covid-19 Isolation Survival Guide

I know, I know, we’re all sick of hearing covid this, physical distancing that… but you know what? This is our reality and if I were a betting girl, I’d bet it’s going to be our reality for quite some time. And if you’re like me and just about every other person on the planet, you’re having a tough time with the new isolation conditions. I’ve gone through the various stages of grief… and will probably cycle through them a few more times before this is all over.

And the panic I’ve seen in various mom communities online suggests I’m not alone. But I’m seeing a lot of women are having a hard time coming out of panic and anxiety. I get it. This situation is HARD. But I also know that our kids are watching.  I think we owe it to them to model behaviour in crisis that we would want them to practice.

In light of that, I’d like to share a little bit of insight into what’s run through my brain over the past month:

Denial: “Huh, this virus doesn’t sound great. Glad we live somewhere we won’t be affected.”

Anger: “What?! Schools are closed for 2 whole weeks? This is going to be terrible.”

Bargaining: “Who wants to socially isolate together? Anyone want to borrow a kid?”

Depression: “I can’t do this. I miss my life. I miss people. I miss my quiet house while I’m working. This is too much…” {This wasn’t my finest several days, but I also think it’s important for kids to see us have emotions and this is where they saw the most.}

Acceptance: “OK, sitting on the kitchen floor crying felt good for those 20mins, but I can’t live like this for months. Let’s figure out a way to make this work.”

 

So, now that I am sitting squarely in Acceptance I’m trying to keep from reverting back into a depression state. I wanted to share some things that have helped me out – giving me comfort, self care, or making life a little easier. So I can help support my family through this time and show them that we can do hard things. 

I’ve put together a little covid-19 Isolation Survival Guide – I hope you find it helpful and that it inspires you to add some things to your new routine that bring you joy and help make this situation a little easier. I’ve linked some of my favourite products and businesses too.

Get Out of Your PJs 

OK, I know staying in PJ’s or yoga pants all day is tempting… but one of the biggest shifts in my mood was starting my day getting properly dressed. The bonus is that with my super comfortable (and eco-friendly) outfits from Logan & Finley, it still feels like I’m in pjs. But I know I’m dressed and ready to face the day.

Owner Julie has even created a collection specifically for the work-from-home life. You can shop online – and get a virtual wardrobe consultation – here. (And most of what I’m wearing in my photos on social and my website are from Logan & Finley!)

Logan & Finley clothing

Move Yo’ Body

I’m only just starting to get back into working out after a solid couple of months off (the flu hit our house in February). I am a terrible self-starter and got used to the routine of going to the gym. So when we all got stuck at home I had a hard time getting motivated. Enter my trainer, Reena Parekh.

I’ve been training with her for years in-person. Lucky for me, and just in time for a pandemic situation, she now does online training. She helped kick my butt into action. I’ve got workouts that burn, and the accountability to help me stick to it. 

Learn more about online training with Reena here.

Oh, and maybe it’s just me, but even when I’m just stuck around the house, I don’t like going braless. My TMPL Sports Bra has definitely been my go-to. Its super soft material feels just as good all day as it does during a workout. (I also love their leggings and tank, pictured below.)

Shop their high performance, ethically-made, non-toxic line of athleticwear here and save 15%. In the photo below I’m wearing the medium support sportsbra (that I’m wearing as I write this), tank, and pocket leggings.

 

Pamper Yourself

I’ve started putting on make-up every day – even more than I used to beforehand. I don’t know if it’s because I’m washing my hands a million times a day and looking in a mirror more often or what, but the morning routine also helps me set myself up for a healthier mindset to face the day.

My favourite make-up brands are all thanks to Maria Velve – my go-to skincare expert and make-up artist. She sells amazing brands in her online shop and can do virtual consultations too! Check her out here.

In the quiet, after the kids are in bed, and nobody’s asking me for something (maybe my favourite part of the day?!)… I’ve started really looking forward to my pre-bed facial treatment. 

I’ve been using an oil cleanser and moisturizer from Lifance, which I am absolutely loving. (You can save 15% when you use your Healthy Moms Discount Card. Don’t have one yet? Grab it here and save a whole bunch on awesome products and services.)

In the shower, I use an exfoliating face scrub I picked up when I got my last facial at Pure & Simple. They’re selling self isolation kits now that look like fun too. 

These simple luxuries seem to help melt away the stress of the day, and I enjoy them unapologetically.

 

Embrace the Chaos + Simplify

So all the product-based strategies aside, the greatest survival tactic I realized is that I have to embrace the chaos and learn to simplify. 

I say chaos because I think it aptly describes the idea that we are to instantly transform into different people and lose our usual support systems. In my case, I am now a work-at-home and stay-at-home-mom, being the primary caregiver during the day as my husband works for an essential service. We don’t have access to grandparents or babysitters. Given how quickly I went from a work-at-home-while-kids-were-at-school-mom to this new reality… chaos is really how I feel.

But I’m learning to embrace it and work with it – after I went through the grief process about what I’ve “lost”, which I still think is an important thing to acknowledge.

And simplify is a word that resonates with me as I navigate trying to do all the things… so I wanted to share something from the most gentle soul you’ll ever meet, Lynne Newman. She offers coaching and workshops around simplicity parenting among others, and has put together a great (free) e-book to help you simplify your children’s toys. 

With everyone home looking for something to do, this might seem counter-intuitive. But her process will help you create a more calm home, and will make it easier for your children to engage with what they already have better.

You can download it here.

 

We’re in this for a long time. When I moved through the stages of grief and really settled into that, I was able to focus on the little things that ultimately help boost my mood and morale. Getting outside has also been a huge part of my support process, but I know with varying levels of isolation that might not be possible where you are – but if you can do it safely, try to get outside or at least open your windows every day.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not business as usual right now. Lower expectations of what you can get done in a day if you’ve got children at home especially. Practice daily gratitude, allowing yourself to acknowledge what went well. 

And most importantly, show compassion to yourself and others. We’re all doing the best we can. 

If you’d like to continue having conversations about navigating this time, creating healthy homes, and supporting healthy families, I invite you to join me over in my free Facebook Group, the Green Product Forum >> click here to join now.

 

This post contains affiliate links. These help support the work that goes into this blog and other resources I create. For any purchase made from affiliate links, I earn a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the businesses I love, and for helping me continue to do my work :).

How to Prevent COVID-19 Naturally at Home

How to prevent covid-19 naturally at home

I’ll just say it straight: we are living in a crazy time right now. There is an unbelievable amount of information (and misinformation) floating around about the 2019 novel coronavirus (covid-19) and I’ve hesitated to add to the noise. But there’s something we’re not talking about that I think is important – for our health, and our sanity.  

Now, before I dive in I want to make it perfectly clear that despite what some are sharing online, nothing has been proven to cure or make you immune to covid-19 as of today.  However, there are definitely things you can and should be doing to boost your immune system – covid-19 or not. 

I’m not going to give you recommendations for supplements and herbs and immune boosting tonics, because that’s not my specialty. For that kind of information, I recommend following this page put together by Dr. Aviva Romm. She’s an MD, herbalist, and midwife and  focuses on practical, clinically relevant recommendations.

I’m going to stay in my lane here, and share tips that you can act on right now – whether you’re social distancing or in quarantine – to make your home less friendly to viruses like covid-19. 

In this article, I share:

  • The proper way to wash your hands, and what kind of soap to use.
  • The step you need to take before disinfecting, and what products actually work.
  • How fresh air plays a role in virus prevention.
  • The optimal humidity level in your home to make it less friendly to viruses.
  • The source I trust for advice on boosting your body’s immune response.

These things are not going to guarantee you don’t get sick. But they can go a long way to reducing your risk and supporting your body in the event you do.

 

Wash Your Hands (For Longer than You Think You Should)

The number one way to prevent germs from coming into your home, is to wash your hands before you touch anything. The good news is, viruses like covid-19 are easily combated with regular old soap and water (this article explains why). 

Yes, even the natural stuff – you don’t need special antibacterial soap. Just make sure you’re spending at least 20 seconds, using warm water, and rubbing your hands. There are a million videos out there on this now, but here’s the official guidance from the CDC.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the second best option when you don’t have access to soap. Be careful using homemade versions, as the concentration needs to be at least 60% to be effective.

Clean then Disinfect

If you are appropriately distancing yourself – you are avoiding contact with other people by now, right? – and washing your hands as soon as you come home, you’re doing the most important steps to reducing your risk of exposure and the spread of the virus. 

As far as the research shows, transmission is mainly through inhaling droplets from coughs and sneezing. That being said, the virus has been shown to live on surfaces for hours to days. BEcause of this, Health Canada and the CDC recommend cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces daily, especially if a member of your household is at risk or showing symptoms.

Short-term use of disinfectants like Lysol and bleach isn’t going to hurt. However, long-term use could be impacting especially our children’s immune systems for the long-term (stay tuned, more on this to come). 

If you are sanitizing your home, be aware that disinfectants only work on clean surfaces. So before you sanitize, be sure to clean with a soap first. 

My go-to all-purpose cleaner is liquid castile soap in water – this hasn’t changed with covid-19. 

I use Benefect for our normal disinfecting needs (which I really only use when we’ve got a serious illness or vomit going on). It’s Health Canada approved as a hospital-grade disinfectant and has been demonstrated effective on viruses similar to covid-19 (though hasn’t yet been tested on it specifically).

Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to be effective on viruses, including other coronaviruses. You can find a list of EPA-approved disinfectants here.

Oh, and a lot of people are worried about bringing in contaminated groceries. So far, the risk is incredibly low of contracting covid-19 from food and packaging. This article provides the best summary I’ve seen on the subject. The take-away? Worry about washing your hands, not so much about getting the virus from eating contaminated food.

Please for the love of all things, do not share false information about colloidal silver, essential oils, and other strategies being spread around the interwebs that have not been proven to be effective against covid-19.

 

Increase Fresh Air

Indoor air quality can impact your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. When our homes are all closed up, the chemicals that offgas from the building materials, furniture, cleaners and personal care products accumulate. 

The impact of poor indoor air quality is two-fold. First, it increases our exposure to toxins and therefore our overall toxic load. This is a form of stress on the body, which contributes to reduced immune system performance.

Second, there is emerging research linking hormone disrupting chemicals with immune system dysfunction. It’s impossible to avoid hormone disruptors entirely, but improving ventilation can help flush them out of your home to lower your exposure. 

Also, increasing fresh air inside has been studied with respect to the SARS outbreak in 2003, and the study authors found that “increasing building ventilation rates using methods such as natural ventilation in classrooms, offices, and homes is a relatively effective strategy for airborne diseases in a large city.”

You can increase fresh air by opening windows or running your furnace fan more often – ideally with an air exchanger (if you’re in a new home, you should have one of these and make sure you know how to use it!).

 

Check Your Humidity

The ability of viruses to survive is linked by many different studies with both temperature and humidity. However, there are inconsistencies in the findings to confirm the impact on a specific virus. Not all viruses are impacted the same. And they aren’t always linear – meaning some will survive longer in low and high humidities, but not in the middle.

For influenza, research suggests higher humidity is more effective at reducing virus transmission than low. Because covid-19 is still relatively new, there isn’t much data on it. As a result, it’s been suggested to use other known viruses to predict the impact of covid-19. 

My recommendation to help reduce the spread of cold and flu, while balancing mold growth, is to maintain 40 – 50% relative humidity in your home. Based on the literature around similar viruses, covid-19 appears to have lower survivability at higher humidities. 

Given the lack of research around covid-19 specifically, maintaining an RH of 40 – 50% will at least help prevent other illness, without contributing to harmful mold growth in your home (though always watch out for condensation if you are actively increasing humidity).

 

In Summary

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. All the time.
  2. Clean surfaces before disinfecting them.
  3. Increase fresh air throughout your home.
  4. Maintain a relative humidity of 40 – 50% inside.

I hope this helps you take a step back and focus on what you can do to help prevent your family from getting sick during this pandemic. Stressing about the situation is inevitable, but that also puts your body at increased risk of infection. So let’s acknowledge those feelings (I cry them out, personally), but not dwell on them. We’re all in this together.

Let me know if you’ve got any other questions related to covid-19 or otherwise. I’m planning out my next series of blog posts and would love to help answer your burning questions! Comment below or contact me with your ideas.

And for ongoing training and information about creating a healthier home – during and after this pandemic – join the over 3000 members in my free Facebook Group the Green Product Forum.