Five Tips for the (mild) Apocalypse
First, my credentials: I am not an epidemiologist. I don’t study diseases spread. I am not a health worker.
I work from home. I school from home. I shop from home. I have experienced at least half a dozen major hurricanes in my life (including one that left my town shut down for about a month). My closest friends and family live far enough from me that I can’t visit them. I know what it’s like to be home-stuck and supply-short. So, I’m here to give you my top five tips on staying sane during this viral outbreak (according to my limited experience)!
Find the nooks in your house. We get used to using our homes for a very limited range of activities. Maybe you spend most of your time on the couch, or at your computer desk. The dining table, you are certain, is only for eating. Well, not any more! Find the little spaces in your house and use them differently. Rearrange furniture if you have to, but find the novel spaces and move between them. Sit in a different seat at the table, do your homework standing at the kitchen counter, watch TV like a kid sitting cross-legged on the floor. Make a blanket fort (ok, maybe I just want an excuse to be a kid again). What makes isolation so difficult is a strict routine and a loss of variety in the day-to-day. So, change it up!
Remember you’re not actually alone. When I was younger, we didn’t have all this fancy digital connection in video calling and online social gathering spaces–but now we do and most of my friends are remote! Digitally streamed friend dates still count. Unlike my experience with the hurricanes, your utilities are not down, so use them. If you are lucky enough to have a VR headset, now is the time to break it out–all the socializing, none of the contagion!
Learn to cook. This may sound facetious, but I’m serious. Food infrastructure has not collapsed, and produce will still be resupplied to grocery stores. Again, back to the lack of variety thing: change it up. Don’t eat what you always do, but think outside of the box. Not only is this a valuable skill to learn while you have nothing better to do, it can give you something to look forward to at the end of the day. There are literally millions of free recipes online for every diet and budget. Get creative with what’s available, just wash your produce thoroughly.
Don’t hoard. This really should be number one, but it’s old news so I’m leaving it down here. Idiots are always going to think they have to hoard everything to have anything during a disaster. I’ve seen gas stations drained in a day, grocery stores wiped out, and traffic jams at drug stores–and there’s never any advantage in it. Chances are, you don’t know yet what you’ll miss until it’s gone. Don’t submit to the tragedy of the commons. My sister is having to go without baby wipes for her newborn because some dinkus thought they could scalp people on Amazon. Don’t be the dinkus.
Don’t panic. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans can feel smug about this one! When big things happen, it’s simple: don’t panic. This crisis will eventually pass, and our lives here in America especially are well-cared for. Don’t flinch in the face of challenge because you think you’ll have to wipe your butt with junk mail for a while (you won’t). Instead, let’s be strong for each other, take some deep breaths, and weather this storm. The wind isn’t even that high–we just have to stay inside.
I’ve had some strange experiences in my time, but this COVID-19 business really takes the cake so far. Hopefully it acts as a lesson we can use to learn to come together as a species in the face of existential threats. Then again, maybe that’s too much hope to place on a pandemic. Let me know if you have any other suggestions! In the meantime, get a bidet, don’t hoard the baby wipes, and talk to your friends.
Here’s to making it out of 2020 alive and, almost as importantly, sane!