12 Changes I’m Making During the COVID-19 Quarantine

It’s crazy if you look at your social media posts from a week ago. Surreal how much can change in such a short period of time. But it’s better to be quick to act than wait and waiver and think maaaaybe. We had our employees start working from last week Monday and have gone into personal self-quarantine as of a week ago last Friday night (no one else coming and going from our home–we are currently paying our nanny to self-quarantine at home for those who have asked).

We are trying to minimize our trips to the grocery store as much as possible which has altered how we’re doing things around here quite a bit… I wanted to share 12 changes I made over the past week as we adjust to this new normal at home.

Please share what you’re doing and any tips in the comments. We’re truly all in this together. Even the Queen of England and Tina Fey.


1. Waste nothing

The greatest lesson learned, and I learned it quickly on day one, is to waste nothing. The amount we would waste before this was such a stupid privilege, and it makes me angry to think about. Especially food. Dan and I would let an embarrassing amount of food go bad–largely fresh produce (salads that we never made, but also sometimes meat)– simply because we never got around to cooking it during the week. I was always angry with myself any time I let that happen but now it’s not an option.

Simply put it in the freezer if you’re approaching the week deadline; that’s all it takes for keeping meat longer. And EAT THE VEGETABLES if they’re going to go bad, Alaina. You can’t have too many vegetables.

Another example is we would make way too much coffee in the morning and end up pouring a bunch down the drain at the end of the day. Now we ask ourselves–how many cups are you actually going to drink today, and we make just enough.

I also hated how much food we were wasting with Henry. As a picky toddler, you never knew how much he would eat of a meal so now we give him extremely small portions and if he wants more we give more. But I am done throwing any food away or letting it go bad.

Same with formula, dish soap, laundry detergent… everything really. I used to run the dishwasher at night even if it wasn’t that full, and I’d run loads of laundry with just a few things in there. Now I am conserving and filling both to the brim before running either.

Even more so–we’re turning off lights when we aren’t in rooms. Conserving energy. Turn off the faucet if you are not actively using the running water. I’m always shocked at the number of people who will turn it on for whatever reason and walk away to do something–and leave it running. I don’t get it; but we clearly all have bad habits as I’ve just shared some of my own, and now is the best time to correct them.


2. Eating healthier, eating less

When we stocked up on groceries over a week ago, in a shockingly un-Alaina-like fashion, who enjoys cookies, chips, et. al. on the reg, we made a list of nutrient-packed food and literally got no potato chips, ice cream, cookies, or anything. (Slightly regretting that now.) But our freezer isn’t huge so we knew we needed every inch of it for staples including frozen fruit and veggies in case we can’t get to the store for fresh produce. I know being the healthiest versions of ourselves is the most important thing we can try to control when facing a virus.

Along the same line as #1–I am eating much smaller portions… largely for fear of running out of something and spacing out what we have. I know even in a lockdown, Italy never closed its grocery stories or pharmacies, thank god, but we are limiting our trips to the store and trying to make the food we have go as long as possible. Plus we do have a lot of food in our home and a lot of others need a lot more. So we’re just doing our part to conserve.

A few  examples… I used to eat 2 eggs most mornings but now I’m having one. Same w/ our breakfast sausage and pieces of toast. I’d usually eat 2 but am now eating 1. I’d usually eat a whole bagel but now split it with Dan.

Another small change I just made… one of our favorite go-to easy dinners is a pasta w/ meat sauce. Banza pasta + ground turkey w/ seasonings + Rao’s tomato sauce… but now because we have a good amount of pasta and a lot less turkey meat, I keep the meat separate and give myself a much smaller portion of meat for every pasta serving so the meat can be spread out over more meals. Make sense?


3. Eating a lot less meat

Which brings me to the big one–we’re eating a lot less meat. We’ve wanted to cut meat out of our diets for a long time, and now we are. This has great health benefits and more importantly benefits the world. Eating a more vegetarian diet is much more sustainable and healthier for our bodies (provided we are still getting enough protein). Which we are since we are eating more beans and chickpeas and edamame and other sources we weren’t relying on as much before.

If you are familiar with The Office television series, when Kevin is forced to eat broccoli and he states “this is a new food for me, how else am I supposed to eat it?”–that’s A LITTLE how I feel about some vegetarian staples… a la beans. Other than adding them to chili or tacos, I’m at a loss. You can make fun of me. Fortunately, The Everygirl has my back:

15 Vegetarian Recipes You Can Meal Prep for the Week

15 Vegetarian Lunches

What I Eat in a Week as a Vegetarian


4. Drinking less coffee

This I had to do immediately because my anxiety was so high over the weekend and coffee always makes it worse. If you suffer from anxiety I highly encourage you to cut back caffeine. Switch to tea if you still need something. Now that my anxiety has calmed down, I am still limiting myself to one small cup a day whereas I used to drink 2-3.


5. Meditating. A lot.

My mother-in-law asked me on Friday, 5 days ago, if I ever meditate. I answered no. I didn’t. Fast forward to today and I’ve done it in small increments 2-4 times a day since and I love it. It helps me calm and reset.

I started by downloading the app Headspace, and it definitely takes practice and getting used to. I had Dan and I both do the Unwind meditation before bed the other night. I loved it; Dan said he basically didn’t listen and his mind was still racing. Hah so yes. Takes practicing. I also listened to an anti-anxiety session when I was giving Charlie his early morning bottle. It was a wonderful way to calm and gave me something to focus on instead of letting my mind race in those early quiet hours.

Read more tips on how to manage anxiety during this time here.


6. Limiting my news intake

I am trying to limit myself to checking the news to once a day. I want and need to know what is going on in the world; but reading horrifying headline and story after another was making me so stressed, it wasn’t healthy. I’ll also ask Dan to tell me if any important updates come in.


7. Facetiming my parents daily

I always spoke and texted with my parents regularly, but in the last five days, we have Facetimed 2-3 times a day. How LUCKY are we to have options like phones and Facetime and Skype and Zoom to stay in touch at a time when we are all apart.

We’re even making virtual dinner plans to have dinner together via Facetime. And my girlfriends and I are planning a virtual catch-up this Friday night.


8. Taking daily vitamins

The only time I’ve taken vitamins as an adult is when I took my prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. I ordered Nutrafol vitamins last month because I’ve been losing so much hair post-partum but based on a quiz I filled out, they also sent me digestive enzyme vitamins and the big one–stress supplemental vitamins.

Get $30 off if you use this link for Nutrafol. Not sponsored, just a fan.


9. Tidying up at the end of the day

This is something we always did, but it’s definitely making a huge impact on my mental health more than ever. A house with a toddler and a baby and a dog can get pretty chaotic throughout the day, and a mess negatively impacts my mood and energy. It makes me feel like everything is a mess–which let’s be honest, with the state of the world, it kind of is. So controlling our space and keeping it clean and orderly gives me a sense of calm that I desperately need. Unfortunately this takes up what little no-kid time we have when we could be resting/doing something fun (like reading or watching a show), but for now it outweighs those other things. If there is ever a night where I need to just leave it, I will.


10. Daily Gratitude


View this post on Instagram


Daily Gratitude 2: breakfast in jammies with my boys #schmiederboys

A post shared by Alaina Kaczmarski (@alainakaz) on

Inspired by a friend doing the same thing during this tumultuous and terrifying time, I’ve started putting more focus on all there is to be grateful and happy for. I’ve been sharing my Daily Gratitude on Instagram and highly encourage you to do the same. It’s a beautiful message to send to everyone around.


11. Getting outside at least once a day

I’ve always been a homebody, but there is nothing better for mental health (and physical health) than fresh air. For now, while we are still permitted to leave our homes, we’re making sure to get outside at least once a day. The weather has been a bit crappy but taking Tucker for a walk even for ten minutes helps and when we can, we’ll put the boys in the stroller for a walk–making sure to keep 6′ or more from anyone else we pass.

And since a shelter in place/lockdown will be here hopefully sooner rather than later, we’ll probably take the covers off of our roof deck furniture soon and make use of that space for fresh air. When I was pregnant I did yoga out there in the morning a few times and we’ll be able to play with the boys outside. We don’t have a large yard or live near a lot of outdoor nature preserves but I’m so so grateful to at least have this space to use.

You can see a full tour of our roof deck here.


12. Implementing my personal anti-anxiety bedtime routine

I literally slept 2-3 hours Friday and Saturday night because my mind was filled with so much worry about what is happening and how most people were still ignoring it and all that is going wrong ahhhhhh. Could. not. sleep.

And of course, sleep is one of the most important things to staying healthy. So I started doing my own personal relaxation, anti-anxiety bedtime routine, which I’ll share with you tomorrow.


What changes have you started making? What routines are you keeping?