Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A Housebound Eco Guide: Part One

PART ONE ~ PART TWO ~ PART THREE ~ PART FOUR

Hello my lovely loves!

Recently I’ve been worrying a lot about the planet. There’s a lot online and in the news about climate change and the proactive stance we all need to take in order to help the situation, and it can be incredibly stressful.
This is only compounded by the fact disabilities limit the things people can change because of their own health needs. Many energy saving tools or options are deemed wasteful or lazy by society at large, and that can be incredibly disheartening when you’re just trying to live your life without making your health worse.

There is a level of ableism that unfortunately seems to go hand in hand with environmental issues. We all know of the straw ban, where many abled (and some disabled) people seemed certain that disabled people didn’t REALLY need disposable plastic straws.

In case anyone is still unsure as to why that’s cobblers, here’s a helpful diagram.



So I’ve decided to create a list of things that many disabled people CAN potentially do to help even from your own house or bed, without damaging themselves. And some of them even save energy for the user! Win win.
This seems doubly useful given that currently everyone is stuck inside, so... hooray!

It’s a pretty massive post, so I’ve divided it up into several sections to make it easier to process, and will be releasing the posts throughout the month of April in celebration of Earth Day! There will also be a giveaway going on on social media, so keep an eye out for that!

Before we start I wasn’t to say: don’t feel pressured if you’re not able to do all of these things. 
I don’t do them all, either because I haven’t got round to it yet (many require an initial outlay) or because I’m simply not able to in deference to my condition. This isn’t about what you can’t do, it’s about doing what you can.

There’s some debate about whether individual lifestyle changes are as impactful as larger structural changes, and I agree that larger structural changes need to be made in order to see the most successful benefits, but… why not both? There’s no reason we can’t look for small things for ourselves AND look at larger things. And for a lot of sick and disabled people, smaller things feel a little more manageable, when your energy or health is so depleted.
I’ll discuss other larger things later, but, for now, here’s a list of things you can try to change at home.

Let’s start in the kitchen! 


Eco-eating


Reusable Containers at Supermarkets

Some shops and supermarkets allow you to use reusable containers to cut down on plastic waste. Sainsbury’s, for example, will let you (or whoever does your shopping for you) take reusable containers to their deli counters instead of using their plastic wrappings.


Home food deliveries

Unless you’re able to walk for your groceries, ordering online is actually the most economical way to get them, because you’re sharing petrol with so many other people. It’s a bit like public transport for your shopping. And, there’s the added benefit of saving you some energy! 
Some places, like Ocado, will even take the bags through to the kitchen for you and save you lifting things that might otherwise be too heavy for you.
Supermarket websites often allow you to access a list of your last ordered foods, or create favourite lists, so that can save you some precious spoons when filling out your order online too.

Morrisons has also recently issued a ban on plastics on fruit and veg in their stores, so this will likely eventually extend to home deliveries, if it doesn’t already.


Food waste apps

This one’s not as useful for the house or bed bound among us, unless there’s a handy extra Hyman around to go on a food run, but there are a number of apps now available that offer you the chance to buy food that might otherwise go to waste in your area. (Unfortunately the urban people have us rural people beat on this one - there’s a far wider selection.)

Too Good To Go offer “Magic Bag” which contain random unsold items from various supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants that would otherwise be chucked. These bags are heavily discounted, so they can be a good shout. If the items are from restaurants or bakeries they’re also less likely to need prep, so that’s a great energy saver. There was even one relatively local to me for this one! 

Karma works on a similar basis but specifically for restaurants and bakeries, with the added bonus of you being able to pick exactly what you want to buy. Nothing in my area, but if you’re in a city then this is a great shout if you’re not up to cooking.

Olio is more of a sharing app. It allows you to create an account to upload things you aren’t using - food, clothes, toiletries - and makes them visible to other Olio users. They can then come and pick up the items, or (I think) you can drop them at another location. You can see if there’s anything that others have that you could make use of.
Apparently it can include businesses as well, but what’s visible is quite limited in my area.

I’ve got to say I like the idea of this app as it’s a really great community concept.


Order fruit and veg in season

You’ll have a little less control over this if you’re ordering online, but by trying to order fruit and vegetables that are in season you’re more likely to get home-grown veg, which creates a lot less carbon emissions than imported items.

(You can also sign up to locally grown fruit and veg boxes and support local farmers at the same time as being eco-conscious. They come in a range of prices, but it may be a little more difficult to plan easy meals ahead of time, as many are something of a lucky dip. Something to bear in mind, though!)

Here’s a list from the vegetarian society on what’s in season, when. 

Technically speaking, fruit and vegetables in season should also be less expensive, so it might save you some money too.


Keep plants

Help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by growing plants. You could even grow herbs or vegetables to save on food costs.
You might want to set timers to help you remember when to water them though - brain fog is not helpful.

You can even download an app like Koubachi (on iOS and Android) to help remind you which plants need watering, and when.

For watering, having a water butt fitted in the garden to save rainwater can save money, and used water that’s not had to be treated.

If carrying a watering can is difficult then hoses with an on/off trigger allows you to walk more freely without the weight of a container.


Go non-dairy or eat less meat IF POSSIBLE 

Being vegan (or at least eating considerably less meat or dairy) is one of The Big Ones that’s suggested when people talk about helping the planet. Meat and dairy farming have a large impact on global climate, so it’s a good one to try and change.

However, I (and others) rely on high levels of protein in order to function, and the traditional vegetarian protein options (like pulses) do not agree with me AT ALL. 
Making myself more ill isn’t going to help anyone, and will likely just end up costing lots to me (and society) in the form of more medications, treatments, and support.
If you feel able to lessen or stop eating meat, then great, if not, then do what is right for your body. It’s extremely easy to say someone should just deal with the fallout when they’re not the one’s feeling it.

You may not physically have to energy to cook and might have to rely on whatever ready meals you can afford, so it’s hardly reasonable to expect people struggling in such a way to put the two things they don’t have (energy and money) into making sure what can eat is vegan and risk worsening both their physical and financial condition whilst doing so.

You also might not be the one doing the cooking, so your control of that aspect of your life might be limited. I know that I’m not currently capable of cooking for myself, so everything I eat is ordered and prepared by my parents. While they’ve taken care to adapt my diet as far as possible, decisions about meal plans are not up to me.
We are however trying to look into options that allow us to eat a little less meat whilst not giving me energy crashes or an horrifically upset stomach. We regularly eat a cauliflower curry dish with nuts instead of meat, and recently mum found a couple of veggie sausages that were very good (although a little out of our usual pice range).

Even though I do still eat meat and eggs, I don’t eat dairy, so that’s something. We still have ghee in the house for when Mum thinks it will work better for something, but I’m trying to phase it out completely and convince her that coconut oil is a better alternative. (She’s worried about cholesterol levels as heart problems run in the family, but to be honest, one saturated fat is much like another, and, in this case, one tastes like coconut and the other one vaguely like feet.)

Going non-dairy was suggested to me by the Optimum Health Clinic, so it’s up to you whether it’s something you want to try in order to help your ME.
If you’re looking to go non-dairy I have suggestions on items to try in my post on my diet; Cheese vs Freedom


I’ve found even better cheese from violife now - the feta one is AMAZING. Also Booja Booja and Perfect World "ice creams" are to die for.



Recycle pet food waste 

Terracycle, in one of their many recycling schemes, offers the option to recycle pet food pouches by dropping them off to one of their locations. You can also register interest if there isn't one nearby.
I know it won't be perfect for people who are housebound, but I thought it worth mentioning!


Microwaves

Microwaves use less energy than traditional ovens so all those aforementioned ready meals are actually pretty good in terms of electricity usage.
I suppose you could use them to boil water too, but because a kettle automatically switches itself off after reaching a certain temperature it’s a little more eco-friendly. And also we all know that boiling water for tea in the microwave is WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS.


Use a slow cooker 

My mum bought me a slow cooker when I moved out and constantly asked me whether I used it. The answer was usually no, but it’s actually a pretty great way to save both energy and electricity.

Slow cookers are relatively cheap, you can put ingredients in it in the morning, or the night before, and then leave it to cook until dinner time. Less mess, less electricity and a chance to choose your best time of day to do the main part of the work. 

I’m sorry I doubted you, Mum.



Try an Eco-Kettle

If you’re a big tea drinker then you might want to give an eco-friendly vacuum kettle a go. 
Similar to a thermos flask, the kettle uses the vacuum to keep the water hot for up to four or so hours, so you don’t have to keep turning it on and using electricity.

This could be a great energy saver as well, as you can minimise the need to walk back and forth turning the kettle on and then having to sit down until it’s boiled. Not to mention when you inevitably forget to drink your drink the kettle is still hot to make another, so handy for brain fog.

Here’s one by Vektra.


Avoid food waste

This section feels fairly obvious, but you can make a big difference by avoiding food waste, and save yourself some money too.
Make the most of everything you do buy by storing and eating leftovers, and composting what you don’t eat. Also make the most of the freezer space and freeze down what you can to save food, money AND energy on meal prep.

As well as the traditional Tupperware boxes, you can buy:

Reusable silicone sandwich bags for storage (although you can wash out and reuse standard sandwich bags too)



Even Good Housekeeping likes these.

Beeswax wrap instead of cling film - you can also make this yourself

Silicon lids
These come in both round and square/rectangular versions. You can also get completely flat versions where you just use the tension to hold them shut over the bowl or cup, but honestly I don’t like these as much. I’ve tried both and the ones that are already shaped are just much easier to pull over stuff, especially if you’re not particularly strong.




My stepdad prefers the flat ones but I’m reasonably sure it's because he has a bizarre block on estimating sizes by looking and can’t tell which size lid will fit which item. Someone should have spent more time with one of these as a kid.



Reusable Baking Sheet

Instead of getting through tin foil or greaseproof paper by the metre, you can also get reusable baking sheets. Here's one from Boobalou and here's one from Amazon.


Reusable Straws

I’m sure many of us are all too aware of reusable straw options, but they can have their uses. I use one every day to drink my Vitashake in an attempt to convince myself I’m drinking something delicious.



Just make sure you’re aware of you’re own personal needs before purchasing, because you don’t want to injure yourself on a straw. Also, don’t walk around with a hard straw in your mouth: if it can’t collapse but you do, then it can seriously injure or kill you.
On that note… HERE ARE SOME STRAWS LOL


Reusable plastic - I have some of these by Kilner because they’re wide enough for the horror that is my daily Vitashake.










Metal, both curved... 



...and straight. These ones are shaped like Unicorn Horns! OMG







Watch for misleading symbols

We’re all used to looking for symbols to help us work out what’s recyclable, but they can be misleading and arrows don’t mean recyclable. You can check the packaging or website of the product, but here’s a couple of guides from Global Action Plan and Glamour Magazine on what to look out for.


Reusable water bottles and coffee cups

There are MASSES of these on the market of all materials, shapes and designs, so you’re bound to find one that works for you.
I managed to find mine on eBay in the end: I wanted a glass bottle with lines up the side to mark the hours to help me keep track of my fluid intake and encourage me to drink more water. Because I am terrible at keeping hydrated.





Eco-friendly cleaning


Cleaning products and tablets

As time goes on there are more and more eco-friendly cleaning products coming onto the market. Laundry, general household cleaning and dishwashing all have their own swathe of products and brands to choose from.
A plus side of a lot of these brands is that because of the carefully chosen ingredients, many are suitable for those with skin or chemical sensitivities, so they're a good place to look if that’s one of your issues.  

A lot of places will also allow you to order smaller amounts or samples that can let you try the products to make sure it won’t affect your skin or heightened senses.

Ecover is a brand that’s available in most supermarkets now, but there are also things like Splosh, Iron & Velvet, EcoZone, Bio-D, Eco Egg and Koh.

Mum currently uses this Forever Aloe MPD all purpose stuff that you can water down in different ratios depending on the use.




It’s expensive outright (like so many eco-products, unfortunately) but because it’s concentrated it lasts a lot longer and works out cheaper in the long run. It also end up using less packaging as there’s only one product, and it lasts so long.
It’s not the only concentrated formula out there, so if that sounds like something you’d be interested in have a look around and see what you can find!

I’m quite keen to try out the Koh cleaner too because that looks really versatile as well. (I say that as if I’m able to do any cleaning myself. Sorry, parents!)

Iron & Velvet provide a similar service, sending sachets to be placed in your own bottles, but with different formulas for different tasks.

Some options use cardboard packaging instead of plastic, or offer refills for containers rather than new containers each time (Splosh is one of these). 

You can even buy a Laundry Egg, a recyclable egg-shaped container that holds an alternative to washing powders or liquid in pellet form that last up to a certain number of washes. This one does up to 720.
I have no idea if or how this works but some people love them. I can only assume they’re filled with tiny laundry sprites who agree to a set workload of cleaning magic and must then be released back into the wild to be showered with honey and flower petals.

There’s even natural bleach, which used for laundry and household cleaning. You can even use it in mugs and coffee-pots.

If you want to get an overview of the products on offer, then the best thing is to check out an online eco-supermarket. I’ll be talking more about recommendations for those later.


Dishwashers

Using a dishwasher saves a lot of water when compared to hand washing, not to mention energy. The electric used to power it and heat the water can be a little more iffy, but if you run the dishwasher on an eco-cycle and only use it when it’s full, it’s a much more green option all round.

Eco-friendly dishwasher tablets and rinse-aid are among the products available online.


Coconut and loofah scourers

If you don’t have access to a dishwasher then green scrubbing tools might be a good move.
As well as having to be thrown away as a whole, plastic scourers release micro-plastics into the ecosystem every time they’re used.
Eco-friendly scourers made from coconut fibres or loofah plants let you scrub away without any of that happening. They’re available on lots of eco-friendly supermarket sites, as well as places like Amazon.


You can also buy either recycled or wooden washing up brushes.



Reusable rags rather than wipes

Dishcloths and rags are a great way to clean without using disposable wipes, and they save you money in the long run by being shoved in the washing machine rather than having to be replaced constantly. 
There is, however, some debate over which are the most eco-friendly. Microfibre wipes aren’t biodegradable but they’re still better than disposable wipes. Cotton are biodegradable but the environmental impact of cotton production is quite high so that can’t be a bit tricky as well.
The most eco-friendly option is actually hacking up your old socks and t shirts and using those, but whichever you choose it’ll still be cheaper and better for the environment than wipes.


Kitchen Towel replacements

There are also eco-friendly reusable options instead of using paper towels. Bamboo towels are absorbent and are able to be washed and reused up to 85 times each. Cool!

I’ve ordered these and they’re really nice. I was worried they’d basically be the same thing as a dish cloth, but they’re much more like a thin sheet of sponge, and yes, very absorbent.



Shop Suggestions


Etsy has started offsetting 100% carbon footprints at no extra cost to the buyer. Many sellers are starting to offer eco-friendly packaging, and many of the fabric options mentioned in this post are available to buy on Etsy, as well as eco-friendly bathroom products like soaps and shampoo.
Not only are you helping support small businesses, but you’re helping the planet too.

(If you’re an Etsy seller, you can also make the switch to more eco-friendly packaging. I’m currently using up my previous stock of cello bags for my cards and prints and then I’ll be switching to these.)



Big Green Smile are an online supermarket specialising in eco-friendly products, including cleaning products, make up, skincare, personal hygiene for men and women (including period products), sexual health products, vitamins and supplements, gifts, and items for baby care like baby food, nappies, and wipes.
They also offer free samples of certain products, which is useful if you want to try new products but are unsure as to how they may effect your skin sensitivities.

You can also choose to offset the carbon emissions used for delivery as an optional additional amount which you choose.

Orders in the UK (mainland only) under £55 start at £5, and are free over £55.



Like BGS, Ethical Superstore is an online eco-supermarket, but the range of products are greater, including all the sections BGS does but with the addition of pet supplies, fashion, garden supplies, household appliances and decoration, and food.

In my opinion the food is the most important part, because they offer a selection of treats I can have on my weird ME diet (LINK). They do not sell perishable items like fruit, vegetables or meat.

Orders in the UK (mainland) under £50 cost £3.95 postage, but are free over £50. You can also choose to add an extra £1 to your order in order to offset your carbon emissions.

They're also extremely lovely and have offered my readers a whopping £40 to win in vouchers to use on their website. Keep an eye on my social media accounts to find out how!




Planet Organic is an online eco-supermarket that offers produce somewhere between Big Green Smile and Ethical Superstore. It includes all the things Big Green Smile offers, but does not include gardening equipment or fashion items.

Planet Organic also has a section called London Fresh, which basically allows you to use the site to place your entire grocery order, including perishables like fruit and vegetables. However, as the name might suggest, this service is only available to the London area, which can be frustrating. There’s been a number of times I’ve got excited about an item on the website only to discover it can't be delivered to the wilds of Norfolk. Boo hiss.

If you live in London you can choose to collect your order for free, UK mainland orders are otherwise priced at £3.95 under £50, and free over £50.
Carbon emissions are offset by the company with a donation to the Woodland Trust with every delivery.



Yumbles is a UK online food market that works a little like Etsy. Instead of Yumbles having items that they send to you, it’s a platform for all sorts of different sellers, who specialise in foods for those with limited or special diets. 

If you’re avoiding dairy or meat and struggle to find something tasty then they are a GODSEND. It’s not cheap, but as I’m sure we all know, special diet foods never are.



Lush is obviously an extremely well known eco and animal-friendly brand, but I wanted to offer it up as a suggestion because I feel like it deserves a mention. They offer a lot in terms of eco-friendly packaging and do various shampoo and shaving bars.

I’ve never been a massive fan of lush shops because they smell so incredibly strongly that I used to find my eyes watering. And that was before I got ME. But the bonus of ordering online is that you don’t actually have to endure any of that, and the products themselves are good, if pricey.

Delivery starts at £3.95, and Lush have a carbon offset program worked into their business model.



I know that the use of Amazon is a controversial topic for many people, but sometimes disabled people just don't have the option to shop elsewhere for certain items. 
If it's necessary to shop there then you can choose to shop via their smile page which allows part of the money spent to go to charity. You can choose either a charity on your condition (ME Research UK and the ME Association are on there) or a more earth-orientated charity.


Join me next Wednesday when we'll head to the bathroom, for eco-makeup, dental health and haircare!


H

PART ONE ~ PART TWO ~ PART THREE ~ PART FOUR

Friday, 13 March 2020

Dealing with Quarantine (from an actual expert)

Hello!

Today’s post is for people who are having their first taste of isolation or quarantine and are feeling a bit overwhelmed.

There’s a lot of these going around, and although they can be useful (I have no idea about specific Corona-based medical practise or finance) they seem to be written by people who are generally out and about in the world.

No offence, but what you really need is a Professional. You need… A HOUSEBOUND PERSON!
And that’s where I come in.

For those of you that are new here, I have a condition where, amongst other things, my body doesn’t create energy like it should. My mitochondria are all messed up, so, as you can imagine, that has an impact on… everything. 
I am too exhausted to leave the house, or sometimes my bed. So I’ve been cared for by my lovely family for seven and a half years, and have been housebound for the last five and a half.

By now, I’m an old hand at this, so I’ll be able to help you out with some of the lesser known issues that people without that half a decade of experience just can’t tell you.

Some of this may seem strange or contradictory in places, but I don’t make the rules. This is how it is.



Choice makes a difference 

You’re probably learning (or about to learn) that the one thing that makes a difference as to whether doing something or not is fun is Choice.

The number of times I’ve had someone say to me “it must be so nice to be at home all the time” is ridiculous. 
The person saying it is thinking of the fun type of staying at home, where you decide to have a duvet day and watch movies and eat toast in your pants. 

But now people are being faced with the less fun kind. The kind where you can’t leave.

Staying at home because you want to… fun. Staying at home because of Doom Plague Potential… not fun. (Also, bagsy “Doom Plague Potential” as a band name.)

It’s tough being uncertain when you’re going to see people, do things or get on with your life, but…

If you think about it, you are making a choice. You’re making the choice to put your health first. That’s sensible. 
And if you’re careful with others who are more at risk then you’re making the choice to be kind. That’s even better.



You're allowed to be grumpy or frightened

You can be grumpy about having to stay in. You can be frightened. Those are valid emotions. Have a scream into a pillow, or shake your fists at the sky. Cry, if you need to. Let those emotions out, and then take a deep breath. Because...



You can do it

I’m not even meaning this in an inspirational quote sense, you can actually do this. It may be tricky, but if I can last half a decade in my house, you can last a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months.

If you’re actually sick then make sure you have people who can check up on you via the internet or phone if not in person. Seek medical attention where necessary. Help each other.
Otherwise…



The Internet exists - embrace it

All that “put down your phone and live in the REAL WORLD” stuff is about to become a load of cobblers.
You will feel lonely, the Internet is a great tool to prevent that, so embrace it.

Group chats, social media, and video chats make a MASSIVE difference in the lives of people stuck at home, so utilise that.
Even when you’re watching tv, have a group chat of mates watching the same thing and talk about it as if you’re all there together. Because you are... kind of.

You can also contact plenty of mental healthcare professionals over the internet (or phone) if you feel that’s something you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out. There are people available. We're all in this together.



The Internet isn’t real

At the same time as the internet being an amazing tool and opportunity for social interaction, it’s important to remember that it’s not a complete experience of the world.

It seems obvious when you’re able to leave the house, but it will quickly become clear that things start to feel a bit more skewed without the regular interaction of polite (or not so polite) strangers in everyday life.

Things will seem more polarised and polarising, and specific, potentially small things may seem extremely important. That’s normal, just... bear it in mind and take a deep breath before reacting to things.



TV, Radio, Things to do!

If you, unlike me, are at home as a precautionary measure instead of long term health condition you can probably do things. Hooray!
Right now that is less than you're used to, and BELIEVE ME I know that feel, bro, but you can still do things and that’s wonderful.

Imagining a lengthy period where you’re stuck at home sounds awful, but imagine it without TV, books or the internet. Or crafts. Or DIY. Or the ability to clean your clothes or yourself.

I’m trying really hard not to play the “be grateful” card here, because people have said it to me despite me struggling (or being completely unable) to do any of those things and it made me want to bite them. But also... you can likely do those things. So maybe this is the point where all those trite inspiration memes come in handy and you can embrace the things you can do.

Unless you are sick, in which case, for the love of all that is holy, do not do the things.
Stay in bed. Drink fluids. Have people check in on you as safely as possible. Resist the urge to get up and make your body fight harder than it is, because that will not help you.

Trust me, despite all those “you can do anything if you BELIEVE” quotes, it’s not strong or clever to push your body when it’s struggling. You will just use up energy your body could be using to heal you. Take it from the sick person.
Stay in bed till you feel better, and then a bit longer, just to make sure.

And resist the urge to go out in public and rub your germy self onto various surfaces.



You will come to love your Postie/Courier.

Oh, those kind humans who strive through wind and gale to bring us parcels and food, and most importantly, contact with the outside world. 
A face! A new face! Possibly some small talk. You never knew that was a thing you could miss before this moment.

Will you potentially feel the need to disinfect everything you get in the post? Possibly. Will you be ever so glad to see someone who doesn’t live in your house or flat? Most definitely.

They must be protected for they are the keepers of the parcels.



Time will lose all meaning.

The only thing I can reliably liken it to is that weird week between Christmas and New Year where you don’t know what day, time or year it is. Or why you’re covered in biscuit crumbs.

If you don’t celebrate these events and have have no prior experience in this weird time warp... I’m sorry. Things are about to get real.

I genuinely forget my own age at this point.



Keep to a regular schedule.

You’re going to re-enter the world at some point but that’s going to be difficult if your schedule is all messed up.
Keeping to a normal(ish) schedule will also mean you’re more likely to sleep better, which will be handy if you do actually get sick.

If you’re going to be working from home then you’re probably going to have to use alarms to get you to do anything because otherwise you will look up and it’s three in the afternoon, you’ve done nothing and you’re still in your jim-jams.
(To be fair, if you want to work in your jim-jams that’s a totally valid choice.)

Try to stick to specific working hours if you can. It’s much easier to switch off your mind from work worries when you’ve got commute time in the middle, so having set hours or a signal to yourself (like changing clothes) that the work day is over will help you wind down a bit easier. I remember that much from my healthy freelance days.




Vitamin D

If you're going to be inside a lot more than usual then it might be wise to make sure you're eating healthily and specifically that you're getting enough vitamin D. 
We normally getting enough of this through sunlight, but if you're not out in it as much, or if your mood is easily affected by weather or seasons, then it might be a good shout to have a supplement.

You don't need a massive amount, even I only take one a week and I'm pretty deficient, but it's best absorbed with vitamin C so taking those is good too, or an all round supplement that includes it.

If you've got a garden to sit in or a room that gets a lot of light, then that should help both your vitamin D levels and your mood.



Exercise?

I imagine that if you’re housebound without being sick you’re probably going to have a ton of pent up energy.

I’ll admit I’m completely guessing here, because energy is quite literally what my body is rubbish at producing so exercising makes me worse, which is why I’m stuck in my house unable to do anything in the first place.
Looking back at those heady years before I got sick, however, I would get pretty restless being stuck inside during that weird post-Christmas week, so it’s probably good to try and exercise some of that off.

Stretches, yoga, kick a football about in the garden. Whatever floats your boat.

You’ll probably sleep better and it’s good for releasing endorphins too.

Again, if you’re sick, don’t do this. Just don’t. Coronavirus targets your respiratory system so nobody wants you to be doing star jumps like a muppet. Go lie down.



Touch withdrawal 

If you live on your own, or even if people inside your house are avoiding contact to prevent potential contamination you may experience mild touch withdrawal. I don’t know if that’s an official term, but that’s what I’m calling it.

You can counter this with:

Blankets, duvets, or weighted blankets

There’s a reason people are given shock blankets after trauma, and that’s to simulate a hug and release the associated endorphins. Having a blanket, duvet or weighted blanket around you will do that same thing.

Pets

Having access to a furry (or scaly or feathered) friend will help with loneliness and touch withdrawal. A lot of them will be loving the chance to spend more time with you.

ASMR 

I’ve had people tell me that ASMR videos help them with loneliness and touch withdrawal. 
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and is basically a tingly feeling of calm and being cared for that a person can experience when watching or listening to certain triggers.

YouTube is full of people tapping on bottles and turning books pages, and it can be really useful.
I was a bit dubious to begin with, but honestly the ones where the person pretends to cut your hair make me into a giant pile of goop.



Not the same as long term isolation

This is going to pass. You will be able to leave the house again, and it will be relatively soon.
When it does, please be respectful of those who are still here.

Yes, a two week quarantine might give you a tiny glimpse into what it’s like to be housebound, but it won’t make you an expert in long term isolation due to illness or disability. That’s a whole other ball game.

Please do not equate the two, because it honestly feels a randomer in a bar who has spent two minutes thinking on a topic telling you about something you have a doctorate in.

Coronavirus is scary, and quarantine or self-isolation is not something you’re used to but it is temporary.



Finally 

If disabled or sick people are getting salty on the internet it’s because they have reason to be. 

A lot of us have been stuck like this for years or even decades, and many of the options that would make things much more accessible for us have only magically become possible now there’s a threat to the general, abled population.

It doesn’t help that lots of people are trotting out the old “it’s only the old and sick who are in danger”. Thanks for that, mate. So glad that it’s only us sickies (and oldies) who might die and not the important, useful people that are in danger.

Many of us do not have that light at the end of the tunnel when we can leave the house and just get on with our lives. I have no idea when or if I will be able to rejoin society fully, or even partly. And I just have to get on with it.

So take this opportunity to be a little more mindful of those people.

I do hope this helps people who are nervous about being isolated. Keep calm. It will be alright.


If you want to find out more about being housebound long term then you can check out this post I did called “What No-one tells you about being Housebound”.


If you’d like to donate a pound or two to the ME Association to help them work on a cure so I can leave the house as well then head here.




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