As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, finding the time to get kitchen supplies and taking care of your mental health can be more than challenging, but, amid everything, it's essential that you do so.
We’ve been social distancing and quarantining at home since March, doing embarrassing things and finding ways to keep calm. We hope you’ve got the hang of this weird situation already, but if you haven’t, that’s okay. There are some must-haves you'll want to help you get through today’s struggles (beyond eating all your quarantine snacks and regretting your home haircut).
Real talk: Here are tips, tricks and essentials that will help you feel a little less stressed, a little more informed — and a lot more prepared to manage daily life in the COVID-19 era.
Stay Hydrated, Not Thirsty, With a Hands-Free Water Bag
Fluids are a great way to nourish your body and prevent dehydration. Plus, water is great for flushing toxins out of your system. The only problem? Keeping track of your intake while you’re distracted by scrolling through social media, working or binge-watching a show all day.
Don’t Share Personal Items
Before the outbreak, we were all guilty of sharing everyday items like beverages, ChapStick and hand towels with friends and family. Some of us were also guilty of hoarding toilet paper and disinfectants at the beginning of the outbreak, but that’s another story.
Effective Hand Sanitizer That Meets CDC Guidelines
If you haven’t already stocked up on hand sanitizer, you may be screaming in frustration (internally) when you find it sold out everywhere. Ohio-based Gojo Industries, the makers of Purell, told Today that they have "dramatically increased production" in response to growing concerns over the virus, but Purell products are out of stock consistently, even online.
Review Your Sick Leave & Insurance Policies
As COVID-19 continues to present a worldwide threat, we recommend looking into your healthcare options ahead of time to avoid a $1.1 million hospital bill. Oddly specific, but it has happened before. Brush up on your employer’s paid sick leave and sick-time policies. If your job allows you to work from home, we say do it, especially amid the shelter-in-place orders many local governments have enacted.
Electrolyte Supplements (in Moderation)
Gatorade commercials are very convincing, often encouraging people to buy these drinks to avoid dehydration, replace electrolytes and become pro athletes. Maybe in our dreams. Texas A&M professor John D. Bowman, MS Pharm, told Vital Record, "The basic deficiency in [these] beverages...for illness-related dehydration is that there is too much sugar and not enough salt (sodium) or potassium."
When You Should Wear Disposable Gloves
When in doubt, buy those disposable gloves. If someone in your household is under the weather, products like Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves allow you to clean items they’ve used, worry-free.
An At-Home Workspace With the Fewest Distractions
Some folks have jobs that have allowed them to work from home, which is a great solution for avoiding a germ-filled office. However, you've probably realized that there are distractions everywhere, from the comfy bed calling your name to your cat lying down on your laptop. Even worse, many remote workers find it difficult to separate work from their personal lives — after all, they’re literally taking their work home.
Non-Perishable Food Is Always a Good Idea
Remember when people around the country began stockpiling food in preparation for quarantine? That was a complete trainwreck. However, we now know that you don’t need a basement or a bunker to be sufficiently prepared. If you’ve been exposed to a COVID-19 carrier, you must self-quarantine for 14 days — meaning you just need enough goods to last you two weeks.
Wear Face Masks to Protect Everyone, Including Yourself
Wearing a face mask has been the public standard since the beginning of the pandemic. And we all need to keep doing our part in the group project to get through this. According to the CDC, "Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people."
Creating a Designated “Sick Room”
This one might seem a tad archaic, at least in name. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra space at home, designating one bedroom as the "sick room" can be a beneficial practice.
Hand Soap Is Still Essential
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, stores keep selling out of cleaning and sanitation products left and right. Like other viruses, COVID-19 is spread through droplets. If a carrier coughs or sneezes, virus-containing particles can travel through the air, up to 3 feet in distance. (Though experts recommend keeping 6 feet between yourself and others.)
A Plant Baby and a Friend
Greenery can do wonders for your mental health, as can the smell of fresh-cut flowers. While flora may seem like a silly pandemic purchase, we believe it’s important to make your home as comfortable as possible — especially when you’re spending much more time there. Sometimes, a little mind over matter goes a long way.
Keep Avoiding Large Gatherings
If anything, the COVID-19 outbreak has shone a light on how quickly viruses can spread, especially new strains with no pre-existing protections. After international incidents in China and Italy proved close contact was spreading the virus at a rapid rate, cities across the U.S., from San Francisco to Boston, took action.
A Hot Water Bottle for Temperature Control
Sure, a hot water bottle may seem like something from the past, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This tried-and-true method for relieving aches, pains and sore muscles can also come in handy if you’re dealing with COVID-19 symptoms.
Cleaning Products for Stocking Those Cabinets
If you’ve ever seen Nia Vardalos’ 2002 classic My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you know that Windex is more than just a cleaning spray — it’s the stuff of miracles. On a serious note, having cleaning products handy during the pandemic can help you maintain a disinfected, germ-free home.
A Water Bottle With a Straw
If a hydration bladder isn’t quite your speed, a water bottle can be a great way to keep track of how often you’re hydrating. The virus can leave you feeling rundown and dehydrated — so much so that even the thought of sitting up in bed feels daunting.
Games, Games & More Games
While you and your household are practicing social distancing, it’s important to take care of your mental health as well. To stop your house from going stir crazy, break up all those Netflix marathons with some good ol’ fashioned fun.
A Humidifier to Make the Great Indoors More Comfortable
Being cooped up inside can lead to nasty sore throats and dry noses. To combat this, try using a humidifier, especially one like the Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, which, as the name implies, produces a calming mist.
All Ginger Everything
If you’re prone to motion sickness or travel sickness, you may already be well aware of the wonders of ginger. If you aren’t, it’s time to get acquainted. Ginger is known for settling the stomach, and while it may not completely prevent COVID-19-related nausea, it can at least help you feel well enough to keep some liquids and plain food down.
An Electric Kettle to Make Quick and Easy Hot Drinks
If you’re living alone (or up at odd hours), one of the worst parts of being sick is actually making the items you need to feel better. When your energy is at its lowest, even making a cup of tea can seem oh-so-draining. And, of course, a watched pot — er, tea kettle — never boils.
A Sleep Mask & Earplugs to Rest Like Sleeping Beauty or Snorlax
Day or night, COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. At a moment’s notice, you might just find yourself itching for some shut-eye. Unfortunately, sometimes all the blackout curtains and soothing candles in the world can’t quite get you to Snoozeville.
A Pressure Cooker for Easy Eats
Just like making tea, fixing yourself something to eat when you’re sick or exhausted can be a real burden. If you’re coming down with something or had a busy day, you simply won’t have the energy or patience to stand upright in your kitchen for long periods of time. That’s why everyone should have a pressure cooker in their kitchen cupboard.
A Multi-Functional Space Heater
Drafty bedroom? No problem. The Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 Fan Heater from Dyson has your back. In the winter, this little beauty will heat your whole room in a matter of minutes. In the summer, the noiseless machine will keep you cool.
Scented Candles to Help You Chill Out
We could all use a little more "me" time because it’s easy to get stressed these days. Like investing in plants, stocking up on candles during the pandemic may be far from your mind. However, just like that greenery, a relaxing scent can do wonders for your mental health and help you feel more well-rested.
Take a Break From the News & Reach Out to Your Doctor (Not WebMD)
Nothing can send someone into a panic spiral faster than WebMD, which, for all its benefits, can cause us to believe we have a deadly disease after looking up one symptom. If the COVID-19 outbreak has taught us anything, it’s that it is best to remain cautious and vigilant — yet calm. Panicking doesn’t help anyone and can take a serious toll on your health.