Over the past few weeks, America has felt the effects of the coronavirus or COVID-19. Most states have confirmed cases of people being exposed to this virus, and leaders are taking steps to limit the spread. Some states have recommended social distancing, shutting down of non-essential businesses and shelter in place advisories with hopes to flatten the curve and slow the spread.
While these times are uncertain, it is important to remain calm.
With social distancing, it is important to limit your interactions with others to limit possible exposure to the virus. That means doing things like stocking up on essentials, especially if you become ill and need to self-quarantine for a few weeks.
What follows are some things to stock up on to keep yourself safe and healthy through this period of social distancing. Remember, stocking up does not mean hoarding certain items; this can limit the number of items for others that are in need. Here are 6 things to stock up on during social distancing.
Canned and Frozen Foods
Canned food and frozen foods are essential for times when you cannot get out of the house to get food. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables have a long shelf life and can be easily stored in your cabinet and freeze. Frozen dinners and snacks are also good for quick and easy meals. Having some canned soup handy is good if you happen to be sick and need to stay home for a while.
Something to keep in mind is your storage space. It can become very easy to purchase if you are in panic mode. Be mindful of how much room you have in your freezer and cupboard. The best thing to do is to just grab a few items for a week or two, and then reevaluate once you're done unpacking your groceries. You can always buy more if you need to.
Another area to stock up on is food with a long shelf life that you can store in your pantry. Items like cereal, rice, beans and pasta have a very long shelf life. These items are not only cheap, but you can buy a good amount of them fairly easily. With these staples, you can make plenty of meals to get you through social distancing.
Also having things like dried fruit, nuts, and granola bars are good for quick snacks. These will also last a long time and will give you some healthy snack choices.
If you have small children, also make sure you are stocked up on formula and baby food. Once again, you do not need to go overboard on these purchases (remember, others are in the same boat). Estimate how much you will need for 3-4 weeks for your child and get only that. Groceries will be restocked by the time you need to get more. In a pinch, you can also make your own baby food.
Getting some bottled water and drinks is a good plan as well. A case or two of bottled waters, sports drinks, etc. will help you to stay hydrated. Buy drinks that will have a longer shelf-life (buying a lot of milk isn’t a great idea, as it has a relatively short shelf-life).
There are a few essentials that you will want from your local pharmacy. Make sure you have any prescriptions filled.
If you are running low, see if you can go ahead and get a refill made. Make sure you have supplies of toothpaste, feminine products and bathroom supplies. Also, having a bottle of over the counter pain relievers, cough and cold medications, and vitamins are a good thing to have. This will help to maintain your overall health, as well as give you some at-home remedies if you feel ill.
Toilet paper and paper towels are a necessity for obvious reasons. One problem that became an avoidable issue was people hoarding these items. Some people began over-purchasing these items, which caused many retailers to run out. When purchasing these items, one package each is enough for a few weeks. It is important not to panic purchase, as this can cause others to do without and look for alternative measures (FYI-do not flush paper towels or wipes, they will cause plumbing issues).
Having some cleaning supplies on hand is good as well. Cleaning surfaces with anti-bacterial cleaners will help to disinfect them. Also, cleaning your home can give you something to do while needing to stay in the house. Having some hand sanitizer on hand and using it regularly is also important.
Having some long-lasting perishable food items is also important. Purchase fruits and vegetables that have a relatively long shelf life. Most will last a few weeks if properly stored.
Having healthy food options will keep you feeling good during self-isolation.
Also, the cheese will last for a decent amount of time if properly stored. The process of making cheese means it can be stored for a long time without spoiling. Most bread is made now to last several weeks before beginning to go bad. Having some cheese and bread on hand will allow you to make an easy grilled cheese sandwich for some needed comfort food.
Games and Entertainment
The biggest threat during this period of self-isolation is boredom. You will need things to keep yourself stimulated and entertained. Luckily, there are many options.
Stock up on board games and have some family game nights. Many gaming sites are running sales on their video games. You can play with people at home, by yourself, or online with friends. This can allow you to social distance and still remain connected.
If you have an ebook reader, stock up on some books. Many great books are on sale, or free. Many libraries are offering access to their ebook libraries. Now could be a great time to dive into that book series you’ve wanted to read.
Many streaming services have plenty of entertainment. Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and others have plenty of movies and shows to binge-watch. Netflix is allowing users to have watch parties online with friends as a way to stay connected. Just make sure to get up and move around and don’t stay glued to your screen all day.
Be Kind and Be Safe
These are some of the essentials that will help you stay safe and healthy during social distancing. It is important to remember when you need to be out at the store to get any essentials, be kind to others that you are interacting with.
This is a stressful period for everyone, but we can make it a little better with positive interactions. Make sure to take only what you need, and help out those that need help. Together, we will all get through this and come out better for it.
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