Wash your hands
There are a few elements to COVID-19 that are rather scary. For one, people can have the virus for up to 14 days before showing symptoms, and during that time could be spreading it unknowingly. Secondly, the virus spreads through droplets when people cough or sneeze, and can live on a surface for up to three days. However, our good old friend soap is actually extremely effective at breaking down and destroying coronavirus on our skin, so that when we rinse our hands it simply gets washed down the drain.
You have probably seen recommendations to thoroughly wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, and this is for a very good reason. It has been found that it takes soap and hand sanitisers approximately 20 seconds to break down and destroy COVID-19. With either soap or a sanitiser you must be washing and rubbing your hands together for the full 20 seconds, which means in the case of a hand sanitiser you will need to use enough to keep your hands moist for that full time. The disadvantage to hand sanitisers is that while the virus may be broken down, it will still be on your skin, along with any other dirt or grime you may have picked up. With soap and water it just washes down the drain, dirt and all!
If you do find yourself somewhere with no access to soap and water, such as using public transport or other high traffic areas, then a hand sanitiser is a great option – just be sure to use one that is over 60% alcohol to effectively breakdown the virus.
Avoid touching your face with your handsWhen soap is not available, use a hand sanitiser that is over 60% alcohol
Slow down and sleep well
What happens to your body when you are stressed or don’t get enough sleep? Yep, that’s right, you get sick. You may not have COVID-19 but if you don’t look after yourself you will lower your immune system and heighten your chances of catching all sorts of illnesses.
When you’re stressed, your body enters a sort of ‘fight or flight’ mode where your heartbeat quickens and your muscles tense, ready for action. Stress itself isn’t bad for you, but if you are under stress all the time this takes quite a toll on your body and can lead to headaches, heart burn and fluctuating hormones to name just a few. But the big side effect of stress we are going to focus on is a weakened immune system.
Lack of sleep can lead to its own fair share of ailments. Memory issues, mood changes and your risk of accidents all sky rocket when you get less than the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night over a long period of time. Lack of sleep can also affect your body’s release of insulin, which could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. It can lead to weight gain, higher blood pressure and even, you guessed it, a weakened immune system.
Chances are you have experienced a lot of uncertainly recently, which may be causing you stress. Stress can lead to restless nights of tossing and turning and before you know it, you’re sneezing. My dear, sit down, have a cup of tea, rest and look after yourself. I may not be a Doctor but I know you deserve a little bit of calm, and it is important to be able to find this for yourself.
The way to ‘destress’ looks different for everyone. Some people go for a run or practice yoga, some people light smelly candles and put on a face mask. When I am stressed, I often switch off with a podcast and doodling in a sketch pad. Sometimes I balance a cat on my lap at the same time for the ultimate relaxation session. So whatever works for you, I challenge you to embrace it and your immune system will be thanking you!
The Physic Garden has a great post on ways to boost your family’s immune system, which I encourage you to check out to dive a little deeper into this topic (my favourite is tip number three).
Chances are staying home for 14 days straight is a new thing for you, and after the first few Netflix binges you are bound to find yourself twiddling your fingers for a few things to do. You may be juggling working from home and looking after your kids who are suddenly being taught online, and yet there are still gaps in your day that need a little boost. So, in-case you need some inspiration, here are my favourite ideas for things to do while you’re stuck inside.
Pursue a creative passion: While you are unlikely to have a pottery wheel lying around the house, chances are you have some colouring pencils or a half-finished crochet scarf you can tuck in to. You can also learn something completely new from videos and courses online, this little break could turn out to be productive after all!
Fix things: If you are anything like me, you have a pile of clothing (and perhaps a broken mug) that needs a touch up and they have been gathering dust for the past few months. Now is your chance to cleanse your mind and finish these projects. And believe me, once you start, it’s hard to stop!
Yoga and meditation: If you have a few meters of space then you have the room for some yoga. There are great videos online if you prefer guidance, and if you want to try meditation try out an App such as Headspace (I have heard great things). Chances are this routine change has added a great deal of stress which can go unnoticed for quite a while. Giving yourself a quiet space to think, or time for some exercise while cooped up inside can give your mind the little boost it needs.
Read a book: It may have been a while since you last gave yourself the time to read an actual book instead of just the news highlights on your way to work. And perhaps we have all spent enough time looking at the news recently? Now is the time to dust off your bedside table and dive into a good book. You may not be allowed outside, but you can go anywhere you want inside those pages.
Experiment in the kitchen: One of our favourite things to do is play a game where we don’t go to the shops until we completely empty the cupboards of food. It leads to some odd meals and some great discoveries, and above anything it helps us to avoid waste and stick to our budget! Online grocery shopping will most likely still be an option, but if you are able, try out some experimentation for yourself and let us know what you come up with!
Take your time: Usually time is the one thing none of us have enough of, embrace it.
Okay, so this is may seem a weird one to mention, but since it may be unsafe to shop in person it is great to consider shopping online. What is even better is you can still shop locally and ethically online, since most small businesses have websites and will definitely appreciate your custom during this period.
Here at Velvety, all your orders are packed by our founder Lorena who is currently only ever leaving the house to walk the dog. Lorena has a 2-year-old that suffers from a heart condition, so due to the high risks, the whole family has decided to stay at home and follow an extremely high cleaning protocol.
Australia Post is also doing their part to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus. For example, signatures will no longer be required upon delivery or collection, and self-service terminals are temporarily unavailable to ensure customers stay a safe distance apart.
That’s it from me. I hope, wherever you are, that you are okay. It may feel lonely right now, but I promise you we are all in this together. *cyber hug*.
If you have any concerns about COVID-19, please check out this website for more information and a hotline you can call.
About the author: Chloe is an ethical lifestyle writer and video maker known online as Be Kind Coco. She loves cats and a good cuppa and is on a mission to make ethical living easy.