At this point, I have been at home a long time and it is probably going to be a lot longer. Other folks may be thinking about what being stuck at home will be like and planning for potentially being at home for a few weeks or longer.
What you can do at home is going to depend a lot on how much space you have to do things and the materials you have on hand. With an internet connection and the power staying on, there are a lot more opportunities for entertainment.
Quarantine doesn’t mean you are not going to have electricity or the internet. Sure it could happen at some point but in the meantime, you can enjoy the benefits.
Find some projects that you can do at home.
There are a lot of fun hobbies and projects that you can do at home with limited space. At the moment you can still order craft supplies and various tools. You don’t have to spend a lot either. If you like to sew, knit, or crochet for example but never seem to have the time, you might find that you do now.
Find some good books to read.
I remember when I was a kid and my Dad and I were living in a tiny town called Hamilton, Washington. I spent a good bit of my childhood living there. There was no internet, we didn’t have a television or cable, nor a phone. I read a lot of books and I had to make sure to have some on hand because the nearest library was 10 miles away. Before I was homeschooled I had the school library and my teachers would let me borrow books from their private classroom stash. Dad would let me pick out stacks of used books on our trips to town.
Now we have e-readers and computers that allow access to any e-book in seconds. Local library systems often have ways for you to check out ebooks with your library card if you are trying to not spend money. Amazon has a program called Kindle Unlimited that allows you to read a lot of different books for around $10 a month. That is a pretty good deal if you are stuck at home and like to read. You may be able to get a month for free too. They offer that deal fairly often to new customers.
Watch shows and movies that are actually funny.
I live, write, and think about preparedness all the time. It is very hard for me to distance myself from it. Here lately I have found it is hard to even look away from the news and the events unfolding. Well, yesterday while I was cleaning up the house I put on a show that has offered me a lot of laughs over the years. It is called “Black’s Books” and it was produced in England, maybe by the BBC. After an episode and some laughs, it was amazing how much better I felt.
Some of you may be like me and find modern humor not quite as funny as the old. Shows like Frazier, Cheers, and King of the Hill, always make me smile. Oh and the old British Comedy Fawlty Towers! What shows make you smile?
Find some good board or video games to play either alone or with others in your family.
Board games or simple card games are good for playing in a group. There are a lot of simple video games and more advanced ones available on Steam or other video game sites. I like to play hidden object games sometimes.
Big Fish Games has a lot of inexpensive games that are easier to learn and entertaining. I would recommend Big Fish Games for those that are looking for games for younger kids too. I check the price on Steam and on Big Fish Games because sometimes there is a better sale on one site or the other.
Consider not watching apocalyptic films or at least the ones about viruses.
I see a lot of people saying they are watching shows and movies related to pandemics. Maybe you are the type of person that can deal with it but in general, I am going to say that from a morale perspective, now is not the time to watch “Contagion”. That is not going to get your mind off of current events and help your mindset.
I have some writing projects in the fiction genera that I have put on hold for the moment because of what is going on now. A person can only deal with so much TEOTWAWKI.
Order some garden seeds or get into the seeds you have put back and start some container gardening projects or get some seeds sprouted and started for planing outdoors when the temperatures get warmer.
Gardening helps supplement your food supply and it can be very relaxing and fulfilling. You can get your whole family involved with this. If you have the space and it is warm enough, maybe you can do some outdoor gardening right now too. We have a small cold frame with some greens that seems to be surviving even though we had a cold snap.
Remember how much people have overcome in the past and use it as a source of strength. People have survived a lot over the years.
This is a picture of my great-grandma, Annabelle Parris. I think back to women like her and all they went through and how they came through it. She survived the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, and more. She was also a midwife in the mountains of North Carolina and North Georgia. She also had to deal with the hardships that came from being a lady of mixed heritage and feeling she had to hide that as much as possible.
This picture is me and my Dad. He has always helped me get through the worst times. I remember thinking countless times over my life that if he could get through what he did in Vietnam and raise me by himself then I could get through things too. My problems seemed tiny compared to what he had to deal with.
Even if you are largely stuck inside, it is good to do some exercises to keep up strength and overall health. It is proven that exercise helps people to maintain better mental health. If you want some instruction, check out the many Youtube videos out there.
There are plenty of routines you can do without any weights but if you want to add some weight lifting into the mix you can get a set for a very reasonable cost or use something that you have around the house.
Get into a new routine.
Many people do better with a good routine. Every household is different so I cannot tell you exactly what to do but think about the tasks around your home that need to be done and some of the things you want to do for fun at home as well. Having some structure is often good for morale.
I wrote an article on maintaining normality during SHTF that offers some tips on keeping up morale during SHTF.
Avoid falling into the habit of staying in your PJs all day or not keeping yourself up as you normally would.
Just to be clear, I am not talking about if you are actually sick or taking care of sick people. Of course, you are not going to be as concerned about your appearance and choice of clothing.
I admit that on snow days and such I don’t always immediately get dressed properly however that is a rare thing. It can be bad for you to let yourself go because you are not going to be at the office or seen in public.
While you don’t need to dress up a bunch like you have to for your job, it may be good for your mindset and morale to get up and shower, put on makeup if you wear it, and throw on some casual clothing. Everyone has the occasional lazy day or lie in but it can go too far and affect you more than you realize it is.
Try to be more patient with others in your family. Don’t be afraid to say you are sorry.
Being stuck together when you are used to having more space can be difficult. When people are worried and stressed they tend to snap faster and this can lead to hurt feelings and increased tension. Setting a good example by trying to be more tolerant and admitting it when you act poorly will encourage others to do the same and be better for everyone overall.
Talk to friends and family online and via phone. Consider actually talking on the phone sometimes rather than just texting and chatting online as well. Or even better, use Skype or another service to do a video call with friends or family that you cannot visit.
Hearing the voices and seeing loved ones can be a major morale booster. Kids can see and talk to grandparents for example. I chat with others online a little bit myself. Being stuck at home would be a bit different without that interaction, especially right now when we have been at home for so long.
Eat well and together when possible.
Yes, I realize that I just wrote an article about getting the most out of your food supply and suggested considering just how many calories you are consuming so that you can stretch out your food supply. That doesn’t mean you still cannot eat well.
In fact, you may find that being at home causes you to eat better than you usually do because you are actually cooking and not just eating fast and convenient processed foods. Families may find that setting down to a meal more often instead of eating separately more often than not is actually enjoyable.
If you are not experienced at cooking or have realized that the ingredients you have put back in your preps are not things you cook with often, check out my article on cooking with stockpiled foods. You will find some recipes there to get you started.
Dealing With Isolation
I wrote an article about dealing with isolation in town or out in the country. While this was not written with quarantine in mind, there are some tips in there that could help during these trying times.
Isolation takes some getting used to but some people find that they actually don’t mind it as much as they thought they would. I have heard some people say that they would like to try being isolated for awhile just to get away from the maddening world. I am sure that they would rather it not be because of a pandemic but it leads me to think that some people will handle isolation much better than others.
Other people are going to have a really hard time with that as well. Kids and teens that are used to socializing a lot might be pretty darn sad for awhile. I know that a lot of kids play on sports teams too and giving that up is going to be hard.
If you have a backyard for kids to play in then that will help. Try to get out with them if you can and throw a ball around if that is there thing. Get the family dog out and throw a Frisbee. Encourage kids and teens to interact with friends online and via phone if they don’t already do so.
Young kids that are lot allowed to socialize online themselves can be supervised. Perhaps you can call up the parents of your child’s friend and let them have some phone time or do a video call. All of these things may help out more than you might think.
Dogs and Isolation
There is some indication that dogs can at least carry COVID-19 on them or in their nasal cavities. While scientists are still trying to work out how COVID-19 effects dogs or if they can pass it to humans, some people are choosing to isolate their pets. This can be difficult for active dogs. Providing some extra treats to chew on and some toys can help.
Even if you are not actively trying to keep your dog from other dogs but are staying at home yourself, your dog can be effected, especially if they are used to regular walks or going with you on errands. Try to spend some extra time playing with them and keeping them busy. This will be good for you and your pooch.
Conclusion: Times are tough and it is important to take your mind off of the situation. Dwelling on things that are beyond your control is not good. I am going to try to take this advice myself but I have to admit I am not doing the best job of it.
Let’s try to do better at that together. I am going to ask you if you have a moment, to share with me and your fellow Backdoor Survival readers, something positive that is going on in your life or something that you are looking forward to in the near future. Let’s work together to get through this the best we can.
I am looking forward to warmer weather and the first lambs of the Spring. Hard to believe this little guy from last year is going to be a Daddy. We also have some gardening projects going on and I can already taste those first tomatoes.