Who I’m worried about are others, especially those who don’t have the stability and relative assurances I’m blessed with. If I get sick, I have a room I can isolate myself within. I have national healthcare, so I will get tested and treated properly. If I can’t work, or if I die, my family is not going to starve because of it.
If you have the luxury of some stability during this time, you can help yourself and others by being prepared.
First things first, do yourself a favor and get organized. Organization will reduce the level of daily stress that you have to cope with, and make it much easier to keep a clean and healthy environment. I’m a fan of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method partly because if you do it correctly and adjust it to your specific needs, it forms good habits that don’t go away. You’ll find yourself thinking of how you will store and maintain new things you acquire, an whittling down your possessions to what you actually use and enjoy. Also I like it because one of the principles is to sort things by category rather than by room. This is important during a pandemic partly so that you know where everything is, and partly so that you know how much room you actually have.
Things can change very quickly with many people getting sick at once. You may end up hosting friends and relatives for awhile, or needing to keep people’s pets. If you have an exposure incident, you may need to self isolate. You may have to keep someone’s things if they pass on and didn’t have someone to retrieve them before their place needed to be cleared. You never know. So it’s a good idea to minimize the clutter and free up as much space as possible.
If you have extra space that you don’t need as living quarters, you may need it for storage or shelter or a work room. Things are becoming very scary in some places, so if you can, it’s not a bad idea to prepare some emergency shelter that would not be obvious to a home invader.
Something important that many people might not consider, wash all your blankets and winter coats now, whether or not you plan to use them immediately. You might need those extras if you have surprise guests, but also, you want to keep dust mites down. They can contribute to or worsen pneumonia if someone catches any respiratory illness.
Prepare for Understaffed Services.
With the flu and Covid 19 plus other diseases that tend to spread more in the fall and winter, there could be a situation where half or more of everyone in a city could be very ill at once. We hope it doesn’t get to that, but there will at least be many businesses and services running on the bare minimum, or where there may be no one available for days or weeks. Unlike in times past, people won’t usually be encouraged to show up for work when they are ill. This is a good thing.
So if you can, get three months or more supply of any medications you may need. Make appointments far in advance as possible. If there are medications that you may die or suffer greatly if you lose access to, look for alternatives that can tide you over for a week to a month just in case.
If you anticipate weather issues, make sure your neighborhood has a plan that is not totally dependent on government or municipal services. Organize with others who have the means to help others during storms and other disasters.
Even if there isn’t an outright disaster, due to understaffing, power outages and various slows or stops in services may last longer than usual. So stock up on batteries and alternative lighting, cooking, and communication. Make sure to have at least one land line phone that does not need electricity to work, and a battery powered radio.
This is also a good time to check that all your battery powered things don’t have corroded or damaged batteries. I myself have had to clean a few flashlights out lately.
Pool Your Resources.
This is the time to make sure that there is no one getting left out or left behind. Some people are uncooperative and silly, but those who are able to work and share with others should be doing so. As much as you can, make sure everyone around you or in your circle of family and friends has enough to eat, enough clothes, and enough of everything they need to get through the winter. It may even be helpful in your organizing to consider that someone else may need that coat you never wear to stay warm, or that hand lotion you never use to protect their skin while working in the cold.