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Make Quarantine More Bearable With These Essentials (No, Not Toilet Paper, But Also, Yes, That)

It’s time to escape... into yourself, I guess.

None of us are going anywhere right now. Most of California, where I live, has shut down, and everyone is staying home. The fact of the matter is that we’re all stuck in one place and it’s not always an easy thing (although it is a completely necessary thing that everyone should be doing). So, while we get used to a quieter time, most likely spent inside of our own homes, it’s important to have everything you need within your own quarters.

I guess I should say this up front: I’m not talking about panic-buying. As stores are being stripped of items–there are no canned goods, frozen items, or paper products like toilet paper at any store near me–it is important to remember that one should NOT panic buy in bulk. It’s unnecessary and, frankly, dangerous, as it is taking away supplies from others who might need them.

INSIDER TIPAs a rule, having a 14-day supply of all necessary household and personal items is what you should be adhering to, at most. Anything else is overkill.

As we all get used to staying in, it’s important to remember that after making sure you’ve got all you need, perhaps get a few things that you simply WANT–things to make your life better, or to distract, or to give you momentary joy or escape in these uncertain times. So, as I get used to spending way more time than usual within the walls of my (very small) studio apartment, here’s what I’m buying to keep myself safe, happy, and, occasionally, extremely distracted.

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Get Yourself a Basic Disaster Kit

A basic disaster kit is important to have regardless of the chaotic time we currently live in, because if there’s not a coronavirus stomping about, there’s always the chance of a god damn earthquake (or something). So, if you haven’t already made preparation plans for a major disaster, there is no better time than the present. As far as food, water, and basic necessities go, make sure you have a 14-day supply in your emergency preparedness kit. The best foods to buy include non-perishables like canned goods, pantry-living snacks like granola bars and nuts, and other dry goods.

INSIDER TIPFor your own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others, do not panic buy or hoard medical supplies. They are in need everywhere. Buy what you need to, when you need to. I will say this 17 more times.


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Get the Things You Already Needed Anyways

Make sure you have on hand what you would already be using anyway. Prepare for a couple of weeks at home with toiletries, laundry detergent, a thermometer, toothpaste, contact lens solution, and anything you regularly use and need daily. Have cleaning products handy—Clorox wipes, Lysol all-purpose cleaning spray (or something comparable), dish soap (you will be doing more dishes), regular soap, Swiffer sheets (or something to dust with), etc. It’s important to wipe down surfaces and door handles, and keep everything as clean as possible.

Cleaning wipes for items you touch frequently or carry around with you (phone, glasses) are also important to have around. Can’t find what you need because people have panic-bought it out of the stores? There are a number of websites that track what stores have what products, as well as an app called Markk that acts as a sort of Instagram-like feed, showing you photos of shelves at stores near you in real-time.

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Buy Some “Frivolous” Beauty Products to Make Yourself Feel Good

It is, of course, important to stock up on all of the health and wellness products necessary to keep you safe and clean. However, in addition to this, it’s also important to feel as good as you possibly can and that means putting nourishing and nice smelling things on your body. Trader Joe’s has a bunch of new (and technically unnecessary) beauty products and they are PERFECT for not going anywhere while also feeling nice and smelling good. So, treat yourself to a budget-friendly spa day at home. Get yourself some strawberry body scrub and a watermelon overnight face mask. Grab a Supreme Hydrating Eye Cream. Don’t touch your eyes without washing your face first, sure, but be sure to keep those under-eye areas nice and moisturized, as well.

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Drinking plenty of fluids is key to staying healthy, so during your quarantine staycation inside of your own home, you better be drinking water. Have plenty of fluids on hand in your home, including some with a high amount of electrolytes (like SmartWater or Pedialyte). Pedialyte even has little electrolyte packets, so that you can have a bunch on hand (and not have to buy multiple bottles of it). Investing in a Brita filter might also be a good idea, if you want to live that bottled water life, without the bottles.

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Take Your Vitamins

It was already a good idea to take a multivitamin daily, as well as ingest a healthy amount of vitamin C (and other vitamins), so now is as good of a time as ever to make it an everyday habit. In addition to a daily multivitamin, Emergen-C Everyday Immune Support gummy vitamins are also a nice little treat for your health–they’re packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants that help to support a healthy immune system.

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Escape… Into a Book

Why not travel into a story, hm? Personally, I treat my own apartment like it’s a bookstore, in that I have a wall of books I have not read yet–perfect for if, say, I have to stay home for whatever reason. Remember to always support local independent bookstores and businesses if you can, but understandably it might be a little more difficult to make it out to one at this time, so in that case, both Barnes & Noble and Amazon have your back as far as book delivery is concerned. But, hey, after all of this is behind us? Support your local independent bookstores–they will need it badly.

INSIDER TIPIf you’d like to support local independent bookstores (and other small businesses) right now, purchasing gift cards to them to use on a later date is something many people have begun doing. Every little bit helps.


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Have Some Legal Weed (if You Live Where Recreational Use is Legal)

Recreational marijuana use is legal in my state of California and you better believe I have made sure to have a little weed on hand in times of anxiety (or just to f—— relax). In California, MedMen and Eaze both offer same-day delivery services (as long as you are at least 18 years of age).

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Document Your Little Feelings

During a time of stress, or any other time in existence, getting it all out and writing down your feelings can be one of the most freeing things you can do. Do not hold them in–let them fly free. Even the act of just putting them down somewhere else other than your own head can rid your body of anxiety. Perhaps now is the time to invest in a journal, or at least write in an online journal of sorts (I like Dropbox Paper, which is a lot like Google Docs, but simpler—basically it’s the equivalent of a blank piece of paper on your laptop).

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Make Some “Art”

Grab a sketchbook and draw out your fantasies. Hell, draw a map to Bean Mountain, like I did after going to the store to buy beans only to find them completely sold out.

Am I good at drawing? Absolutely not–in fact, I’m terrible at it. However, I did it anyways, and felt… really good? I was laughing? I was laughing! It was a miracle.

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Have a Home Workout System

With gyms everywhere closing indefinitely, you’re going to have to get a little creative as far as your workouts go–unless you’re a railroad tycoon living inside of a house made of pure gold, in which case, I hope you are enjoying using your Peloton. For the rest of us, however, it’s all about those sweet streaming workouts–yoga on YouTube, cardio on Amazon Prime, etc. Some fitness studios are even going digital and offering streaming classes, so if you can afford to support local businesses in that way during this time, definitely consider it.

Regardless of what you buy to keep yourself sane during your home time, remember to treat yourself with kindness and know that all of us are going through it. Take care of yourself and, if you can, treat yourself.