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
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
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
Google “how to stock a pantry” and pick the list that best fits your lifestyle and values. Then hop online to place your order.
- 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 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
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?
- Ashley Mac’s
- Iron City (yes, they have delicious food, in addition to being an awesome music venue)
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.
- 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
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
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
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
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
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.
~ 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
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
- Of course you can #netflixandchill. Tell us, Birmingham, what are *your* favorite shows to binge watch? “Chasing Monsters” is a big hit at our house.
- Check out these local podcasters.
- Read more books. Get books from local libraries, or even download them.
- Decorate without leaving your home. Use the new LaZBoy app to try out new furniture around your home.
11. Get out in nature
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:
- Forever Wild Parks
- Cahaba River Park
- Railroad Park
- Clairmont Trail
- Walking Trails
- Ruffner Mountain
- East Lake Park
- Red Mountain Park
- Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
- Wheelchair Accessible Trails
- Fishing spots
- Canyons and waterfalls
- Little River Canyon
- Natural Bridge
- Spring Break Road Trips (check before you go to make sure places are still open)
Don’t forget to gear up at local spots:
- Mark’s Outdoors
- Alabama Outdoors in Homewood, Inverness + Trussville
- Mountain High Outfitters at The Summit
- REI at The Summit
12. Grow a garden
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:
- Magic City Flower Market
- Grace Gardens
- Harvest Roots Ferments
- Walden FARMacy
- CSA Shares
- Jones Valley Teaching Farm
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:
- 2020 Native Plant Sale at Ruffner Mountain, Saturday, April 4, 9AM-2PM
- Spring Plant Sale Benefiting the Birmingham Botanical Gardens at Brookwood Village, April 17-19, hours here.
- Presale for Friends of the Gardens April 16, 6:30-8:00PM.
13. Wash your hands with soap + keep your home clean
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.