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Life Lesson: Great Depression Era tips for living through a crisis

Written by Alyson Brown

The COVID 19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our lives, at least temporarily. Perhaps this new way of living is not all bad. We may look to a previous generation for tips on living during a crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic. In order to survive the Great Depression of the 1930’s our great- grandparents were forced to live very frugally and simply in order to survive. Resources were scarce and changes in living had to be made to weather this difficult time in history. In our current uncertain time, it might behoove us to heed the lessons from the older generation in simplifying how we live. As we socially distance and self- isolate, this may be an opportunity to make changes that could serve us well far beyond the current pandemic situation. The following are tips for living simply and frugally in order to get through a crisis.

1. Cook at home

During the current pandemic, many restaurants have closed or are open fewer hours. Taking this opportunity to become a better cook will likely make you healthier in the long run. Cooking at home is clearly a money saver and you will know exactly what goes into your meals.

2. Recycle and re-use

We live in a throw-away society, but our current situation has likely encouraged us to make the most of what we currently have on hand. This probably includes re-using items we may have previously thrown away such as old food jars, bottles, etc.

3. Plant a garden

Growing your own food can be extremely rewarding. Seeds are relatively inexpensive and this pandemic is occurring during the spring months. Take advantage of this opportunity to grow some fruits, vegetables or herbs. You can do so without a large tract of land as container gardening is quite compact and easy to do.

4. Learn to can

Canning was a way to ensure the harvest could be used year-round and that no food went to waste. You can create jams, sauces, salsas and fermented foods with foods from your garden.

5. Waste not want not

Look for creative ways in order to reduce your waste. Vegetable scraps can be used to make broth. Squeeze every last bit of products you use. Use them sparingly.

6. Mend your own clothes

Take care of the clothing items you have. Learning a bit of sewing can mean the difference between getting more use out of an item or tossing it.

7. Do instead of buy

Take this time to go for a run or a hike or even take care of neglected projects such as cleaning out the garage or organizing your closet. Time that may have been spent buying things can be better spent in other ways. Tightening your finances can only help you get on or stay on your feet in a crisis.

8. Read a book

Reading is an activity that almost seems a luxury at times. With our busy, harried, digital focused lives, reading has almost become an activity of the past. Take this time to read books you have always wanted to. While the libraries maybe closed, you can download audio versions for a fairly low cost.

While we do our part in reducing the spread of the virus to protect us all, we can look to our ancestors for how to get through a crisis. Living more simply and frugally are lifestyle changes that may stick with us far beyond our current crisis conditions.

Interested in learning more ways to improve your life during the COVID-19 pandemic? Come and check out some of our courses at Vitademia.

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