Posted in Health and Fitness, Keeping your sanity, Parenting

Sanitize Everything!

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all aspects of life globally. Everything. It has affected us in different ways, perhaps, but one thing we all have in common is that we have felt the change, to be sure. I try to look for little silver linings in everything that affects me. It helps me to stay positive and focused on the good, not the bad. One positive aspect of this new way of life in my own pandemic experience is cleanliness. I am a bit of a clean freak, I’ll admit, especially before having children. I have three children now, so things aren’t always going to stay perfectly clean all the time — that’s impossible, and I’ve made peace with that. But, the novel virus, and the fact that two members of my beloved household suffer from asthma and are therefore high-risk, have allowed my inner clean freak to break forth and shine! While it does raise my anxiety a bit to have to be so extra cautious not to allow the virus enter my house, it is extremely important. My answer to this? Sanitize everything that comes in. Yes, everything.

I watched a video by Dr. Jeffery VanWingen on how to unpack groceries. In it, he has you imagine that everything you bring in has glitter on it, and you need to avoid spreading that glitter around your house at all costs. We all know how glitter gets on everything, right?! The thought of this virus being like glitter is a little alarming. So, here is what I do to help keep that “glitter” out of my house.

1. Groceries. When one of us comes back from the store, we take a disinfecting wipe or disinfecting spray and wipe down all of the items that come in before we put them away. (My fridge smells like Lysol, by the way.) I spray fresh produce with vinegar and let it sit then rinse it before I put it away. I know there is the worry about produce going bad more quickly by doing that, but if you can get them dry before they go back into the fridge they ought to be ok. We’ve not had a problem. Also, we put the paper bags in our recycling and then sanitize the floor they were sitting on. **Don’t have disinfecting spray? You can put bleach water in a heavy-duty spray bottle and use it (remember: it’s still bleach, so be careful and wear cleaning gloves!) or use vinegar in a spray bottle and let it sit about 10 minutes.

2. Bottoms of our shoes. When I come in from having gone to the store, I spray the bottoms of my shoes with disinfecting spray and then take them off. There are all kinds of nasty things you can carry into your house from the bottoms of your shoes. We live around geese, too, so it gets a little gross when you think about it! Sanitize those shoe bottoms.

3. Wash hands. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but wash your hands obsessively, especially when coming in from being out. Try not to touch your face.

4. Inside of car. Because my husband doesn’t wear gloves when going out, I disinfect the inside of the car when he gets home. I know that he is constantly disinfecting his hands when he must go out, but it never hurts just to make sure everything that gets touched in the car is sanitized as well.

5. Deliveries and mail. All deliveries and mail get sanitized when coming in. I spray down the box or envelope, get out the item I’ve ordered or that came in, sanitize the item, recycle the packaging, sanitize the floor, then sanitize the scissors. It’s definitely a lot more work, and yep, it’s a bit obnoxious, but I do it to ensure we are not spreading anything around the house unknowingly. Mail no longer gets put on a table. It goes on the floor or in a box.

6. Everything you can touch in the house. Ok, yes I know this is a catch-all, but it’s equally important. I will do random trips around the house sanitizing controls, light switches, door knobs, banisters, handles, everything. When I bleach bathrooms, I also wipe down the walls with bleach. (Check a small area first before you do this!!! I’ve had great luck with Behr eggshell finishes doing well against being wiped by bleach water.)

I know that I sound a bit obsessive, but it’s more than just about protecting my high-risk loved ones at home, it’s about protecting my neighbors and those I’m around as well. We will get through this. We will get to fully enjoy life again. In the meantime, let’s protect as many people as we possibly can, so we all can see each other on the other side of this pandemic. Sanitize everything. Wash your hands. And know that you are being someone’s guardian angel.

Posted in Keeping your sanity

A Fun Way to Relieve Stress

Things have been pretty crazy for everyone lately, to be sure. There are a world of unknowns, uncertainties, and every news report seems to be worse than the last, if that could even be possible. I was pretty down in my last blog post. I had considered taking it down — I like to be uplifting no matter what — but I also like honesty and openness, so I left it. Anyway, fast forward almost 2 weeks later, and I find myself in a much better place! I have definitely come out of my “funk” and am looking at the world through my optimistic eyes again. A few things have helped to get me here, I think — arrival of Spring, warmer weather, outside exercise, flowers opening, birds singing — but one additional activity has helped immensely: gardening!

Because of our stay-home order I shouldn’t go get all of the necessary gardening supplies I need. Usually I would be running out for organic soil, organic fertilizers, and the like, but there is still a lot I can do with what is around my yard right now. I’ve already moved my very young climbing rose. I transplanted some ornamental grass that started getting out-of-hand last year. And I think I am going to move some tulips that aren’t getting enough sun where they are anymore. All of that great digging, working the soil, planning, sunshine, and fresh air has done so much for my soul! There’s always that great anticipation that comes with every Spring season, and working outside in my flower beds just builds it even more and gets me excited for the next job. My new fig tree arrived, and I’ve just ordered roses, so I can’t wait until my first chance to plant them and watch them grow! I love just how much gardening has kept me encouraged and happy.

Yes, the world has been turned upside down, but there are little things we can do to help keep our spirits up. I definitely encourage you to go out and spend some time digging in your flower beds, or even create a new one! If you are in an apartment, the next time you go grocery shopping try bringing home a plant (or three) to take care of. Many grocery stores stock potted fresh herbs, so take some home, decorate a plain terra cotta pot and re-pot them. Try anything that gets you digging. You’ll be amazed at just how good you feel!