COVID-19 has changed our lives in profound ways. Many of us are working from home. Some are still working outside the home, quite literally risking their lives in essential jobs. And far too many have lost their jobs. The sudden onset of this crisis and the abrupt annihilation of so many societal norms have been shocking, anxiety inducing, frustrating, and truly heartbreaking… which is why I’m checking in with you. How are you holding up? I’d really like to know. And what are you doing to make this crisis a bit more bearable for yourselves and your loved ones? I’d never ask you to share something that I myself am unwilling to share, so I’ll start, but promise me, you’ll share how you are feeling as well. We could all stand to gain a few more strategies for getting through this crisis so please consider sharing some of your strategies in the comment section below.
So, how am I holding up? Well, it’s been a mixed bag. My daughter had a kidney transplant in January. She had an adverse reaction to some of her medications, so she has no immune system at the moment. She is in that at-risk population, as are my parents, who live with us. She’s being monitored closely. Unfortunately, that monitoring requires weekly, sometimes twice weekly blood draws. In other words, we have to break our “quarantine bubble” on a regular basis. We take every precaution imaginable, but the fear and anxiety surrounding the exposure to others and the implications for my daughter are staggering. We have been unable to quarantine long enough to breathe easy, to feel like maybe, just maybe, we’re in the clear. Because we’re not. Add to this concern for my youngest daughter, whose volleyball season ended abruptly. She’s missed several training camps on top of that, so she’s worried she won’t have the skills and endurance to make the team when she enters high school in the fall. I don’t want to see her dreams squashed. And then there’s my mom. She had to leave a job she loves in order to protect my daughter and her own health. I’m worried for her as well. My brother and his wife aren’t working, and they’ve been unable to qualify for unemployment. They have bills to pay and two toddlers to provide for. I’m worried for them, and I miss them terribly. Which is crazy because they live less than a mile away. I’m also worried about my single friends, who have been isolated for far too long. I’m even more worried for all those nurses and physicians who have seen our family through so many difficult times. So, yes, I’m scared, and sad, and worried.
But I’m also extremely grateful. I’m grateful my husband and I can both work from home. I’m grateful we have such a remarkable support system. I’m grateful to those teachers who suddenly had to switch to online teaching so they could continue to educate and empower our students. I’m grateful for every person who is working in an essential job, for every person who has closed a business, for those who have sacrificed their jobs, and for every person who willingly abides by the quarantine. And I am simply in awe of all the people who are making masks; donating protective equipment, food, and money; shopping for others, and supporting businesses that have closed as best they can. I’m so deeply humbled by these heroic acts, by the selflessness that now defines our country and others. They say a person’s true character is revealed during a crisis. Well, I want you to take a good long look in the mirror and recognize just how courageous, selfless, kind, and heroic you are. I also want to thank you from the bottom of my heart because my daughter’s life is one of those lives you are saving right now.
So, as I smile and brush a grateful tear from my cheek, I want to share some of the strategies I’ve been applying to get by. First, I’ve been trying to focus on the silver linings, identifying several aloud each and every day. I’ve been praying a lot. I’ve been attending church online in my pajamas with my dog. I’ve been talking more with family and friends through video messaging, not just texting. I’ve been spending more time with my family, playing games and binge-watching Psych. I’m cuddling with my dog more. I’m walking with my husband, my daughters, and my dog. I’m feeding the squirrels who venture onto our deck. I’m keeping the birdfeeder full as well. As silly as it seems, I really enjoy their visits. We invested in a hammock, which has helped draw us all outside and provides us with an opportunity to soak in some Vitamin D and relax. I ordered some seeds from Burpee and have been growing herbs, vegetables, and flowers. I’m doing Yoga with Adriene (all of her classes are free on YouTube). I’m reading more books, mostly time travel romance. They’ve proven a wonderful escape. I’m watching the news less, taking it in in small doses so I can stay informed but not overwhelmed. I’m listening to more music. I’m eating healthier, baking more. And I’ve been seeking out ways to help those who are less fortunate.
So tell me, how are you holding up? What sort of strategies are you applying to help make this crisis a bit more bearable? I really want to know.