COVID Log: Day 42
First and foremost, I want to extend my well-wishes to everyone. I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and healthy. I also want to send a huge thank you to all the healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, and all essential workers on the COVID-19 front lines.
Today marks six full weeks since I left New York City and began social distancing with my family in Pennsylvania, though I’ve been self-isolating a little longer than that. It’s strange to think that when I first arrived, I thought I’d only be here for a week or two. Time has somehow been moving quickly and slowly. The days feel long, but the weeks fly by.
Elie recently pointed out something that I hadn’t thought of: this is the first time that I have ever spent so much uninterrupted time with my family. Growing up, there was always school, extracurriculars, spending time with friends and/or boyfriends, and work. Now, it’s me, my parents, my brother, and three dogs under the same roof 24/7.
On one hand, being here has been nice. We had cute little celebrations for both my brother’s and my mom’s birthdays. I’ve been catching up on some movies and TV shows. I walk the dogs around the neighborhood to avoid getting too stir-crazy. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn either makeup or a bra. I have weekly 'zink' (drinking while on Zoom) sessions with Elie, Jane, and Rebecca; and Aubrey and I FaceTime every week to watch Killing Eve. I also started working on some projects, like starting my new post series 'Character Cocktails', re-learning Italian, and rebuilding the family tree I accidentally deleted. I wish I could say I’ve been working out every day and getting in shape, but that would be a lie. I’ve exercised some, but I’ve definitely gained weight. I blame all the delicious home cooking.
On the other hand, however, I really miss the city, my apartment, having a good variety of takeout (we try to support the businesses around here, but many of the restaurants are closed), and being able to go out with friends or even by myself. My mom and I took one trip to the city so I could grab the mail, clear out the fridge, and pick up a few things. It was eerie to see the roads traffic-free and the Lincoln Tunnel basically empty. So many businesses were boarded up. There were people walking around, but not as many as usual, and many wore masks and gloves. It was definitely a different New York from the one I left, and I simultaneously felt the desire to stay and to leave.
If one good thing will come out of this horrible pandemic for me, it is that I have a new appreciation for my career. I am extremely fortunate to be able to work from home during these trying times. When I first accepted a job with my company, I did so with the mindset of ‘it’s not exactly what I envisioned for my life, but it seems like it could be interesting, and it offers much more stability than anything else I was going for’. Now, as the virus affects all of our lives in unprecedented ways, I have never been more proud to say that I acquire, edit, and help publish books for healthcare students and professionals.
There is no denying that the coronavirus will have a lasting impact on our livelihoods. As I write this, there have been close to 3 million confirmed cases and over 205,000 deaths worldwide (Google). In the US, there are over 975,000 confirmed cases and almost 55,000 deaths (Google); and more than 26.5 million people have filed for unemployment over the last five weeks (CNN Business). I know people who have been furloughed, who have been laid off, who had to close the doors of their businesses, who have recovered from the virus, and who have succumbed to the virus. The best thing we can do is continue following the guidelines provided by the CDC and WHO:
Practice social distancing. Stay home as much as possible, and keep six feet apart when out in public.
Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
Wear a cloth face mask when going out in public.
Avoid touching your face.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Cover any coughs or sneezes.
These guidelines should not be new to any of us, but I feel like they’re missing something vital: taking care of our mental health. This is a time filled with stress, anxiety, and grief. Finding the coping methods that work best for us and utilizing them is crucial. My favorite way to de-stress is cuddling with the dogs while reading or watching a movie/show. I also try to reach out to my friends whenever possible, whether it’s via text, call, or video chat. It helps me feel connected despite being physically apart.
I wish you all the best. We will get through this. Stay home. Stay strong. Stay safe. And most importantly, be well.