We have been officially been under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders for over a month now, but have been staying home for close to two. Being home so much has given me a lot of time to think, feel and do. Think about my life and how I am feeling. Feel a lot of feelings and put names to them. Do the things that I have been saying I want to do, but have never had the time to do. It has been a weird, but clarifying time for me. I am not saying that I have everything figured out, but it is certainly a great time to learn about yourself. It has also been an interesting journey.
I remember hearing about the first death from Covid-19 in the United States at the end of February. The death happened less than a mile from my home. Then, within a few days there were four more deaths. They also happened less than a mile from my home. I am thankful for my health and that these deaths were not people I know, but the proximity took me aback. I felt paralyzed with so many emotions: fear, confusion, worry.
When I heard about these things happening in my little town, it was surreal. This was before social distancing had really started being pushed, before stay-at-home orders were put into place and really before anyone understood the potential gravity of the situation. So having the place I lived thrust into the national spotlight, was a lot. So much was still unknown and I didn’t understand what we needed to do to protect ourselves.
Shortly after this happened, our area started practicing extreme social distancing, everything was shutting down and people began to understand just how serious this may be. At the time, the Seattle area was the only area that had seen a significant outbreak. I remember looking on social media and seeing people mock, belittle or downplay the situation and this illness. It felt defeating. It felt frustrating. It felt confusing.
I was living in a place where more and more people were being infected and dying by the day and people were trying to say it was not a big deal or it was just another cold. Meanwhile, our grocery stores were cleared out. You couldn’t find paper products anywhere. People were in a panic. There was no guidance for what to do. All you could do was worry.
Shortly after this, New York became the epicenter and much of the attention was off of Seattle. My heart went out to everyone there and understood what they were feeling and going through.
At this point, I have had time to sit with my feelings. Think through the phases I have gone through and been able to put names to what I was feeling. Af first I went through a phase of debilitating fear. I was just so scared of what was going on, I didn’t feel like I could do anything else. Then there was concern, concern over how this would affect my family and myself. There have been a lot of feelings since then. It has been interesting to go through all of these feelings, while also having the time to really think about them. To really figure out what it is that I am feeling.
Everyone deals with situations like these differently. Some people need to not do anything, or take things slow, others need to find ways to make themselves busy every moment of every day. I fall somewhere in between. After my initial shock and shut down, I have made it my mission to do things that make me feel more normal. I need to do things every day, whether that is cleaning, going for a walk, working or pursuing something creative. Whatever it is, I need to feel like I have accomplished something every day. Maybe it is only one thing, but I need that thing. It make me feel like things are more normal.
For the past month or so, I have been making my to do lists and trying to accomplish at least half of the things on them each day. I have set a goal for myself to go on at least one walk a day, do at least 30 minutes of cleaning and one creative thing. There are 24 hours in a day, I can take 2 of those hours to accomplish my goals. These things help my feel more normal. They help me feel like that regardless of what is going on in the world, I am still myself.
It is a weird time. Realistically, I take things one day at a time, which is all any of us can do. I don’t have a true point to this post, but wanted to share how I have been feeling and thinking throughout this pandemic. Until next time, friends… CML