It has been a crazy few weeks for all of us not only physically (I’m thinking of you grocery and postal workers!) but emotionally as well. As someone who is type A, this whole situation has had my mind working non-stop.
Everywhere you look there’s a constant onslaught of information. News platforms, social media outlets, conversations with friends, family, coworkers, and even random people in line at the store waiting to buy supplies – you can’t escape what’s happening in the world right now.
However, despite all the fear and worry circulating around me, I am choosing to stay calm yet vigilant.
I am not running around buying a year’s worth of toilet paper or hoarding other essentials like hand sanitizer, N95 masks, or Lysol wipes.
This does not mean I am not taking action to ensure that I am prepared to the best of my ability. If quarantine orders are given in my area (which they were just last night!), I want to make sure that I am able to limit my exposure with others as much as possible not only for my family’s safety but also for the safety of others.
As new information comes out about the virus, it becomes more and more evident that we simply do not know everything yet.
In fact, it has only just been discovered within the last week of this writing that there are asymptomatic carriers among us. This means that there are those who show NO SYMPTOMS who test positive for the virus who can spread it to others without knowing it.
And, since this virus is known to be extremely contagious, this poses a serious problem.
Whether you believe that the virus is dangerous or not or that it won’t really affect you because you’re young and healthy isn’t what I’m getting at. What’s important to realize is the simple fact that, at least here in the US, we are not equipped to handle the onslaught of positive cases coming into our hospitals if and when this gets worse.
There simply won’t be enough beds for everyone and I am not even talking about just the virus patients. You have to think of every other scenario where you would need a hospital bed like childbirth, car accidents and other serious injuries, diabetic patients, those who suffer a heart attack, those who become critically ill, etc.
With a sudden drastic increase in viral cases needing a hospital bed and respirator, there won’t be room for everyone.
That is why quarantine is vital in slowing down the spread of serious infections like this.
This is why I am choosing to not only think of my family’s health but also the health and wellbeing of those in my community and beyond.
I encourage you to take a moment to collect your thoughts and think logically.
Even if your city, county, or country goes into lockdown, it does NOT mean that you will not be able to get the essentials you need like groceries, personal care products, water, gas, or medicine.
Your utilities aren’t going to just shut off. You will still have power, gas, and internet though the latter may be slower with more people at home consuming online content like Netflix and so on.
Look to Italy as an example. Everyone still has access to the essentials but the important thing is limiting interaction with others in order to slow down the spread of the virus.
SO! Having said all of this, what steps am I taking during this trying time?
Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and your needs will, therefore, be different than mine.
Be smart as you navigate this situation and be respectful of others. Don’t be selfish and grab everything on the shelf or hoard items you would never normally buy just because it’s available.
Not everyone has a year’s supply of food, water, and other supplies on hand. In fact, MOST people don’t.
Most people don’t even have 14 days worth of supplies, so yes, we are all taken a bit off guard by this situation because it’s hard to believe that this could be very serious. We don’t want to look like we’re panicking or look like a crazy person.
So, for now, let’s focus on being mindful and getting what we need without going overboard.
How to Mindfully Prepare for Quarantine During an Emergency Situation
When it comes to being “locked in your house” for 14 days or longer with minimal outings for the essentials, it’s good to have a few staples on hand – if you can get them.
The amount you will need of these items depends on your family, but a good rule of thumb is to have 14 days worth of non-perishable staples. You will be amazed by how creative you can get with the items in your pantry!
To figure out your unique staples, I highly suggest sitting down with a pen and paper or open the notepad on your phone and start making a list of the MOST USED items in your household. This should be items you use MOST within a 14-day period.
I have a few categories below to use as an example.
*** SIDE NOTE – I realize that a ton of items are hard to find and are out of stock in many places. Even as I write this article, things I could link to yesterday are gone today. This does not mean it’s time to panic. I encourage you to get creative. Support local businesses if they have an online store, share (safely) with friends and family if you can. Many companies sell their own products online on their own websites so it’s worth checking if you have need.
My family’s most-used list looks like this:
- Black or refried beans
- Black tea or coffee
- Chicken and beef stock
- Diced tomatoes
- Frozen fruit
- Frozen peas
- Fruit preserves
- Green lentils
- Nut butter
- Pasta noodles
- Pasta sauce
- Rice (I buy this in bulk, usually one 50lb bag once a year)
- Sea Salt, Himalayan salt, and peppercorns (I buy these in bulk)
- Scandinavian crispbread (like Finncrisp)
- Spices (I buy these in bulk as needed – it’s usually an Italian herb blend, bay leaves, paprika, cinnamon, etc. stuff I use often!)
- Sweeteners like honey and sugar
- Vanilla extract
For these staples, I either buy them on an “as-needed” basis or I have one or two extra on hand (i.e. cans of beans, pasta noodles and sauce, and diced tomatoes).
I store loose dry goods like lentils, granola, oats, and so on, in airtight containers that I keep full.
*** NOTE – If you’re having trouble finding certain staples, you can check out roundeyesupply.com. They carry a ton of bulk items. However, the shipping is pretty steep.
Of course, quantities will depend on the size of your family. This is just for my husband and myself. Often, we do not need to buy these items every week, but we do use them on a weekly basis.
I also want to mention frozen food items like ready-made pizza, burritos, frozen fruit and vegetables, and frozen meat. These are, of course, great to have on hand to further limit your need to go out to the grocery store and can provide snacks for kids.
- Fresh fruit (I always have apples and one other fruit that is on sale)
- Fresh vegetables (usually two options of what’s on sale like broccoli, zucchini, green beans, etc.)
- Gold potatoes
- Meat or plant-based protein for meals that week (I batch cook so this is usually two different options)
- Salad stuff like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber (I make one huge salad a week that lasts for several days. I use the spinach in smoothies)
- Sweet potatoes
I always have these ingredients on hand. For this situation, I have some extra butter, cheese, eggs, tortillas, and root vegetables on hand.
My family tends to stick to a rotation of simple meals which makes it easy to plan meals and meal prep for the week yet still allows for creativity.
Breakfast is usually Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, and a drizzle of honey. Other days it’s oatmeal, an oven pancake, or a couple of eggs, crispbread and butter, and fresh fruit.
Lunch is often leftovers from dinner, salad, loaded quesadillas, baked potatoes, or a quick stir fry.
Snacks are usually cheese and fruit or nut butter and fruit or carrots.
Dinner is usually a large batch of two different meals (my family doesn’t mind eating leftovers). This might be a large pot of homemade spaghetti sauce and pasta noodles for a few nights and tacos with all of the fixings on the others. It just depends.
Other Pantry Staples I Use Less Often
These are the less essential items I use probably once or twice a month but still have on hand because they add variety:
- Brown rice
- Brown sugar
- Canned fruit
- Canned tomato soup
- Chia seeds
- Curry paste (Indian and Thai)
- Curry roux (Japanese)
- Dried mango
- Ground flax
- Medjool dates
- Rice vinegar (seasoned)
- Rolled oats
- Self-rising flour
- Soy sauce
- Wild rice
- Whole wheat flour
If there is any way to add delicious flavor to your cooking without breaking the bank, it’s growing fresh herbs!
I always have these on hand to pick fresh:
- Chives (awesome for when you don’t have any onions!)
- Sweet basil
You can easily get these at places like Lowes or Home Depot.
Seasonal Produce in My Garden
Why not also grow a few staples in your garden as well? This helps add some freshness to your meals and supplement your diet and the season for growing these items is rapidly approaching.
Again, you can easily pick these up at Lowes or Home Depot since these stores will remain open even during quarantine.
I usually grow:
- Bell peppers
- Butternut squash
- Cherry tomatoes
- Serrano chilis
You can also grow your own sprouts like alfalfa, broccoli, and wheat berries.
You can pick up a bag of sprouting seeds HERE.
I will also take this opportunity to point out that MANY of us have fruit trees! Just looking around my neighborhood I can spot dozens upon dozens of various citrus trees that are just drooping with fruit.
Take this time to harvest and actually eat the fruit off of your trees! Fresh citrus is loaded with vitamin C (something we all need to be consuming more of right now) and also adds a zesty flavor to our food.
Lastly in the food category, look into making your own fermented foods like:
- Homemade pickles
- Homemade yogurt
- Milk and water kefir
- Sourdough bread
Not only are these good for gut health, but they’re also made with minimal ingredients and can extend the shelve life of certain food items.
We can’t forget our pet’s needs during uncertain times.
Our family dog requires wet prescription food from the vet and cannot tolerate eating anything else without major digestive issues. Having this in mind, we always make sure he has a few weeks worth on hand at home at all times.
He also needs certain kidney support supplements. As a rule, we have one in use and one in reserve for emergencies.
We often source his food and medicine from both the vet office and Chewy.com
For healthy dogs that don’t require a special diet or supplements, I recommend having just one extra bag or case of wet food on hand for emergencies.
While dogs can certainly live off of rice and chicken, doing this will strain your family’s dietary needs especially when rice is hard to source.
- Comet (yes, I use this for cleaning sinks and toilets when germs abound!)
- Hand soap
- Thieves cleaning spray
- Thieves hand sanitizer
- White vinegar (for glass, mirrors, and breaking up mineral deposits)
- Bleach (yes, I have a gallon of this on hand and WILL use it for disinfecting as needed)
- Essential oils and a diffuser (my family mainly uses a diffuser when someone is sick)
- First aid kit
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Iodine disinfectant for wounds (providone-iodine 10% solution)
- Nitrile gloves (used for cleaning or when someone is sick)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Surgical masks (used when someone has the flu, etc.)
You may be wondering about toilet paper and paper towels, and yes, I do buy these in bulk from Costco (one pack of each as needed).
But right now, supplies are limited and I don’t like the idea of standing in line for hours in order to get any.
The solution? My family uses a bidet for our bathroom needs (some of them are pretty fancy!) which cuts down on toilet paper use by a significant amount. We can even use reusable baby wipes to dry ourselves if the need arises.
And, speaking of reusable items, we also use a designated hand towel for drying our hands in both the kitchen and bathroom.
Instead of using paper towels for cleaning, we use cleaning sponges or microfiber cloths to wipe up messes which means that our paper towels last for a loooong time.
My family also does not use tissues. Instead, we use handkerchiefs which are actually better for my allergies and completely eliminates the need for tissues.
Other items to consider include reusable baby wipes and cloth diapers for your infant.
Here is a list for easy swap-outs to help you out in a pinch:
- Cloth diapers
- Cloth dinner napkins
- Dishcloths or sponges for wiping up messes
- Install a bidet or use a travel bidet
- Menstrual cup instead of tampons
- Microfiber cloths for cleaning
- Period underwear instead of pads
- Reusable baby wipes
- Reusable paper towels
I do not personally drink tap water because I hate the flavor and I dislike what’s in it not only because it’s unhealthy, but also because it leaves mineral deposits on everything.
For drinking water in my family, we use a Berkey water filtration system. The filters last a whole year and the water tastes pure and clean and can be used for all of our drinking and cooking needs.
Additionally, and because I’m a tea snob, we have several 5-gallon water jugs filled with purified water. Usually, we have about 10 gallons of fresh purified water on hand at all times. We either use a hand pump or a water crock to use these larger jugs.
We don’t otherwise bother with bottled water because it isn’t good for the environment and we are able to use reusable water bottles that we fill at home.
If you have gallon-sized water jugs at home, I encourage you to reuse them! Many grocery stores have water dispenser systems where you can get filtered water for about 35 cents per gallon.
Lastly, since my husband and I love backpacking, we happen to have an MSR water purifier that can filter pretty much any water you come across.
Another filtration system to look into are the Sawyer Products water filtration systems.
The water category is probably my family’s most prepared category.
So, if you’re a regular around here then you know I like to keep things as natural as I can when it comes to medicine. However, if you rely on certain OTC meds or use prescription meds, I encourage you to have an extra bottle on hand.
I like to make my own tinctures and that often means I have an ample supply of my favorite herbal tinctures on hand throughout most of the year.
I encourage you to look into making your own since there is no better time than now.
The tinctures I always try to have on hand include:
- Astragalus tincture – excellent for immune support (you can get the cut and sifted herb here)
- Echinacea angustifolia tincture – boosts white blood cells and engulfs invaders
- Echinacea purpurea tincture – boosts white blood cells and engulfs invaders
- Elderberry tincture – boosts immunity and helps guard against general cold and flu
- Lobelia tincture – amazing for opening the lungs (must be used with great care!)
- Violet tincture – a strong ally for the lungs
- White willow bark tincture – my go-to pain reliever
You can learn how to make your own tinctures here:
- How to Make Herbal Tinctures Using the Folk Method
- Echinacea Tincture for Seasonal Wellness
- How to Make Simple Elderberry Tincture
- Usnea Tincture – The Lungs of The Forest
I also like to have ginger, lemon, fresh garlic, and peppermint on hand for easing cold and flu symptoms and boosting immunity. Add the garlic to your food and make strong teas with the rest.
Other supplements/medicines/pain-relief items I have on hand include:
- Charcoal capsules (for upset stomach)
- Ginger capsules (for nausea)
- Heat pad
- Himalayan salt inhaler
- Ice packs
- Massage pillow (this is great when you’re feeling stressed and tense!)
- Multi-vitamins – for men and women
- Nasal spray
- Neti pot
- Salonpas patches (for aches and pains)
- Sore throat spray
- Vitamin C pills
For babies, you might want to make sure you have:
Additionally, I use supportive essential oils.
Germ Fighter is great to use diffused in the home to help stave off germs that may be floating in the air or living on surfaces. I usually set up a diffuser in the same room as the person who is sick and have it running while they are present in the room.
This virus creates a lot of breathing issues so a blend like this is essential.
General Wellness Items in The House
- Air purifier – these help keep the air in your home clean, non-irritating, and germ-free
- Essential oil diffusers – should be set up in frequently used areas when someone is sick to help control germs
- Humidifier – humidifiers have been proven to keep airborne germs less contagious if humidity levels are a minimum of 40% in your home. Keep a humidifier in the room of those who are sick to fight the spread of germs
Practice good hygiene and kindness!
- Be mindful of others!
- Keep your home, car, and other frequently used and touched surfaces clean including your phone and reusable water bottle.
- Stay at home as much as possible unless you need essentials.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Stay calm and vigilant!
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Wear a mask if you are sick.
- Wear gloves when taking care of others who are sick.
Take care, everyone!
You may also enjoy reading:
The Amazing Health Benefits of Himalayan Salt Inhalers
How a Humidifier Can Help You Stay Well All Winter Long
The Amazing Health Benefits of Using an Air Purifier
How to Boost the Immune System Naturally
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