How to Prepare for Another Coronavirus Winter When You Live Alone

Vivian Song
·4 min read

The first time COVID-19 forced me to hunker down in my 345-square-foot apartment in Paris—a city that imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world earlier this year—I gained 10 pounds in the span of a few short months, developed a strange (non-virus-related) skin rash and irregular, erratic sleep patterns.

I swung the first lockdown solo in my modest apartment: no garden, no balcony, no courtyard, little sunlight, and no Netflix. Like everyone else, I was ill-prepared then. But not this time.

No, in anticipation of what will surely be a long, dark, cold coronavirus winter (we learned yesterday that all of France will be going under our second lockdown until at least December 1), I’ve hatched a personal survival strategy centered on keeping warm, keeping healthy, and staying sane, all on the cheap. You could call it a survival guide for singletons with small budgets living in small spaces.

Among other things, it involves duping the brain into thinking you’re on a sun-soaked beach with the help of a light therapy lamp; drinking fruity vitamin C cocktails with little umbrellas; breathing fresh air that’s been cleaned by an indoor air purifier; sparing my back and shoulders with an adjustable laptop stand; and keeping the cold at bay with a pair of heat-retaining socks and a powerful portable heater.

My YouTube channel is queued up with favorite workout sessions that helped me lose a few of those pounds over the summer; my medicine cabinet is stocked with vitamin D pills and orange-flavored vitamin C effervescent tablets; and I finally caved and got a Netflix account.

Here are a few ideas on how to better prepare yourself for another COVID-19 winter, from my home to yours.

Light therapy lamp

The size of a tablet, this small portable device uses UV-free LED light to simulate high noon and summer sun and beat away SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and the winter blues. Given that we can’t travel, it’s the safest and one of the most convincing ways to teleport to the beach right now.

Light Therapy Lamp, Miroco

$38.00, Amazon

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Air purifier

It’s safe to assume that we’ll all be spending most of this winter indoors, many of us working from home. When it gets too cold to open the windows and ventilate, an air purifier that uses a True HEPA filter is a safe bet, as they can capture up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. This model in particular also uses UV-C light to kill germs.

Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier

$80.00, Amazon

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Portable heater

There is nothing more depressing and demoralizing than being perpetually cold. Along with switching to a cheaper electricity provider this winter, I’ve invested in a portable, lightweight ceramic heater: They take up little space, heat up quickly, and are energy efficient. Look for safety features like tip-over and overheat protection.

Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat

$30.00, Amazon

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Heat-retaining socks

Independent, comfortably happy singles swinging the next coronavirus act solo know they don’t need a partner to warm their feet this winter. They just need a few pairs of warm, soft, thermal socks. They’re like heated cushions for your feet.

Always Warm Women's Twist Crew Socks

$13.00, Target

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Laptop stand

If you, like me, don’t have a kitchen table much less a dedicated office, your “workspace” may very well be restricted to your couch or your bed. Spare your back and shoulders with an adjustable laptop stand that can also be used on countertop space and double as a standing desk.

Uncaged Ergonomics Laptop Stand

$60.00, Staples

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Blue light glasses

As a freelance writer, I log more screen time than I care to admit. Though scientists are divided on the efficacy of blue light glasses in easing eyestrain and headaches associated with digital devices, anecdotally I can tell you my eyes have felt less dry and tired since using my own. I also like to imagine they act as anti-wrinkle glasses by blocking the skin-damaging blue light.

FLOWER by Drew Blue Light Computer Glasses

$30.00, Walmart

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Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest