How to Live Like An Introvert During A Pandemic

Hi guys! Today I wanted to talk about how to live like a hermit during this dire time.  It can't be very frustrating being stuck inside all day, everyday, but as time goes on you can learn a lot about yourself and how you handle things during situations that are outside of your norm...

This post is a little on the late side, as the COVID-19 virus is just peaking and a lot of the items at grocery stores you've been needing, have already sold out and the point of staying inside is to avoid the crowds that keep accumulating at these grocery stores. Everyone across the globe beings to "hamsterkaeufe"-- A word the Germans use (and that I've only just recently learned about) with the literal translation: "hamster buying" describes perfectly the panic everyone is going through. Where hamsters hoard food in their cheeks for days, we panic-buy all the toilet paper, meat, and other essentials, leaving less fortunate than us empty handed by the time it's their time to go grocery shopping with their weekly budget..  It's very sad. In this post today, my goal is to educate you on how to stay healthy and active while you feel locked away from the world.

Before I begin, I want to remind everyone reading this that self-quarantining is a selfless act... Why? Because it isn't just about keeping yourself from getting sick, it's to keep your entire community from getting sick... Others who are less fortunate than you. Others who have asthma, lung problems, cancer, even those who simply just recently got an update on vaccines that lowered their immune system while they're trying to build it back up. By keep yourself in your home, you're saving lives of others as well.  Thank you for self-quarantining.

Now, I've seen a lot of processed foods sold out on the shelves at stores. I, myself, have a few cup of noodles and frozen pizzas stored away. While these are simple and quick meals that don't expire immediately, you CAN still eat healthy with veggies and fruit well after your last grocery visit a month ago. How? By simply meal planning and meal prepping. This works well during pandemics and not so much during a disaster that potentially causes a power outage, however, so during rare times you're locked away during a virus outbreak, here are tips you can follow to keep yourself healthy and active, mentally and physically, while you're also saving lives... How cool right?

1.) Create Yourself A Meal Plan & Prep Ahead

The most efficient way of building your healthy food stock is to plan out what you want to eat. How long are you supposed to be trapped in your home for? That will help you plan out how many meals you'll want to create. Two sites I recommend using are:

Healthy Meal Plans is a great tool to use while you're planning out your meals. It has a ton of recipes you can search for with videos on how to make them. You can simply add it to your weekly & monthly chart that you begin creating on that website AND once you're finished, you can print out the grocery list it calculates for you. A win win in my book!

Meal Plan Addict is an amazing food blog site that is ran by a genius named Stephanie. She even has an Instagram where she updates almost daily on her stories with new recipes.  Her site shows you how to meal prep and freeze so you never run out of food ideas when you're just not feeling up to cooking that night. It's perfect for a pandemic. Not only that, but she also has recipes for Air fryers, instant pots, slow cookers, etc.. making cooking even easier.

2.) Always Have The Basics On Hand

What I mean when I say this is, even not during a pandemic, you should always keep these pantry items on stock:

-Canned goods like beans, tomato sauce/puree/diced tomatoes
-bulk bags of beans, grains
-Yeast (active, instant, etc..)
-Baking powder/soda
-Grains like quinoa, oats, rice, etc..
-soup broths
-nut butters
-almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, basically any kind of milk that doesnt need to be refridgerated until opened.

Here's are some great articles for stocking your pantry:

-frozen veggies
-frozen fruit
-chia seeds (they last longer in the freezer)
-frozen fish

These things will be your life saver once you run out of frozen pizzas and cup of noodles!

Many think you need meat to have in your diet to get protein... That is simply not true. While your grocery stores are quickly depleted in their meat department, a lot forget that grains and beans can add so much protein and nutrients to your diet just as much as that cut of sirloin holds. It's ALWAYS good to buy a few whenever you go grocery shopping to build that supply.. But make sure you're actually using these items so they never go to waste. You don't want to hoard, you just want to maintain your food supply to last you so you can grocery shop way less.

3.) Get Creative With Your Cooking

Eggs can only last so long until they go rotten. If you bought your eggs for simple meals at home but you're just craving those Ghirardelli brownies you impulsively bought for a night of rom-coms and wine, learn subsitutes! 1 TBSP of flaxseed meal + 2.5-3 TBSP of water will get you the consistency of 1 egg... Use that knowledge for pancakes, quick breads, brownie mixes, etc.. This way you buy less eggs for your home and it allows another family to have eggs for their kids as well.

Remember that loaf of bread you bought two weeks ago? Has it started molding and you're in the middle of a lockdown? It's a great thing you have that flour on hand! Try your hands at making your own loaves of bread!  My current favorite Instagram is @halfbakedharvest she has amazing recipes and cookbooks that will show you how to do so! Check out this No Knead Bread recipe she has from her cookbook

Ran out of meat options for dinner? Make oatmeal! Good protein and a new found love for things savory, breakfast or not! Check out these 11 Savory Oatmeal recipes to try!

Missing out on all the spring break travels you had planned? Why not try recipes from around the world? Dutch Baby pancakes, Thai Curry Ramen, Crepes, Cacio e pepe...

And instead of going for those canned soups-- make your own homemade soups and freeze any leftovers!

Other items that freeze well are pancakes, french toast, burritos, shepards pie... you can make bulk items of all of these and just freeze leftovers so you have breakfasts, lunches, and future dinners as well!

Other pantry recipes:
Chia Pudding
Overnight Oats
Fried Rice
Egg Drop Soup
Enchilada sauce
Black Bean Soup

Egg Drop Soup is an easy, healthy, and QUICK recipe to make while you're hiding out. All you need is broth, oil, and egg. Spices as well but this recipe is outstanding and I highly recommend having it as a go to for simple, yet healthy, meal, especially if you're feeling under the weather.

Fried rice is also a great recipe to use. You just need rice, soy sauce, egg, and veggies! I use frozen veggies and frozen shrimp and this dish comes together quickly! Plus you can make a ton of it!

 Here is the link to 3 quick and easy stir-fry recipes 

Chia pudding is not only delicious with the right ingredients, but it's also extremely healthy! Pictured here is my Matcha Chia Pudding, topped with thawed strawberries and mango I had from my freezer. You just need to follow this base, and then you can flavor it with anything you'd like: 

4tbsp chia seeds
1 cup milk of your choice
1tsp of sweetener (my go-to is maple or honey)

For Matcha flavor: Sift 1 tsp of matcha powder into the container you plan on using for your chia pudding, add 1/4 hot water and mix until smooth. add sweetener and then pour your milk and chia seeds, stir until well combined and put into your fridge for at least hour or overnight.

I hope those tips help you in the "I have nothing to eat" department!

Now, staying ACTIVE during this lockdown and quarantine...
In this day and age, there are many tools to keep you staying active while you're stuck inside your home. It just depends on how far you're willing to go.

Now, if you're in an area that isn't on lockdown, you may be able to go outside still...
Getting vitamin D is a good thing. Getting fresh air is GOOD. If you can't get vitamin D or fresh air through the windows of your home, it's OKAY to go out on a walk. Just keep your distance from people. Don't go to playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, anywhere where there's an abundance of people you could interact with.

Hiking trails are okay, as long as its not crowded. Even just having a little picnic out in your backyard (if you have one) keeps the sanity at bay.

Things that you can do while being stuck in your home might be cleaning out your closets, pantries, organizing pots and pans, and going through bookcases and making a pile of books you don't want anymore and donate with the lockdown has lifted. Aside from cleaning your home to spotlessness...
-You can use Youtube to workout!
-Yoga is a great and calming form of exercise to keep you from going apeshit.
-You can start up your own blog!
-There are many great tools on the internet to help you learn a new language, YouTube and Podcast for example.
-If you're itching for a new book but you have no clue what to read or how to get your hands on one, Good Reads will help you, and just because you don't have a kindle, you still have the option to read your new book on your phone or even your laptop... heck, YOU can even write your next favorite story! There are are also Podcast options and Audible book options.

Don't forget to facetime your loved ones, play board games with your family, and find educational things you can do to keep your brain and your families active and constantly learning as you wait this virus out!

It's important that we flatten this curve as best as we can! People who don't take this virus seriously are truly selfish.  Just because it MIGHT not affect you, it CAN and WILL affect others around you. Others who aren't capable of handling a virus that eats away at the lining around their lungs. There are still long term conditions that come from having this virus- even if you survive it.  Please for the safety of everyone around you and for yourself, just stay home and keep everyone healthy. Wipe down your door handles (especially if you live in an apartment building). The virus can last up to 3 hours airborne, and last 2-3 days on surfaces. Cover your mouth with your elbows, use your scarf when you're out and about (masks are not needed unless you're already ill with the virus).

if you have just ONE symptom of the virus.. stay inside. 14 days go by quickly. Just get plenty of rest, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Wash your hands constantly. Only use hand sanitizer when there isn't soap and water around. Hand Sanitizer kills good germs too so it's important you don't over use it. And please please PLEASE wash your hands after handling chemical wipes such as lysol and clorox. And keep your distance from family members in your home as well. Sleeping on the couch or a guest room will help not spread the virus. UV Rays are also known to kill bacteria so keep your blinds open during the day.  Keep a cool mist humidifer by your bed at night while you're sleeping to help moisten your nasal passages and throat. 

If your fever isn't going down with medicine like Tylenol,or if you feel like you can't breathe call the hospital and go to the ER right away. This can be fought, just don't panic and go in as soon as you have a sore throat. It's a viral infection, antibiotics won't work unless it becomes bacterial and turns into pneumonia.

Visit the CDC page to learn more about how you can protect yourself and others.

I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their time stuck in their home... THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL if we all can do our parts.

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