Covid-19 Pandemic Thoughts
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
I apologize for my word vomit thoughts but here you are reading this poorly written blog about the random thoughts I have been having during this strange time.
When my company implemented WFH Policies, I was only slightly concerned. "This is just precautionary. We are getting ahead of the game if this turns out worse than we think." Transitioning from working at the office to WFH is another story but I am blessed that we implemented the policy sooner rather than later because it gave us an extra week to get "prepared."
Two weeks later, San Francisco implemented Shelter-in-Place. This is when I realized that this is more serious than I thought. Country borders were being closed and I was concerned that domestic flights were going to shut down as well. Therefore, I decided to stay with my sister, for the time being, thinking this will only maybe last a month or two. At 11PM, right before the Shelter-In-Place went into effect in San Francisco, I packed up a suitcase, grabbed my kitty, and returned to the East Coast in Florida.
Taking the flight, I felt guilty. I felt guilty of fleeing to my sister's when some people have nowhere else to go. I felt guilty that I may be risking other lives - after there were so many warnings of avoiding non-essential travels. I brought Clorox wipes to wipe down everything before I touched it and after I left. I avoided touching my face and used purell every time I touched something. I wore an N95 mask that my sister left me, feeling even more guilty that I had one when there is a shortage of PPE.
Stay informed. Stay safe. STAY HOME.
I trusted our leadership (the government) to do what is best for us - it didn't seem dire or urgent at first. I wasn’t taking the pandemic seriously because fear wasn't staring in front of me since the virus is invisible. Since I didn't know anyone yet that had gotten it.
But that's the problem right now.
People are ill-informed. People are hearing misinformation about the virus. People are showing their true colors and being individualistic - hoarding food/toilet paper. What about others who live paycheck-to-paycheck? People are ignoring the warnings.
People think they are invincible because they are young and they will be fine. Listen here buddy, it's not only about you, but it's also about others around you. Just because YOU may not be showing symptoms, YOU can still have it and if YOU are in contact with someone else - they may be going back home to their grandmother can catch the virus. YOU have to take things into your own hands and realize that it's not about YOU. It's about everyone. It's about US. Let's FLATTEN THE CURVE.
Read The New York Times and The Washington Post. Listen to what is happening in other countries. It's happening to us too and it's affecting EVERYONE.
We obviously cannot trust our leadership right now, so we have to take things in our own hands and come together.
Privilege is real and I am inundated by paralyzing thoughts.
Though I am concerned about losing my job since I just started, I am in a space where I know that I am lucky to be where I am; I am privileged to have resources and support from my family and from my company. But not everyone can get where we are today, even if they worked hard. And it really kills me inside. How can I be happy for what I have when others cannot have the same?
This virus has affected us all in many aspects of our lives. People are worried about x, y, z. And I hear these things and wonder - does any of this really matter? All around the world, healthcare workers do not have enough supplies to take care of those who are ill or even themselves. There are not enough tests. The economy has taken a hit and people are losing their jobs but the less fortunate are the ones who are getting affected the most. People are getting infected. People are dying. The future is unknown. This virus is unknown.
It has been five weeks since my company has started WFH and almost two weeks since I have flown to my sisters and started quarantining. I try to stay positive and continue to be a contributing member to society but then I think, am I just ignoring the situation that we have at hand?
Suddenly, things have been put into perspective. What will society look like after this is over? If? The uncertainty is scary.
It has been on a rollercoaster of emotion.
Reducing My Anxiety and What You Can Do Too
I am naturally a pretty anxious human and a total over-thinker. A good friend of mine anchored me down and said, “There is no point in being anxious. It is not helping anyone around you and most definitely not yourself.” And he’s right. Everything may be out of our control but we can control how we respond. Perspective is key.
The things that made me feel less anxious - like rock climbing, cycling, hiking - are things that are much more difficult to do in this predicament.
Therefore, I am learning to channel other ways to calm my anxiety about the pandemic:
Take things day-by-day. The future is never certain, especially in times like these so take it easy. We are all not performing at 100% and that is okay. Accept things the way they are.
Stay informed but take a step back when you need to. Read the right media to be aware of things that are happening but far away enough to not feel overwhelmed. If it is too much - just take a step back.
Do an activity that requires you to stop/reduce over-thinking. I have taken up writing blog posts because it helps me escape. I might pick up a new hobby like cross-stitching. Yes, I am a Grandma, thank you very much. I have also purchased a subscription to Headspace subscription to help me mediate.
Get outside when you can & stay active! Go on a walk/run, soak up some Vitamin D, do some at-home bodyweight exercises! There are youtube videos and apps to help guide you. I have been doing Zoom workouts with a few friends - we set aside time each day to keep each other accountable to stay in shape.
Take time to recognize what means most to you. It's easy to take things for granted but now that we are facing this predicament, reflect on things that truly matter to you and put things in perspective. For me, it's people - which brings me to my last point.
Take advantage of technology to connect with your loved ones and your support system. We all need support in times like these. Call, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat (is this still a thing?), Nintendo Switch, morse code. Whatever. We have to take care of each other.
Be aware of your mental health and those around you.
Go to Benice.org and listen to their podcast to get you started
CDC Recommendations to cope and manage your stress
Do you need to reach a Crisis Counselor? Text HOME to 741741 or read more here
How can we contribute and help the situation?
I have been thinking a little bit about how I can contribute to help in any way I can.
Shop local. Big businesses will survive but our local restaurants and shops may not. Purchase to-go orders from nearby restaurants and gift cards from the local shops.
Donate. As I said before, healthcare workers do not have the necessary tools and PPE to do their jobs. Consider donating to efforts like GoFundMe in securing these items since it is not accessible for all of us to find masks to donate, get access to 3D Printers to make face-shields, or learn how to sew masks. Remember, every little thing matters!
Stay positive. Be more optimistic when you can and realistic when it is needed.