It’s been more than a month since we were put in home lockdown here in the Philippines. And it was recently extended further for another 20 days. An extension may still be possible depending on the situation and until such time the infected patients get better and mass testings are all done. Our numbers are still on its record high. So we really don’t know yet what to expect in the coming days. Everyone’s struggling to have a normal life. Trying to make it normal as much as we can since nobody’s prepared for all of these. The uncertainty it brings leave everybody clueless on what steps to take next or what plans to make on the days ahead. A lot of what we fear is still in the unknown. We fear an outcome we don’t know what it would be. This pandemic thing is much bigger than any of us.
Been reading a lot of stories and blogs too in the internet about this and seeing people’s own stories about their struggles and coping with measures on how their lives and mobility have been affected by these circumstances. Everyone was caught unaware of how Covid-19 has affected much of their daily routines and how it increases negative feelings around. We have no choice but to face it bravely and objectively as much as possible. Because if not, we may find ourselves caught in the middle of winning the battle and losing our mind.
Having to do something about the situation and to handle them accordingly will depend on how early and well we prepare for it. We know lockdown is not a normal set-up economic-wise and slowly its effect will creep up on us one way or the other. And worse, it can affect people mentally because of its anti-social effects, prolonged stress, hardships, anxiety, loneliness and depression. More reasons why we have to prepare for it both physically and mentally.
Here are some of doable ways and measures to prepare for a home lockdown:
Stock non-perishable goods and healthy raw foods during the duration of the lockdown.
We can still eat healthy foods even if we are under a lockdown. We don’t have to rely on non-perishable goods such as easy-to-cook canned goods, process cold cuts, or even relief goods given by the community leaders all the time. But it is good to stock them around just in case there’s a lockdown extension and we have no way to buy them. Since we are at home all the time and we are not in a hurry anyway so there’s a lot of time to cook good food. You can include green leafy vegetables for salads or soup in your family’s diet. Add fruits too for appetizers or desserts. Remember it’s advisable to eat healthier foods to have a reliable immune system during a health crisis. Plan your meals ahead. Makes sure you can use ingredients that are related to at least 2-3 other menu so you can maximize your buying power and make room for more food in your grocery list. Have marinated meats or fishes stock in your refrigerators ready for frying. Food will take 70-80% of the total budget now of the family since we can’t go anywhere.
Medicines are a must keep these days.
In this time of world health crisis, our health is first and foremost at risk, especially those who are under prescribed maintenance and currently sick. Vitamins are vital to keep in our medicine cabinets too to make sure our bodies are always in a healthy state. Anything to boost the immune system is a must. If you are going to buy medicines, try to buy at least for two weeks to one month stocks if your budget allows. This way you can minimize your unnecessary travel outside especially that an enhanced community quarantine is being observed in your community.
Save and reserve part of your budget for your unpaid monthly bills.
While observing this lockdown situation, our monthly bills keep on coming. Electricity, water, loans, and credit card institutions have announced 2-3 month moratoriums on these unpaid bills late March. But since we don’t have any assurance on when this crisis will end, we don’t know also when we can pay off these bills. It will definitely pile up and will take a big part of our budget soon. So make sure you allot and really save that and for that sole purpose only. Safe keep that money and guard your expenses to lessen your stress later. Or if you have options of paying them online by enrolling your online bank accounts, you may do so. Meralco, for example, have an easy-payment set-up online. You simply link your account to the utility biller’s account name. That easy! Check if other utility companies are offering the same set-up for payment purposes. Do this and it can beat the worries you have.
Keep all the important family documents in an envelope for emergency use.
You may not need this during the lockdown period but it is still nice to keep them around. The documents may include your copies of the marriage certificate, your whole family’s birth certificates, bank account passbooks, crucial business documents, current medical records and list of medicines, HMO cards, and copies of all your government IDs. List all emergency contact numbers too in a piece of paper and include them in that envelope. Just in case and hoping you will not be included or any member of your family among the infected ones and authorities will force and isolate you away from your family at least the coordination will be easy since all the documents are in place.
Retain a physically fit body during the lockdown. It could be an easy task for people who are health conscious but will prove to be very hard for people who are trying. Especially now, all the time we are confined in our own home where eating is the best past time. This happens when our brains are not stimulated by physical and mental activities and all it recognize is the word E-A-T. We need to be healthy to keep us physically and mentally fit. There are yoga and exercise videos that you can follow on TV and on YouTube. Do it with the whole family and it would be fun at the same time.
Create and maintain a “work-from-home” area or mini office space in your house.
You and your spouse may be one of those employees who are lucky to work-from-home. You both need to find a suitable place in the house where you can work efficiently. Your bosses will be in touch with you any time of the day and you need face-to-face contact with the rest of your officemates too via Skype, Facetime, or Zoom. You need to allow time to clean your working space. It should be well-lit, quiet, and has a nice background area. Make sure also that the area is not easily accessible by children so you will not be disturbed during an ongoing or crucial virtual meeting or in doing reports. Lastly, enjoy the experience working from home with your family around. It may not happen again in years after this pandemic is over and once everything returns back to normal.
Clean your house.
This is crucial since you and the whole family will be staying for a longer period inside your home. Make sure your home is also well disinfected and free of unnecessary mess which will add to the stress or any negative feelings you may be having at the moment. A clean house gives a better perspective and more room for relaxation and peace of mind. Revisit every room, closets, drawers, appliances, pantry cabinet and furniture stand you took for granted cleaning during your normal days. I’m sure there are a lot of dirt and stains still untouched since the last time you’ve checked on them. Cleaning them now is one way to unclogged your long list of overdue chores and keep you busy on days like these.
Entertain the whole family with things or gadgets that can beat boredom
This lockdown will be boring, monotonous, and repetitive activity for the family. If one is not a home buddy and loves the outside doors, this set-up is not for them and could eventually lead to mental health issues if not addressed. Negative feelings will thrive if not redirected to other useful activities that would stimulate the brain to be functional rather than stagnant. Remember we are in a crisis and all possible negative effects will keep flashing in our TV sets, radios and on the internet. If we are busy at least we could re-focus on some helpful activities that would keep us mentally awake at all times. Grab some of these around e.i. magazines, laptops, karaoke, movie files, books, cameras, game gadgets, earphones, cellphones, playing cards, game boards, musical instruments, and even art materials to keep you busy and distracted.
Learn new skills.
This lockdown could be the start of something new or changes in your life. It could open up opportunities for some. You can try new skills like the art of baking, cooking home-made recipes, photography, learning Photoshop artworks, creating an online selling page, writing blogs, niche for vlogging, create a YouTube channel, or any DIY projects. For some it could be an opportunity to re-do or review current projects they have and make room for improvements. These skills can also help diversify your income or can change up your career in the future. The least we could do is try.
Homeschool your own children.
During this prolonged lockdown, children are the ones easily affected by boredom and uneasiness. Some of their normal playtime activities are done outside the home and now they are being forced to stay inside the house all the time. We don’t allow children to roam outside especially not during a pandemic situation. We make them busy and forget boredom. Homeschooling them doesn’t need a serious atmosphere. Inject fun activities while they learn. Make them comfortable, arrange them a nice working and play area where they can enjoy the tasks assigned to them. Check their moods too if its the best time to study. If they are sleepy and moody, they might reject all exercises and you’ll only end up forcing them.
According to authorities, school year 2020-2021 might start September 2020. The kids have ample time at home and will feel anxious eventually due to prolonged home lockdown. You need a diversion for them. Summer activities, mall trips, and outside travel too are suspended so it’s up to us parents on how we can make their time useful for them.
Consider home gardening in your backyard or home space.
This is quite a skill because not everybody, as they say, has been gifted with the “green thumb”. But there’s no harm in trying this project. You might also discover that it as a therapeutic activity for you. During a lockdown, it is so hard to go to the market when we want to buy some fresh veggies for the family menu. Why not learn how to plant in your garden or your own little space or what-have-you. You’ll be harvesting organic ingredients right there in your backyard.
When we are in a lockdown, we are physically disconnected from everyone most especially with our friends and office peers. Social media has made everything easy for any human relationship and connection to prosper. A lot of friendly apps are available on the net. Almost everyone has internet access and undeniably these days we are all hooked in the net. Catching up with friends and checking on them if they’re ok is the best human connection we can do now.
Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash
Think of future plans for you and your family.
Now that we have lots of time with our family, we can talk about future plans with them over dinner or coffee. Discuss with them on how the next chapter would be like after the crisis for all of them and what to do next as a family. Or maybe plan for your next travel after all of these bad situations are over. This is the best time to bond with your family members. You can do a lot with them now that you have all those extra time. Make memories together and catch up on each other’s stories.
Watch the news
This is very important. You need to be updated will all the news and current initiatives of the local and national government pertaining to this crisis. We are not on vacation right now. Watching Netflix and eating popcorn all day is not the only way to save ourselves during this pandemic. We need to heed the calls of the authorities and take all their orders on how we can help them and the community in surviving this national ordeal.
Have the right mindset
This is where your confidence in yourself can get you through whatever this life throws back at you. Confidence that even though you are unsure and afraid of what will happen, good or bad, you will always take the side of optimism that something good will still come out of these awful situations. A positive outlook throughout. I’m not saying that we disregard or we don’t recognize the negative side of it because it is impossible. We can feel things. We can feel negativity that surrounds us now. But in everything that’s happening, we should rise above it, hold on to that can-do-attitude, remain focus, stay calm, and be hopeful that we can handle and get our life back after this pandemic is over. We adjust to it. That should be the new normal mindset.