13 ways to own working at home, including Birmingham’s Social Distancing Festival

Home delivery with Shipt
Home delivery services may be able to help you get things from the store when you’re at home. Photo via Shipt’s Facebook page

Looking at the prospect of working or staying at home in Birmingham over the next few weeks to help slow the spread of coronavirus? No matter whether you’re a prepper or a panicker, we put together this work-at-home survival guide to help you take care of yourself and the ones you love. Keep reading for all the details. 

1. Follow the CDC’s guidelines and stock up on basics—local pharmacies can help

Why shop at a chain when you could support local small businesses? Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

No, this doesn’t mean hoarding toilet paper. And—according to the US Department of Homeland Security—it can mean making sure you’ve got some basics on hand, such as “pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.”

Shop at one of these 11 locally-owned pharmacies, and while you’re at it, see if they offer delivery services just in case.

2. Local food delivery services can help out in a pinch

Birmingham, Uber Eats, food delivery services, food delivery services Birmingham
Technically, the people in this photo should be standing a little farther apart from each other. Photo via Uber Eats’s Facebook page.

If you’re needing to work at home, possibly with kids out of school, and if you’re wanting to do your part to “flatten the curve,” food delivery services could be a good option for taking care of hungry bellies. 

Choose your items online, make your order and remember to tip generously. 

Get your groceries delivered

new Shipt logo
Birmingham knew Shipt when… Fancy new logo via Shipt

Google “how to stock a pantry” and pick the list that best fits your lifestyle and values. Then hop online to place your order.

  • CostcoGrocery
  • Instacart will deliver from Publix, Aldi, Sprouts, CVS, Sam’s Club, Fresh Market, Publix Greenwise Market + Restaurant Depot
  • The Pig (via Shipt)
  • Shipt (they’ll deliver household items, too—sorry, no alcohol deliveries in Alabama, though)
  • GoPuff Snack Delivery

Fresh veggie delivery services

Till delivery
Doesn’t that fresh produce look so good? Photo via Till’s Facebook page
  • Till will hook you up with produce, meats and baked goods from Alabama’s farms.
  • Some local CSA shares offer delivery.

Get some of Birmingham’s tastiest food delivered to your door

WAITR delivery
Waitr can deliver the yummy local food. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Birmingham has an abundance of meal delivery services you can call on to get the best of local food delivered to your door.

Here’s a fun tutorial on how to use the WAITR app—even though we wrote it for Friendsgiving, it still applies. 

While you’re at it, how ’bout ordering from some of these places we love?

To find out which restaurants deliver in your area, check delivery.com

Takeout’s an option, too

Show you care with gift certificates to local restaurants, or stop by for takeout. 

3. Take care of the kiddos

If you’re working at home and the kids are out of school, depending on their ages, I ain’t gonna lie, it can be hard. And, based on my experience of many summers of working at home while my kids are out of school I can tell you that rhythm, riveting books and a good podcast or two are your friends. 

View this post on Instagram

We’re offering free delivery! Read our coronavirus action plan below… —— Friends of Little Professor, In light of such uncertainty and concerns surrounding COVID-19 we wanted to update you on our plan of action. The health and safety of our loyal patrons and team are our top priority. For now, the store is remaining open, but will roll out new options to keep your family reading during this pause in social activity. Introducing ✔️ Free local delivery within Homewood (no minimum required) ✔️ Curbside pickup How It Works 1️⃣ Call or text the store You can inquire about specific titles or ask our staff for recommendations by age or subject. We would love to suggest something new for you, or help curate selections for kids & adults alike. 🅿️ Phone: ‪205-870-7461‬ 💬 Text: ‪205-526-3332‬ 2️⃣ We’ll notify you when your items are ready, and take payment via phone ✔️Membership discounts still apply. 🙌🏼 ✔️Delivery will take place during regular business hours, ‪9am – 7pm‬. 🚗 ✔️For curbside pick up, simply park in one of our two parking spots behind the store (left off Reese St down alley), call/text us, and we’ll bring your items out. 📦 If you’re healthy & venturing out, we are pleased to welcome you in-store and want to assure you that we are taking preventative measures to heighten cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. We are also emphasizing proper hygiene and handwashing procedures to maintain a healthy store environment. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidelines recommended by the Alabama Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. We are so grateful for your support and are privileged to serve you! — Jonathan & Meredith Robinson Owners, Little Professor

A post shared by Little Professor (@littleprofhomewood) on

  • The Little Professor is offering free deliveries within Homewood city limits.
  • Amazon has pretty much everything, but you knew that already. If you’ve got little littles, don’t forget to stock up on the diapers, wipes, medicines and other needed supplies.
  • Storynory.com has actors reading really good stories, if you’ve got younger kids. 
  • You can find kids’ podcasts for all ages and interests with a little research. Why not learn a little something new if you’re stuck at home for a while?
  • Older kids, teens and adults might enjoy playing Pandemic. Yep, that’s a thing. 

4. Love your neighbors, your elders + small businesses

Good deeds
Your older or chronically ill neighbor would really appreciate regular check-ins and the occasional grocery or supply run. Via-www.nextdoor.com.

Alright, now that you’ve got your own self and family (hopefully) accounted for, it’s time to think about the broader community. Sure you might not be super-worried about coronavirus, but think of the grandparents or your friend with a chronic illness.

During times like this, it’s good to put “love your neighbor” into practice in some really concrete ways. Here are some ideas: 

  • Make sure you and your neighbors have each other’s phone numbers.
  • Call the older folks, people with chronic illness and folks who live alone in your life on the daily to check in—how are they feeling? Do they need anything? Also, make it fun because social isolation, while good for disease prevention, can be devastating for mental health. 
  • If you live alone, make sure you’ve identified your people. Who will call and check on you? Who will help take care of you if you get sick? Having these conversations now can help deepen existing relationships and provide you—and your people—with a greater sense of connection and safety. 

It may take some effort, but extending ourselves to others in a time like this can help increase social support even when social isolation increases.

Include small businesses in your circle of support, too. 

5. Remember your pets

Australian Shepard
“But Mom, how could you forget the dog food?”

Be sure to stock up on food, medicines and treats for your furry, scaly or feathered friends. If you forget something, Shipt should be able to hook you up. 

6. Come up with a plan to take care of your mind, body + spirit

Be proactive and come up with a plan to care for your mental, physical and spiritual health. 

Mental health can take a hit during times of high anxiety

Birmingham, Alabama, Crisis Center
The Crisis Center is there to help 24/7. Photo via The Crisis Center

You don’t need a clinical diagnosis of anxiety to be feeling heightened fear at the moment. It’s real, and there are things you can do about it. 

Here’s a nice piece from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. And another nice one from Minnesota Public Radio for anyone who struggles with anxiety or OCD. 

Check this out for local mental health resources. Your workplace may offer an Employee Assistance Program with counselors you can speak to by phone. Regular therapists may be willing to schedule appointments by phone. 

And, if things get really bad, call The Crisis Center. They will help. Scroll down to the bottom of this article for all the numbers. 

The United Way’s 2-1-1 line is open 24/7 and keeping up to date with coronavirus info.

Take care of your body

Exercise classes at RR Park
Excuse me, ma’am, would you mind scooching over just a few more feet so we can practice safe social distancing? Photo via Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Obviously, if you get sick, you’ll need a whole different plan. But if you’re staying home to help flatten the curve, make sure your mood doesn’t flatline. 

The main thing to do is exercise. Soon we’ll publish a guide to Birmingham-based folks who lead online exercise and wellness classes. But for now, hit up YouTube or your favorite subscription service for a class, or lace up your shoes and get out for a walk. The fresh air and sunshine will do you good. 

Nourish your spirit

Online religious services or meditation classes can help you feel connected even when you’re at home. 

If you are still attending religious services, encourage your clergy and lay leaders to take a look at this policy from Avondale’s Beloved Community Church as they work on coming up with their own: 

Also, make things! Art, cookies, a garden. All these things are good for the soul. 

7. Connect with others + join the Birmingham Social Distancing Festival 

Birmingham Social Distancing Festival
Thank goodness for Max Rykov, bringing smiles and laughter to Birmingham. Photo via Birmingham Social Distancing Festival Facebook event page

Social isolation doesn’t mean disconnecting yourself from the human race. We are fortunate to have all kinds of tools at our disposal that can help us forge deeper and more meaningful connections. This is a good time to reach out and connect, whether via phone, Facetime or Skype, Zoom meetings or something else. 

The Birmingham Social Distancing Festival, presented by the ever-hilarious Max Rykov + Associates, is a great way to bring some levity to the situation. In Max’s own words: 

Join your fellow Birminghamians for a celebration of everyone’s favorite new hobby, Social Distancing!

With convenient locations such as Your Own Home and At Least Ten Feet Away from Anyone Else, there is no excuse not to attend the Birmingham Social Distancing Festival.

Activities include:

~ Reading a Book of Your Choice
~ Fervently Cleaning Your Own Home
~ Waving to Friends from a Safe Distance
~ Cancelling European Vacations
~ Writing Letters to Tom Hanks

Sounds like an introvert homebody’s dream, doesn’t it? Excuse me while I curl up with a book and a cup of tea while wrapped in my blanket shawl. I have some letters to catch up on.

8. Make sure you have all the logistics set for working at home

Not every job is a work-at-home job, and not every person has the setup. So, here are some #protips to make sure you have what you need: 

  • High-speed internet. A non-negotiable for the 2020 work-at-home crowd. AT+T, Spectrum, C-Spire and other providers can hook you up, depending on where you live. 
  • Services that help you meet with people. There are lots of them, including Zoom, freeconferencecall.com and others like FaceTime or Skype. 
  • Services that help you stay focused. My personal favorite is called Focusmate
  • A headset. If you don’t already have one, believe me, after a few days at home with other people, you’ll want one.

9. Local companies can help with car service or gas if you have to stay home

Birmingham, Yoshi, gas delivery
Top-quality gas fill-ups with Yoshi in Birmingham. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

S(w)ervice can take care of your car service needs, and Yoshi can fill your tank with gas as long as you’re in a parking lot where they can deliver to others nearby . How’s that for convenience?

10. Have fun at home + decorate while you’re at it

LaZBoy
Well, honey, we’re getting a new living room tomorrow, thanks to LaZBoy’s AR app. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

11. Get out in nature

Birmingham, Alabama, Red Mountain Park
This treetop bridge at Red Mountain Park is an Instagram favorite. Photo by Christine Hull for Bham Now

Keep your spirits up, let the kids run around and get some exercise without getting too close to people. 

We have an abundance of natural resources to enjoy. Apart from the people you go with, you’re unlikely to be close to any other humans for more than a few seconds on the trail. Here are just a few:

Don’t forget to gear up at local spots: 

12. Grow a garden

garden at East Lake United Methodist Church
If you get started right around Tax Day, your garden could look like this by Summer. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Use some of the time you would have been traveling back and forth to get outside and get your hands in the dirt. Not only is it literally grounding, but it can also provide you and yours with some tasty things to eat in just a few short weeks. 

Last frost date in Birmingham lands right around tax day each year, so go ahead and start making your plans. If you haven’t ever discovered the wonderful world of seed catalogs, you’re in for a treat. Here’s my personal favorite

Here are some local growers who can tell you their favorites: 

If starting from seeds is intimidating, a) start with radishes April 19th because two weeks later you’ll have something actually growing, and b)  you can find great plants at two upcoming plant sales: 

13. Wash your hands with soap + keep your home clean

All the smell-good essentials you could ask for! Photo via Freedom Soaps

Alright, alright, we know. If I heard “wash your hands” one more time, I might scream. You’ve no doubt seen the *fun twitter thread* with alternatives to the Happy Birthday song.

And, we think if you’ve got to wash your hands all the time, why not at least make them smell and feel good too?

Birmingham-based Freedom Soap Co. can hook you up with soaps and other feel-good beauty products. Buff City Soap has—you guessed it—soap, plant-based laundry detergent, pet products and more. Head to Bungalow Bungalow to stock up on refillable cleaning products.

Now tell us, Birmingham, what are your favorite work at home survival strategies? Tag us on social @BhamNow and let us know!

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference