By Rachel Lankester
Working out how best to provide some coronavirus help
Like most people out in the world, I guess, at the moment, I’m trying to get my house in order, make sure I have what I need during lockdown, make sure my loved ones are as safe as possible, and work out how best I can contribute something helpful in this time of coronavirus. So I want to provide some coronavirus help!
I’ve put together this post to gather together some of the resources I’ve already found useful to help me during this time. I hope this little repository of coronavirus support will be helpful to you too.
It’s a scary and unprecedented time. Most of us have no experience of this. And that lack of experience and knowledge contributes to the sense of overwhelm. And then stress, fear, panic and anxiety are free to breed alongside coronavirus.
But if we take some proactive steps and prioritize our own self care during this period- because let’s face it, we can’t do much else- we will support our mental health, our physical health, our immune systems and of course, all those who we can still come into contact with virtually if no longer in real life. The stronger we are, the more we can help everyone get through this.
So please stay home, socially distance if you have to go out to get food and perhaps try and think of this time as your own personal virtual retreat. And don’t forget! This too shall pass.
I listened to a wonderful podcast with Tim Ferris interviewing Buddhist meditation teacher Jack Kornfield. He talked about how he had been doing a virtual meditation workshop recently for people in quarantine in China. He told them that in California he had a meditation center where people came to sit in their own rooms, isolated from other people and spending the whole time in silent meditation. He told his audience that these people paid him a lot of money to do that and that those in his virtual workshop were getting that retreat experience for free! As my mum has always liked to say, ” it’s not the view, it’s where you see it from.” You can listen to that wonderful podcast here.
This post will be updated as I find out more information. Please also be aware that I have included some news sources at the bottom. I am very fortunate to have an international group of friends. By keeping in touch with these I have become aware increasingly that the information I am getting in the UK is not complete. There is a lot of information out in the world, from very reputable sources, that I had no idea about before talking to my international friends. So I’ve included that here, not in any way to scaremonger or raise anxiety levels even further, but to ensure that we all have the same level of information, so that we can keep ourselves and everyone as safe as possible. So if you feel you have enough information and don’t need more to worry about, you may want to skip that section.
Managing stress and anxiety
It sure is a worrying time. I’m finding the following really helpful to keep my anxiety in check:
The very lovely Ann Russell has written 10 Tips For Staying Sane During Coronavirus drawing on her own experience of having to stay home due to illness in the past.
The Tapping Solution App – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – they have made all their coronavirus tapping meditations free.
If you fancy deepening an existing meditation practice or exploring Buddhist meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Mediation App is also free to download.
Square/box breathing simple but so effective.
Try Morning Pages each morning – write out your worries on paper and get them out of your head. You might also find some real creative inspiration there.
Working from home
I’ve been working at home for over a decade, so it’s almost business as usual for me. But if it’s new for you here’s some cool stuff.
Listen to my podcast with Helen Wills, another home worker like me. Getting a routine in place is key. Structure liberates! Block out times and dates in your calendar for particular tasks. Ignore house work during office hours.
Zoom – a video conferencing tool I use every day. The free program allows unlimited 1-1 calls and 40 minute limit on calls with more than two people. Use it to get family together too.
Loom – another video tool I use everyday. Don’t want to write a three page email explaining what you want done? Make a quick video and record your screen with voiceover instead – again free for a limited number of videos but you can always delete the ones already viewed to keep you on the free plan.
Work remotely and conduct meetings using Google Hangouts Meet free if you use G-Suite currently.
Probably too late to get a sit-stand desk like I have but nothing wrong with putting a box on a table and your laptop on top of that – an instant standing desk. A kitchen counter-top could work just as well.
Staying fit and active at home
All the Down Dog Apps are free until May 1st 2020 – Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout – I just downloaded all of these and they look great!
Yoga with Adrienne – free classes on YouTube. My yoga studio – More Yoga – is creating video lessons for members and maybe yours might too. If not, Adrienne is a great source of hope-based free yoga classes. Or Down Dog above.
7 Minute Workout Challenge – there are many versions out there some of which are free (see the Down Dog one above). This is mine but it costs £3.99. I do like it though.
Do you have a garden? And a skipping rope? It’s a great way to get your heart rate up in double quick time!
Doing/learning new things
I’m actually excited about having some time to do all the things I always think I have no time for. As I can’t really do much to build my business right now, I have time on my hands to do other things. There are so many things you can do online these days.
First off you can join the Magnificent Midlife Members Club for three free months at time of writing. Just use 3MONTHSFREE as the code at checkout. It just felt right to make this freely available at this time. This only applies to monthly memberships not our annual membership.
In the Members Club you can access a huge library of video workshops, inspiring interviews and other resources including mindfulness, living with courage, developing your creativity, starting a business, weight maintenance, movement, better relationships, intimacy, financial security etc. etc. Many women tell me they don’t have time to go through the content in the Members Club but you probably do now! Take the time to nourish yourself so you can come back all guns blazing and make the most of your next chapter when this nightmare is over.
Why not take the time to write that book you’ve always wanted to? Make this your own book writing month/s.
Learn a new skill or revisit an old one. Have a guitar lying around? Get it out and start strumming. Your piano gathering dust? Find an online course on YouTube and start practising again.
Listen to podcasts! There are some brilliant ones out there. Start with mine, the Magnificent Midlife Podcast!
Get a head-start on making the most of your next trip (perhaps this is at the top of your list once lockdown is over), all from the comfort of your couch using Duolinggo, a free app that teaches you other languages.
Here’s a great home schooling resource for the UK: https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/free-home-schooling-apps-and-websites
And for the US: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a31806310/coronavirus-homeschool-tips/
If you’re somewhere else, just google homeschooling in your country and I’m sure you’ll find resources. Tap into the experts who’ve been doing it for years. But go easy on yourself and your children. What you do doesn’t have to be perfect. We’re all learning in this new normal. As with home working, try to set some routine (and boundaries) to your day. Structure liberates!
Audible has made hundreds of children’s books available for free across six different languages, a great resource to break up the day.
Kids will love these virtual tours! Here are some links available for your viewing pleasure:
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is doing a Home Safari live on their FB page at 3 PM every week day.
Getting financial support
Contact your mortgage supplier to see if a payment holiday may be possible.
UK business, employers and employees support: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses
Unemployment insurance in the US https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200312-0
US mortgage relief: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendarichardson/2020/03/13/mortgage-relief-options-are-available-to-homeowners-affected-by-coronavirus-safety-measures/#5ed6e8fa53ab
Self isolate, socially distance from everyone outside your home, disinfect surfaces, wash your hands frequently for 2 minutes, do not touch your face. Personally I believe masks are helpful especially when shopping as they at least stop us from touching our faces so much. I also have a supply of plastic gloves.
Behave as if you have the virus and need to protect others.
Check the links below for how long the virus can stay on surfaces.
Here’s a useful video on managing groceries and takeout. Just do what you can!
NB the advice on this was updated to make clear that Covid-19 stays on cardboard for 1 DAY.
Catch up on your reading goals! After all, reading provides a great creative outlet for our minds. Take advantage of the many free eBooks from Project Gutenberg which contains a digital library of books such as the classics from Shakespeare, Moby Dick, and A Tale of Two Cities which are all available with no fee!
If your local library offers it, you can get a great collection of documentaries through https://www.kanopy.com/ – u/FIREDrillTW .
Now in lockdown and with time on our hands, it seems like the perfect moment to revisit those series and enjoy hours of re-watching from Netflix together with your friends, with this Chrome Extension .
Fight your boredom, grab some color pens and crayons and try these adult coloring book pages which you can print out.
Just because we’re on lockdown, it doesn’t mean we can’t travel! Yes we can – virtually! Here are some links available for your viewing pleasure:
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is doing a Home Safari live on their FB page at 3 PM every week day.
Pin For Later!
Staying up to date with information
As I mentioned above, I’ve become aware very recently of things I didn’t know about the pandemic. I don’t know if these are fact but they are being reported by reputable news sources, so I am logging them here. Check back for new updates as and when I find them. Take care and stay safe. If you don’t want more info about the virus itself, skip this section!
Best bit of advice I’ve heard? Act as if you have the virus. That will certainly change your behavior.
20/4/27 Coronavirus Lingers in Air of Crowded Spaces, New Study Finds
20/3/26 Is It Possible That You Had The Coronavirus Earlier This Year?
20/03/25 How the Pandemic Will End
Doctor groups are recommending testing and isolation for people who lose their ability to smell and taste, even if they have no other symptoms.
A mother who was infected with the coronavirus couldn’t smell her baby’s full diaper. Cooks who can usually name every spice in a restaurant dish can’t smell curry or garlic, and food tastes bland. Others say they can’t pick up the sweet scent of shampoo or the foul odor of kitty litter.
Anosmia, the loss of sense of smell, and ageusia, an accompanying diminished sense of taste, have emerged as peculiar telltale signs of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and possible markers of infection.
On Friday, British ear, nose and throat doctors, citing reports from colleagues around the world, called on adults who lose their senses of smell to isolate themselves for seven days, even if they have no other symptoms, to slow the disease’s spread. The published data is limited, but doctors are concerned enough to raise warnings.
“We really want to raise awareness that this is a sign of infection and that anyone who develops loss of sense of smell should self-isolate,” Prof. Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, wrote in an email. “It could contribute to slowing transmission and save lives.” (cont.)
The coronavirus can live for three days on some surfaces, like plastic and steel, new research suggests. Experts say the risk of consumers getting infected from touching those materials is still low, although they offered additional warnings about how long the virus survives in air, which may have important implications for medical workers.
The new study, published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests that the virus disintegrates over the course of a day on cardboard, lessening the worry among consumers that deliveries will spread the virus during this period of staying and working from home.
When the virus becomes suspended in droplets smaller than five micrometers — known as aerosols — it can stay suspended for about a half-hour, researchers said, before drifting down and settling on surfaces where it can linger for hours. The finding on aerosol in particular is inconsistent with the World Health Organization’s position that the virus is not transported by air.
The virus lives longest on plastic and steel, surviving for up to 72 hours. But the amount of viable virus decreases sharply over this time. It also does poorly on copper, surviving four hours. On cardboard, it survives up to 24 hours, which suggests packages that arrive in the mail should have only low levels of the virus — unless the delivery person has coughed or sneezed on it or has handled it with contaminated hands.
The coronavirus lives on copper for 4 hours, on cardboard for 1 day, and on plastic for 3 days, new research says. Here’s how to disinfect these surfaces properly.
Mutations can reveal how the coronavirus moves—but they’re easy to overinterpret https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/mutations-can-reveal-how-coronavirus-moves-they-re-easy-overinterpret
Can You Get Coronavirus Twice? How Long Are You Immune After COVID-19? https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/03/15/can-you-get-infected-by-coronavirus-twice-how-does-covid-19-immunity-work/#359400305c0f
You may think that the one “positive” of testing positive for the COVID-19 causing coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) and surviving would be that you won’t get infected by that virus again. At least not during this pandemic. Ah, but is this assumption really true? Will you indeed be immune to the SARS-CoV2 after you’ve recovered from a COVID-19 infection? Some reports out of Japan and China seem to suggest otherwise.
For example, Daniel Leussink and Rocky Swift reported for Reuters about a female tour bus guide in Japan who tested positive for the virus after recovering from a COVID-19 infection. (cont.)
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