by Daisy Luther
Here in the United States, many of us are in this strange kind of limbo called “lockdown.” Other states call it “social distancing,” and still others call it “sheltering in place.”
California, New York, and Illinois started the ball rolling last Friday, and since then, nearly half of the United States has joined in, to some degree or another. There are varying degrees of lockdown – nobody in any state is forced to stay inside their home at all times (barring quarantine due to infection or exposure.) You can still go to the grocery store or take a walk, but many businesses not deemed “essential” are closed.
At this point, we’re not sure how long the lockdowns will last. President Trump insisted yesterday in a press conference he’d like to see full churches on Easter Sunday, while some more conservative health experts have warned this could continue through June or longer.
Although people can go to the store, many have not. Some folks are serious about social distancing because there’s a loved one in their household who is greatly at risk, while others are waiting for that last paycheck after having been laid off from their jobs. There’s lots of chit chat online about the things people have run out of first, and some of these might be things to note when stocking up for future emergencies.
As well, it’s time to tap into your creativity and your problem-solving mindset instead of feeling sorry for yourself. We’re Americans. We’ve been through wars, shortages, and all sorts of hardships over our history and we’ve come through it stronger and more independent. This is just another challenge for us to accept and conquer. (And remember, a good sense of humor about some failed experiments can go a long way.)
Some of the first goods most people opened when the lockdowns began was the snack foods. Potato chips, cookies, and candy have been the first to go in many households. Learning how to make your own from scratch is a great way to pass the time and still have some tasty treats.
Here are some simple cookie recipes.
Here’s how to make your own candy.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually the first things to go whenever we on this website have done a stockpile challenge. There are a few ways to get some fresh veggies in without waiting for them to grow in the garden. Sprouting is the very fastest way to get your nutrients and you can do it in any home, in any climate – learn more about it here.
Others are starting seeds to get their gardens going the moment the ground warms up enough to do so. Here’s a guide to gardening on a budget.
You may have to move on to frozen and canned veggies if you aren’t planning a trip to the store soon. Frozen vegetables will be the most like fresh. Canned vegetables may be more welcome if they’re included as ingredients in soups or casseroles.
If you’ve run out of bread, there’s no better time to learn to make your own, assuming you have the supplies to do so. Look for simple recipes – don’t start out with something super-fancy.
I discovered Gaye Levy’s favorite recipe years ago and this is still my go-to homemade bread to go along with a pot of soup.
If you didn’t pick up these items, make sure to grab yeast, baking powder, and baking soda on your next trip to the store. Or, you can order yeast, baking powder, and baking soda on Amazon. You can also try making your own sourdough starter – here are the instructions.
If you’ve run out of milk, there isn’t really a substitute unless you have powdered or canned milk. The next time you go to the store, keep in mind that milk can be frozen – just pour out enough to account for expansion when it freezes, thaw it in the refrigerator, and shake well before each use.
Lots of ladies have expressed regret that they didn’t buy any hair color for touching up their roots before everything closed down. While it isn’t salon-quality, you may be able to find a match on Amazon.
I haven’t tried any of these, but this article has 7 natural hair dyes you can try with items you may have on hand.
One thing people are running through far more quickly than they expected is alcohol. Whether that’s wine, beer, or hard liquor, it’s flowing quickly and the folks drinking it have been keeping an eye on their dwindling supplies, dreading the day it runs out.
Now, I’m not promoting alcoholism and you may not have the materials to make a still or ferment your own wine. But in most states, some types of alcohol are still available. If you order food to be delivered to your home (some don’t think it’s worth the risk, while others are unconcerned) many restaurants will also bring wine or beer. In some states, the liquor store is considered an essential business, while in others you’re limited to whatever is available in the grocery store.
Ration, people. Ration.
Lots of folks have run out of patience, which is something you can’t buy at the store. The kids are fighting, your partner breathes too loudly, and people are feeling cooped up within their four walls.
This, of course, you can’t buy in stores. It’s a good idea to spend some time in your separate corners if your home allows it. Use headphones to listen to music and focus on your own hobbies. Set up virtual playdates for the kids using Facetime or Skype. Break out the old-fashioned games, make some popcorn, and hang out together as a family.
In most places, you can spend some time in nature as long as you keep some distance between yourself and other folks. So a nice walk could help break the monotony or even a hike if you live near a place where that is a possibility. What’s off-limits is going to the playground where other kids will be, congregating together in a group, or having a lot of people (aside from family) together in an enclosed space.
What have you run out of?
Now isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself if you’ve run out of something of which you wish you’d purchased more. Now is the time for creativity, ingenuity, and a problem-solving mindset. We could be looking at a different way of life for quite some time, even after the lockdown is lifted, due to a change in economic circumstances.
Instead of letting it get you down, see it as a challenge and learn to come up with viable substitutes for any shortages you may encounter.
Is there anything you wish you’d gotten more of before the lockdown? Have you discovered some workarounds you can share with us? Let’s talk about it in the comments.