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10 Coronavirus Life Hacks

Home > Adelaide > Family | Health and Fitness | Kids | Lists
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 26th 2020
Life hacks make living easier, even in the time of pandemic
Coronavirus is here, but life goes on. There are lots of little things you can do to make life easier. Here are some of my pandemic life hacks that include things like cooking, shopping, personal hygiene, kids, making money and more.

1. Cooking

No pasta or rice in the shops. What are you going to use to make dinner? You can do a lot with some flour. With self-raising flour, I can make tortillas, or with plain flour, I can make crepes. Both are great for wrapping up some food to eat, with savoury crepes being the most fancy and tortillas the more trendy.

Image courtesy of Mudd1 @ Wikimedia
Image courtesy of Mudd1 @ Wikimedia

2. Shopping

The supermarket shelves are not bare, but all the good stuff is gone. I haven't eaten pasta in weeks, my toilet paper supply is dwindling and all the garlic has been bought by people boiling it in water and drinking that concoction with the hope that it will protect them from infection.

Image courtesy of Dan Keck @ Wikimedia
Image courtesy of Dan Keck @ Wikimedia

But all you have to do is shop outside of supermarkets. Big-W and K-mart both sell lots of household items, including toilet paper. I picked up soap from the discount store, cheap red lentils from the India store, and a few other items from a Korean store. It is especially good to shop at locally owned businesses and support them during this difficult time.

3. Finding work

Restaurants are closed and many people are looking for a quick job. Try going to your favourite job site and type in Immediate Start for places hiring right now.

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay
Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay

4. Teaching kids to be Coronavirus safe

Shouting at your kids to stop touching their face is probably not going to work. But playing games about not touching their faces are fun to try. Get them to do a task, and see how long they can do it without touching their face. There will be giggles and learning.

5. Getting to work

If you have a job which you still have to go in for, the danger is taking the bus, train or ferry to work. But if you work in the city centres, it can be hard to avoid public transportation. But what you can do instead is find cheap parking as close as possible to your work, and walk or cycle the rest of the way. Some cities are even waving parking fees and fines.

Image courtesy of Kelly Lacy @ Pexels
Image courtesy of Kelly Lacy @ Pexels

6. Help Others

The easiest way to help others at the moment is to donate to food banks. There are lots of people out there struggling to pay the rent, let alone put food on the table. Food banks are running out of food to help those in need. Unless you have a hoard of canned food that you realise that you don't actually need, it is better to donate money.

If you are time rich but money poor, you might want to volunteer. But most places are already swamped with more volunteers than they can onboard in such a short time. Instead, help people through your local network. This can mean finding a local place that needs help, like a nearby church running a food bank or kitchen. But you can also provide help and support to people in your network. This means doing a supermarket run for someone in self-isolation or taking a friend's kids who are out of school while they have to work.

7. Personal Hygiene

We are told that we must stop touching our faces, after all, this is how we can both pickup and spread Coronavirus. Of course, this is really hard to do. Doctors are trained not to touch their face during surgery and they have nurses to dab their foreheads for sweat as well as scratch their noses if they need it.

Image courtesy of pxfuel
Image courtesy of pxfuel

One way is to have a clean vs dirty hand. Handle things with your left hand, rub your eyes with your right hand. This is an easier habit to master than not touching your face.

8. Making money on the side

A lot of people are currently out of work with little chance of getting any more at the moment as everyone is applying for the few places that are hiring. But if you are getting government support, then you can still make some money on the side. One of the easiest ways to do this is to sell things online. It doesn't matter if you are selling that tent you haven't used in 2 years, or fun and colourful facemasks, there are lots of ways to sell. Remember, sell online only, rather than holding garage sales or other ways to sell in person.

Image courtesy of vagawi @ flickr
Image courtesy of vagawi @ flickr

9. Mental Health

I think there are two big mental health challenges. The first is being alone for extended periods of time. In this case, one of the best ways is to have a hobby. This will give you purpose, have something to talk about with people online, and has been shown to be good for mental health.

The other is where you are cooped up with people all day and every day. This can be especially hard for anyone living in a share apartment. At least with a house, you can sit in the garden. Until there is an official lockdown, the best way to protect our mental health is go for a walk every day. In suburban environments, this is safe with a very low risk of Coronavirus exposure, especially if you practice good social distancing.

10. Learning about Coronavirus

This is more of a don't. Don't believe anything your friend forwards you by email or on Facebook. Especially don't believe anything that asks you to tell everyone. If it was real information it would be in the news or on government websites. They don't publish health alerts by asking you to pass them on to others on Facebook.

Your Coronavirus life hacks

If you are doing anything that makes your life easier at this time, please share it with me in the comments. There are probably lots of different Coronahacks that people are doing that can help people even a little at this difficult time.

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Why? No matter what happens, there are always little hacks that make life easier
Your Comment
Hi, to avoid touching your face, wear a mask. Even if it’s not medical quality, it’s better than nothing. Go to YouTube to find out how to make one at home. It’s easy!
When you get home, boil a kettle and pour the hot water over the mask to disinfect, or turn iron on hottest setting and press the mask if fabric allows.
by olga6 (score: 1|34) 783 days ago
Great ideas
by Seafarrwide (score: 3|1936) 783 days ago
Wash your windows inside and out and clean your screens too The technicolor result will make you feel better. You will use energy and the time will pass giving you some satisfaction. Claire Aspendale Australia
by thesh (score: 0|4) 779 days ago
Take this chance to declutter. I have been going through my recipe books and recipes that I have ripped out of magazines. I have thrown out 1 beer box full of doubled up recipes or recipes I know I will never try. Put aside 1 or 2 hours every other day so it doesn't become a chore
by iggydi (score: 0|6) 776 days ago
i recommend backyard food gardening. a very satisfying hobby and reduces our reliance / trips to groceries. But be careful to plant most used veggies and herbs and water them every day
by Msame (score: 0|2) 781 days ago
My friend found the original author of this post is believed to be: Dr. Eileen Feliciano, clinical psychologist at NYS (New York State)If that is correct I thank you Dr. Feliciano!!

From a psychologist:
After having thirty-one sessions this week with patients where the singular focus was COVID-19 and how to cope, I decided to consolidate my advice and make a list that I hope is helpful to all. I can't control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this.

Edit: I am surprised and heartened that this has been shared so widely! People have asked me to credential myself, so to that end, I am a doctoral level Psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialities of School and Clinical Psychology.


1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.

2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.

3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.

4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!

5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!

6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!

7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. For children, it is great to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.

8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.

9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.

10. Everyone find their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.

11. Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioral plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.

12. Focus on safety and attachment. We are going to be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand of meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a whole lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them in this time.

13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things in this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.

14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.

15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information.

16. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, offer to grocery shop, check in with elderly neighbors, write psychological wellness tips for others—helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.

17. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.

18. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.

19. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.

20. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!

21. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.

22. Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with special challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbors to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.

23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Often, when I work with patients who have anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a time stamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.

24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeing free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.

25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?
Hi Roy,
How are you?
Sometimes info is important from friend’s on FB! Please read.
Have a good day.
Kim Guider
by (score: |) 781 days ago
Hi, my husband and I are in our 70s. My husband has a chronic autoimmune disease, Cardiomyopathy and Asthma. After him spending a great deal of time in Hospital ( including a month in ICU ) over eighteen months ending last October, we are keen to not catch this virus. We have been in isolation for the past fortnight so far My husband bought a small 3D machine ( small enough to fit on a basic desk ) Ordered on line and delivered. He can order on line everything he needs to make things with it. I am in the process of building a range of easy patterns ( purchased on line ) I look for the information, PDF files instant down load ) We have a printer so I simply print off the instructions. Again, materials I might need I can order on line. I personally want to do this with the idea of donating things I make to the childrens ward of a hospital where my husband has on going infusions.The hospital where, he was rehabilitated with such care after coming out of ICU. If you dont have a sewing machine there are plenty of hand sewn options available on line. These come with detailed instructions for a non sewer to follow. There are so many other hobby ideas to try. Most offer on line ordering and home delivery left at your front door being an option.
by Terri (score: 0|2) 780 days ago
I do not want Sydneys response, only Roys if he had the time, re what he said that:- your friends do not give out good information! Clearly in my case, my friend did give the best info of all in paragraphs from Dr E Feliciano NYS.
by kimgu (score: 0|2) 780 days ago
Hi! Great suggestions! I'd like to add that studying online is an excellent way to use time at home, learn something you've wanted to learn, and get your head into a health space. There are even free online study options if you just want a short course.
Thanks for the article! Take care everyone.
by Bowen Bowie-Woodham (score: 2|112) 781 days ago
Selling things is a good idea, but how do you suggest posting them if you're trying to avoid contact? Suggestions please, my business is suffering badly.
by em_fp (score: 0|5) 781 days ago
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