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    Apr 1, 2020

    Just 10 Things That Made Navigating My Life As A Differently-Abled Person Way Easier This Month

    Surviving COVID-19 one day at a time, with help.

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    Howdy, my name is Harper, I am differently-abled and here to share the things that made it easier for me to function this month!

    1. First up is hiking.

    Harper Hendrickson

    I got to go hiking in the woods with my son Jake (pictured above me) at the beginning of the month while they were visiting for spring break, and as you can see it made me wildly happy.

    Now that stay-at-home orders are in effect, it's just my partner and me out on the trails, and while we both miss (and h8 being separated from) our family during these times, the ability to safely be outside right now definitely helps cope with quarantine, and I hike as often as I am able to!

    I find that bilateral movement is healing for my PTSD symptoms, and I am grateful to have access to the trails near my home so I can try to stay grounded.

    2. I live with a life-threatening food allergy, and this salad spinner has made the process of soaking, rinsing, and storing produce way easier and faster! I use this thing nearly every day to keep myself safe.

    Harper Hendrickson

    I am likely to pass out and have difficulty breathing from my allergy, even if I am exposed to a molecular level of the allergen, and I have reacted to unwashed produce before. So I soak our produce in water with apple cider vinegar and Castile soap to rid it of any potential cross-contamination.

    This spinner has a snap-in-place lid which makes it really easy to soak fruits and veggies in. When fruits like apples bob to the top, the lid keeps them in place and submerged. When I am done soaking everything, I lift the basket out and rinse the produce off, spin to dry, and then we're done! The spinner is well-ventilated so I often store our washed produce in it, and it stays nice and fresh in the fridge!

    You can get this spinner from The Home Depot for $12.12.

    3. Castile soap has come in ~handy~ big time during the pandemic. It's concentrated, so it only takes a drop or two to wash produce, and of course, it's good for washing those hands.

    Harper Hendrickson

    Once I realized we are in the midst of a pandemic and my partner and I would run out of hand soap before this is all over, we stopped using our Castlle soap in the shower, and now we use both our bottles for daily use. It really decreased my anxiety about the virus to know we have month's worth of Castile soap ~on hand~. Reading facts about handwashing also has helped me stay calm throughout the month.

    Get Castille soap from Target for $10.79.

    4. Misfits Market allowed me to stay out of the grocery store, stay safe, and still have access to fresh fruits and veggies while social distancing.

    Harper Hendrickson

    Misfits is a fruit and veggie subscription that sends affordable organic produce right to your door once a week. I am immune-comprised and subscribing to Misfits has allowed me to stay away from grocery stores, which is critical for my survival right now as symptomatic people in our area have been infecting others while food shopping at our local grocery store, despite being told to stay home. Everyone in our area is advised to use delivery services as much as possible, and I am so glad we signed up for this one so that we don't run out of healthy food to eat.

    You can sign up for Misfits starting at $22/week, however, bear in mind new orders are currently back-logged.

    5. My service dog Lilers is the absolute best and helped me survive nightmares, migraines, anxiety attacks, and disassociative times all month long.

    Harper Hendrickson

    Here is Lilers pictured doing what Lilers does best, staying on my lap and keeping me calm. I would have not been able to handle the few times I had to go out in public this month if it were not for this little angel being by my side.

    6. Buying juice from Project Juice for myself and my brother allowed me to put the brakes on my COVID-related anxiety at the very beginning of the outbreak.

    Harper Hendrickson

    Project Juice ships out cold-pressed, organic juices and shots with free shipping. Their juices are pricey and I could only afford two orders, one for myself and one for my brother, but they were worth the price for me.

    When my anxiety over getting sick/my loved ones getting sick was at its worst, it was helpful to be able to order these juices and know they would help my brother and me stay healthy as we adjust to the new reality we are living through.

    Get a six-pack of juice from Project Juice starting at $75.

    7. I started grinding dried lavender into my herbal teas for an extra soothing sip when my anxiety symptoms flared up.

    Harper Hendrickson

    I use my fingers to grind it (after washing my hands!) directly into my cup and I find the smell of lavender has a calming effect on me, as does drinking it up. Even if I am too wound up to really feel a difference, it is nice to try and give myself a sense of agency of the situation, so this has become a daily ritual of mine 😊.

    8. Making "last of" meals and snacks gave me agency over running out of food — it's a way to turn something upsetting into a weird, delicious party.

    Harper Hendrickson

    For example, I baked the last of our apples with cinnamon and maple syrup and then ate them warm with the last scoop of ice cream. And when my partner and I missed going to Sunday brunch, we made our own brunch at home using the last of the tomato, gluten-free bread, and breakfast sausage.

    "Last of" meals help me cope with what I can't control (who knows when we will have the luxury of some of these foods again) by accepting it, switching the perspective, and then enjoying the food instead of lamenting over the absence!

    9. My relationship with my partner has always been life-saving, and I can't imagine surviving this pandemic without them.

    Jake Clementine

    I am grateful to be in a safe, loving relationship with my partner, and I am grateful for all of their support and our safe home during these wild times. We've had to adapt to so many changes this month and figure out how to cope with being the other's only in-person social contact on a day-to-day basis, and I think we've done a pretty stellar job. I am keeping the faith that we will survive this scary time together and be able to tell our kids about it 🙏.

    10. And last but not least, pogo-sticking has kept me active, outside, and laughing all month long, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is able to use one.

    Samantha Jacobson

    On days when I'm not well enough to hike, you can catch me in the driveway on my pogo stick.

    Get a similar pogo stick from Target for $59.99 (safe for adults up to 180 lbs).

    Stay well out there!