Will we have any sanity left when this is over? And what does “over” mean in this context? “Over” isn’t going to be just escaping or surviving (hopefully) the virus, but also the resulting economic havoc that is being wrought every day that we are in lockdown.
We have no idea what to expect because we, none of us, has ever seen anything like this before. This is uncharted territory.
Mind you, I absolutely agree that these measures are necessary, and had we done it sooner, we might well have avoided what we are now facing in the next few weeks. A tsunami so different that none of us know exactly what to expect – other than it’s going to be bad, very bad. We need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Yes, like everyone else, I’m frightened and anxious. It’s like the enemy that we can’t see but know is coming, stealthily, invisibly until it’s upon us and too late.
And then, of course, there are the people who don’t believe this pandemic is real – don’t understand that it’s up to all of us to avoid contamination so that we don’t infect others. It’s a matter of life and death.
If you know a doubter who needs convincing, or you’re uncertain yourself, here’s a lighthearted but very poignant shortclip from the comedy Scrubs, 14 years ago, that shows with green the infection path and why this is so deadly. Take a look, here.
Fear and Anxiety
Everyone has their own personal reasons why they are afraid. In my case, two of my closest family members work in the medical field, at a major hospital where they and their housemate will certainly be exposed, and another close family member works in a public facing service role where he is as I type this.
Some family members have compromised heath which means they are more susceptible to death when, not if, they become infected. I’m hopeful that we can keep them safe long enough for the worst to be over, for the virus to mutate to a less deadly form, or a vaccine to be developed. Yes, we’re still allowed to hope.
One of my best friends along with a police officer was exposed to the virus this week in her role as a medical professional. Another friend played cards with a person who was later confirmed to have the virus. And then there are my friends in NYC and in the epicenter outside of Seattle.
This is just the beginning and today will look like the good old days soon.
As I said to someone yesterday, now when I tell someone that I love them, or goodbye, the gravity and importance of those words weighs heavy upon my heart.
Lockdown and Me
I’ve been trying to decide how to appropriately handle this situation and my blog.
I don’t want to seem unconcerned and glib by ignoring the situation that is changing the everyday life of every single person – immediately – as people transition to working at home with their home-working spouses and children not at school. Or, worse, transition to not having a job or income at all. That’s not a transition, it’s a bomb.
But then again, I don’t want to allow this to overtake my entire life either. I certainly hope there is a life worth living after Covid-19.
It seems to be that there has to be a balance of some sort – and I’m trying to find it. And I’m taking you along with me through my articles.
A Way Forward
I will from time to time run a “pressure relief valve” type of article. I’ll be sharing what I’m doing to try to retain what shreds of sanity I have left. Maybe asking for or sharing hints and tips. Kind of like we are just having coffee or tea and talking.
I don’t know what I’ll have to say in these articles, because I’ve never lived through anything this momentous before.
Life will go on, somehow – just differently, and sadly, probably without some of the people who are here now.
In addition to an occasional Pandemic article, I’ll also run my regular articles so that there is some semblance of normalcy – plus – you may have extra time now to work on your genealogy! There has to be a silver lining someplace, right?
There’s a section at the end of this article that you may enjoy with several goodies.
Working at Home
I don’t know how many of you have worked from home previously, but I’ve had a home office for years now and I love it.
Structure is important, especially in terms of making time for other family members, and other activities.
I should talk, because it’s literally 1:30 in the morning and I’m “working” by writing this article.
I would wager that you’ve already guessed that I really enjoy writing and that activity brings a level of composure to my life. I feel like I’m organizing things and helping others at the same time.
Writing helps me gather my thoughts and in terms of genealogy and genetics, to organize my research.
Make sure your work area is comfortable and that you get up and walk around at least once an hour. Go outside (just not around other people) and enjoy some sunshine. Exercise in some way.
Meter the Bad News
I’m to the point where I almost hate to open my eyes every morning because right now, there’s always bad news. Everyone needs an emotional break, so I’ve implemented a metering system.
I do check in the morning, because if I need to actually know or do something, I do not wish to be ignorant. Plus, I have those immediate family members in harms way, daily. For me, the anxiety of not knowing is worse than the anxiety of knowing the worst, but everyone is different.
I also read a chapter of an ongoing “book” that the Appalachian Storyteller author, Stephen Hollen, posts every single morning on his personal page on Facebook. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to this. He might be responsible for any sanity I have left in the end😊. I will actually grieve when this series is finished.
I check CNN but I do not check what I consider to be inflammatory news sources – ever. I’ve taken a “just the facts” approach.
I do check the headlines 2 or 3 times a day for “big news,” but that’s it. Big news today is the earthquake in Salt Lake City. I’m glad all of my friends there are checking in, shaken (literally) but OK.
If there is truly something critical, I will notice it on FaceBook which I also monitor periodically, but not constantly.
In the evening, I watch one particular program that provides a factual summary of the day’s important news.
In other words, I control the amount and timing of what I’m exposed to. Otherwise, I’d just be overwashed with constant negativity.
Everyone has their own “go to” activities that make them feel better. Self-medicating, hopefully in a healthy way. Mine are, in no particular order:
- Genetic genealogy
- Writing (articles like this, 52 ancestor stories, etc.)
I have trouble concentrating on the first three items if something else is bothering me. I think genealogy requires too much analytical skill when I’m stressed and reading allows my mind to wander off. But quilting forces me to focus just enough that I can escape almost anything – maybe because it requires both body and mind.
I make care quilts for others which is a personal mission of sorts.
I shipped this one of those overnight on Monday and it arrived Tuesday morning to wrap the recipient in love. This is a signature quilt from this person’s dear friends, so I’ve blurred some of the blocks on purpose for privacy, but you can see the love nonetheless.
I also made a laptop sleeve and power supply bag over the last few days out of quilted scraps from my DNA vest. My laptop sleeve was a RootsTech casualty. This is much more “me” than a boring old black sleeve anyway and maybe with this ditty bag for the power supply, I won’t lose another one of those either. Fingers crossed.
Social distancing is not new for me. Not only have I worked at home for a long time, but I’m not fond of stores and crowds. I’m perfectly happy staying at home and working on my genealogy or other projects most of the time.
In fact, several genealgists that I know are gleeful to be forced to stay at home and isolate. Do I ever understand that. A few others aren’t as pleased, because now their entire family is at home and they can’t get much genealogy done.
However, this is week 3 for me. Lots of people were ill at and following RootsTech, so I have pretty much stayed home and away from others since my return. I’ve been fine – no symptoms – but if I was going to get sick, I didn’t want to become typhoid Roberta.
I’ve never thought about social distancing much, at least not as as we now know it, until the past couple of weeks. Now as the restrictions tighten, of course every thought is measured against social distancing and what would be required, or risked. How to minimize exposure.
While we aren’t under a complete lockdown where I live, schools, restaurants and bars are closed and most people are working from home. The next step would be to “shelter in place” which I expect soon.
I’d rather do that than suffer the alternative.
Activities in Isolation
Today, my husband and I inventoried the pantry to see what we really have, and now long our food supply will last. Never did I imagine I’d ever be doing this, at least not for this reason. We discovered that we have 3 boxes of Rice-a-Roni and a whole lot of other things we had forgotten about. Who knew!!
We also have a couple cans of Spam that worked their way to the back corner. They are out of date, of course, but if we are hungry, we’re not going to care and we’d be grateful for food. Clearly, Spam would not be my first choice. I’m not sure who bought those cans or why, because I guarantee you – they weren’t on my shopping list.
We might just have a little contest to see who can come up with the most innovative creation – kind of like one of those cooking shows. Anyone for Spam-a-Roni?? Maybe fried Spam and gravy? Now that doesn’t sound too bad.
Based on what I’m seeing on Facebook, I’m thinking a whole lot of people are going to get to learn to cook “from scratch” over the next few weeks.
Having had so much luck with the pantry inventory, I suggested we start spring cleaning, which sent my husband scurrying into hibernation – self-isolating in his office. That’s OK, I really didn’t want to clean anyway.
Instead, I did a number of other things, including;
- Worked on client’s Y DNA report (normal activity for me)
- Published The Million Mito Project article (is that cool or what!!!)
- Spoke with friend whose husband is gravely ill ☹ (not virus related, but very tough especially since his family can’t come to visit)
- Petted the cats (which according to them I haven’t done in years)
- Watched Blaine’s free webinar (still free today), LucidChart and Other Tools for Genetic Genealogy at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. I need to try MedBetterDNA.
- Email, which is never-ending and increasing now because, hey, I needed to know how stores the American Girl Doll stores are handling the Covid-19 issue
- Made 3 quilt blocks
Quilting – now we’re finally to the really fun stuff.
When the going gets rough, I quilt.
It was St. Patrick’s Day, and even though that somehow got lost in the hubbub, I decided to work on a green quilt block to share with my online Genea-Quilter peeps. I grabbed the block with green, thinking it was the St. Patty’s Day block.
I discovered it was Christmas instead. Guess that one’s done several months early.
Did I mention that I had help?
Meet Kitters. She and her sister, Chai, steal my pins and deposit them in their food dish and in my husband’s shoes. Gifts of the highest order.
If you have pets, be sure you have enough food for them too and shower them with extra love and attention. You’ll both benefit.
This unfinished quilt project has been laying around for some time, so I decided to make another block.
Yes, this one actually IS the St. Patty’s Day block.
And one more for good measure. We’re supposed to get more snow this weekend, so this is appropriate.
Helpful and Uplifting Links
Thank goodness for the internet – that’s all I can say. While we are distanced physically, we can still stay in touch with people – can still interact and share.
Music is incredibly uplifting and soothing. I suggest going to YouTube, enter the name of your favorite artist, and just listen. You can also create playlists there and on your phone or iPad as well. Music helps us vocalize or express what we can’t ourselves.
Here’s a list of inspirational and useful links for your enjoyment:
- Here’s possibly my all-time favorite song (and performer) – Joseph Groban in You Raise Me Up. This pandemic has brought home just how much we truly are dependent on the actions of each other. We must raise each other up and protect each other, now, as never before. Please listen to this soul-moving beauty.
- Celine Dion and Josh Groban, The Prayer – this one is for you! I often play this, close my eyes and just listen – but watch it the first time because the visuals are amazing too. Melts my heart.
- Here’s “Ode to Joy” played by musicians in a neighborhood Spain under lockdown.
- This pianist and jazz musician is my favorite “virus video,” both playing from separate balconies.
- Applause from balconies in Spain as people expressed their gratitude for Spain’s doctors. Doctors, medical professionals and first responders are literally on the front line risking their lives.
- My article, Fun Genealogy Activities for Trying Times
- Judy Russell with some additional ideas in Opportunity Knocking.
- Looking for beauty that combines nature, gardens, flowers and inspiration? Try my other blog, Victory Garden, Day by Day.
- I’m not LDS nor encouraging or recommending any particular religion, but preparation for being without food for a year is part of the LDS scripture. You can see what is recommended for adults and children for a year, here, and about food storage, here.
Sharing is Caring
Now that I’ve shared all of the excitement at my house, what are you doing, both to prepare for what’s approaching and as a way to keep your sanity as you implement social distancing? How are you coping? Where are you finding peace and solace?
Sharing is caring – a coping mechanism, a way of making our burdens seem lighter because we’re not alone, even though we’re socially distanced, so please share. Your ideas and comments may help someone else.
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