Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means. Not a therapist, medical or mental health professional. I do not diagnose, treat, or tell people what to do. The main purpose of this website and blog is education and support. If you are unsure how the suggestions and resources here may affect you, please discuss any changes to your existing treatment plan with your medical and mental health providers first.
Acknowledging a problem
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with family, co-workers, providers, friends and mentors about life in the “new” world. Many of my family members and friends live in “hot spots” like New York and Massachusetts. They are not young, and some fall into the “vulnerable” group. More than a few relatives are on the front lines working – doctors, nurses, veterinarians and veterinary support people (assistants, technicians, etc.).
They listen to the news and read all the updates about COVID-19; then share with each other and me. I am so grateful for this because I don’t watch the news or do more than scan the headlines from my local newspaper; to do more than that risks an increase in triggers and anxiety that I can’t afford. But listening to them talk about what’s happening allows me to get information and then follow up in my own, non-triggering way.
It’s been almost 3 months since the first case was confirmed in February 2020. Many people are struggling because so much of our economy has been shut down. Sure many businesses and organizations are being creative and working hard to stay open. But not everyone has that option. With the advent of quarantine and having to wear masks to go out, more and more people are feeling the pain of isolation.
They wonder (and I do too) how to meet basic needs and pay for essential items like food, medicine, rent, utility bills, and so on. Just recently, my dad told me about how there will be a meat shortage coming soon because many of the large processing plants have been shut down. Too many employees got sick with or became carriers for COVID-19 and spread the virus, causing massive shutdowns. Many other factories and manufacturing plants across different business groups have similar issues.
There are many other problems out there. Acknowledging that life is different and we do have real, valid problems is a first step to finding creative, healthy, effective, and supportive solutions. Other positive steps include realizing and accepting that:
- we are not alone in this even if we need to keep physical distance
- there are many people and organizations offering help – including the US Federal Government
- we are enough, resilient, and able to use our skills to navigate the challenges and thrive
Accepting the help offered
In the US, the federal government passed a stimulus bill offering money to people who fall within a certain gross annual salary. I didn’t know about this until my family told me about it. And then, I wasn’t sure I was going to follow up because I am lucky enough to still be working and able to pay my bills, etc. But, my dad wisely told me to see if I qualified and take advantage of the money if I did meet the guidelines.
Turns out I did meet the guidelines and qualified for the stimulus money. So I went through the process online and filled out the application to get the money through direct deposit. If you want to learn more about it, please visit this website.
For anyone outside the US, please check with your government and see what kinds of financial and other relief or aid they offer citizens. You never know what you will discover and be eligible for receiving.
If you, like me, belong to a variety of email lists, then you’ve probably received a lot of messages offering support and help if you experience financial difficulties or worry about your safety when you travel and shop in physical locations. Some of the messages are legitimate and genuine. Please practice internet safety (i.e. check for valet email addresses, don’t click on links if you are unsure of the sender, etc.) as you read the different messages and decide which offers to research or accept.
In terms of shopping and doing my part to support local businesses, I’ve been using online delivery services for a while now. It took me some time because I was suspicious and skeptical of a lot of places. But references and word-of-mouth referrals have a way of changing one’s mind. And so I have a list of reliable and favorite online grocery and food delivery websites that still deliver groceries and goods within a decent time frame.
*I’m not getting anything in return for sharing the links in the Resources section of this blog. Thought about using affiliate links, but decided not to do that. Darned triggers :/*
We are enough
Imperfect Produce is an organization dedicated to reducing food waste by re-directing and selling “imperfect” or unsellable in big box stores and restaurants, but still edible produce and other food items at a reduced rate. You can select from a variety of “boxes” and then customize from there.
Pros: a) you can get weekly or bi-weekly boxes of different fresh or packaged food items. The box size works for single people, families, and larger groups; b) membership fees are not required, but you do need to sign up for an account; c) excellent customer service and an interesting blog.
Cons: Not available everywhere in the US. There are limitations for new subscribers, so you might have to wait a bit to get your first delivery. The delivery window is based on zip code, and you can’t change the time frame (you can customize delivery instructions).
Thrive Market is an online grocery store that offers healthy, sustainable, mostly organic/fair trade/non-gmo/diet specific items at a discounted rate compared to regular grocery stores. I’ve been a member for less than a year and already saved over $300 buying meat/seafood and packaged goods from them.
Pros: a) their commitment to providing customers with high quality items at reasonable prices; b) how they use the membership fees and donations to provide memberships to low-income families and families in need; c) free trial memberships are available; d) and their excellent customer service.
Cons: a) Domestic Shipping only; b) membership fee can turn many people off since you can’t see what’s available without being a member; c) long wait times because so many people are shopping there right now
Door Dash is the US-based restaurant delivery service I switched to after having issues with GrubHub, UberEats (negative experiences with Uber drivers) and Foodler (not available in Portland). After checking out other options like Caviar and PostMates, I decided to go with Door Dash because they were honest and up-front about their payment structure and delivery fees. Plus they delivered from many of my favorite restaurants. But the main reason I’m adding it here is because Door Dash was the first delivery service to create and start initiatives that support local restaurants and help keep them open.
I didn’t plan on buying a weekly Dash pass to get reduced service fees and free delivery because I didn’t want to have an excuse for getting delivery so often. That’s me trying to save money, fyi. But then Door Dash came up with this initiative within the first 2 weeks of social distancing restrictions. And they continue to support local restaurants and offer promotions to keep them in business in Portland. So, for as long as I can afford it, I try to support local restaurants by getting a food delivery once a week. It’s a treat for me too since I don’t have to cook.
**If you have local delivery services that you prefer, please use them instead. And also check around to see if new, local services are opening up too. Maybe you can support restaurants by supporting those delivery services too**
Amazon.com is an international delivery giant that has reasonable options even if you are not a Prime member.
First, Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) is a way to support 1 charity at a time with all qualifying purchases. How? instead of http://www.amazon.com, use https://smile.amazon.com to log in and shop. On the home page, you will be asked what charity you want to support and can make the selection at that time. Plus, you can change it any time you want. I support Boston Area Rape Crisis Center that way.
Next, you can use Amazon Subscribe and Save (it’s on the menu to the left; you have to select the check box to see eligible items) to get canned goods, packaged, goods, and paper goods, etc. Some items are unavailable or on backorder because of high demand, but I got a lot of cleaning supplies, canned tuna, canned tomatoes, and baking ingredients from them. As a subscribe & save member, I also get a discounted price and the option to choose the frequency of my deliveries or skip on a delivery if I still have enough.
If you are a Prime member, you can use Whole Foods Prime Now delivery service for same day delivery and Amazon Fresh too. Not sure how Amazon Fresh works (never used it), but I heard it’s a good option.
If you have pets and want to share some reliable online pet stores, please share them in the comments.
The next newsletter is going out April 30 because I couldn’t decide what to put in it before now. But this month, I’m sharing 3 DIY hot chocolate recipes (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and dessert chocolate) with variations for vegetarians, vegans, and people on special diets. If you’re interested, there is still time to join.
Love and Rainbows ~ TJ