go outside. You shouldn’t be closer than 6 feet to anyone other than who is in your nuclear family. 

Stay Safe and Social Distance

Remember that this isn’t forever; if we work together, we can make the spread slow down and lose fewer lives. We will never be able to get back all of the precious lives lost to this disease, but if we stay home and focus on our family and each other, we can prevent it from taking more lives. Stay safe together!

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