I’ve been operating on silent for most of the last few weeks. If I’m honest, I’m a bit of an introvert and a thinker, so my reaction has been to turn inward for comfort. I’ve written this post 5-6 times, but deleted it each time. First, my family is safe and we’re doing okay. We’ve got a supply of dehydrated milk for toddler Dutch, should it come to that. We’ve checked on our elderly neighbors and offered to grocery shop for them.
Kansas City is in a full 30-day quarantine for everyone but essential workers. Most area schools are closed through the end of the school year. It isn’t just toilet paper and sanitizers missing from the shelves at the grocery. Most of my friends and colleagues can’t find basics like flour, milk or laundry soap. It also doesn’t help that the sky has been overcast for the last two weeks, making it feel like a poorly written dystopian fan-fiction.
Here are a few tips I can offer, friends.
Meagan’s Recipe for Laundry Detergent
2 parts borax
2 parts washing soda
1 part grated bar soap
Borax and washing soda can be found on the top or bottom shelf in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores and is often overlooked because many people don’t know how to use them. The bar soap can be anything. Castille soap, which can be found in the same location, is a great bar soap option, but any bar soap works: Dove, Irish Spring, etc. Use a grater to grate the soap. Mix these three items together and store in an air-tight container. Use one tablespoon per load of laundry. This works in HE washers as well.
If you don’t have washing soda, put a layer of baking soda on a cookie sheet about 1/2″ thick. Bake it at 400°F for 1-2 hours. Application of heat causes a chemical structural change, turning the baking soda (NaHCO3) into washing soda ( Na2CO3).
Check on Your Neighbors
If you don’t know your neighbors, that’s okay. Leave a note on their door with your phone number encouraging them to reach out. Seriously, go do this right now. It doesn’t take much effort to communicate with those around you.
Take Care of Yourself First
As selfish as it sounds, you can’t help others if you don’t practice self-care. This isn’t just about making sure you’ve eaten today or that your family has enough toilet paper. It is also about your mental well-being.
Brooke Anderson wrote a beautiful list of reflective questions:
Try to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simply the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever you’re doing at the moment. Meditation can be a form of mindfulness, but so can spinning… or knitting… or anything really. Chances are, you’re already doing it in some ways, but haven’t put words to it yet. Mindfulness is a tool for dealing with stress, and is particularly useful in times like… well, now.
There are so many mindfulness resources available, I struggle to find one to suggest, especially since I don’t buy into the “gushy” very easily and many resources are geared toward gushy.
There is a journal called Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel that I’ve found particularly useful, if you’re willing to take the time to fill it out.
I think that’s a fine place to wrap up. If you found this post helpful and would like more like it, please let me know.