In mid-March, I wrote a post about the craziness that was coming down surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At the time, everything was starting to close down in the United States, but I was still going to work until right after I published that post. I went grocery shopping the day before that post. Many things had announced closure for 2 weeks.
But this pandemic continually changes things, sometimes on a weekly if not daily basis. The day after that post I began working from home. I haven’t been back to the campus and I’m not allowed to go. Officially, that has been extended into summer. I’m truly grateful to be employed and to have a job that will allow me to work from home. The latest number of unemployment claims in the United States is 36 million, the highest since the Great Depression!
Public schools were closed for 2 weeks, then 4, and now children are finishing the school year at home. High school seniors will not have the usual end of year experiences. My son will not be in his first-grade teacher’s classroom again. We were instructed to do guided homeschool, which has been challenging.
The stay at home orders remains in effect in some places and not others. In Tennessee, for example, they’ve been lifted and we are wondering if we will now see a spike in illnesses. In the United States, they are discovering between 20,000-30,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day and the death rate is sure to go up. How long will this go on?
We don’t know.
On top of that, the Southeast experienced tornados on Easter Sunday. An EF3 hit Chattanooga and dozens lost their homes and some lost their lives. Thousands went without power for a week or more and lost some of the contents of their refrigerators and freezers. This is concerning during a time of partial food shortages, especially the meat industry.
Now there are wildfires in Florida, forcing people to evacuate their homes. Hurricane season begins in just a couple weeks and they are predicting stronger storms this year. Natural disasters just add to the stress people are experiencing.
Everything seems uncertain and distressing.
But positivity abounds
The Kitten Academy, featured in my other post, celebrated a new litter of kittens one month ago. I’ve featured photos of their kittens again because it’s something cute and positive and happy.
Our local school district provided Chromebook computers to students who needed them. Several internet companies provided internet for free to low-income families. The school district has even been providing meals for students who need them. People who received their stimulus checks in the last month are donating portions (or all) to those who need it more. Many funds have been set up to help the tornado victims in several states.
A chance to slow down
We’ve been given an opportunity to slow down. There’s no daily rat race to get from one place to another. No lessons to rush to, no errands to run, no places to be. Minimalist Seth Riley wrote an article and it echoes my thoughts: if we are healthy and safe, we are blessed. We have this rare opportunity to reassess our values and behaviors to decide what really matters to us.
“This is a rare chance to take stock. Through all of the anxiety, we still have the option to start practicing those values we usually ignore and, with all of the closures and cancellations, we have been given the blankest slate we can ever expect to receive.” -Seth Riley
Lots of people are trying to use this time to do new things or to be creative, but it’s ok if you aren’t. Courtney Carver wrote a post on staying calm during an anxious time. It is a good time to think and reevaluate your life, however. Here’s a good article from Joshua Becker about things you can do during this time – they are not all life-changing things. Activities as simple as going outside, teaching your children a new game, or simply reading.
“May the silver lining of today’s crisis be that we get the opportunity to think about how we really want to live, serve, connect, create and BE in our new normal.” –Courtney Carver
We have had more time to spend outdoors. We have more time together. We planted a garden. We ate dinner on the patio. We have time for evening walks. We literally flew a kite!
Maybe it’s a good time to let go
Some are using this time to declutter or even go minimalist, and let go of mental and physical clutter. At the very least, maybe it is a good time to reassess and simplify. The Minimalists released a good article on reevaluating our belongings. Here’s an article from Courtney Carver about how to start during the quarantine. Becoming Minimalist recently launched an app called Clutterfree. You can try it for free before paying the monthly subscription. Here’s some advice from minimalist Joshua Becker:
“It’s a good exercise in reminding us that we just don’t need a lot of the stuff that we have. When times are bad, having each other, having your health (is most important). We can do with a lot less and I think that’s an important lesson I want my kids to understand… Be grateful for what you have and be ready to share it when the time comes.” –Michelle Obama
What about remaining eco-friendly?
If you’re trying to remain eco-friendly during this quarantine and struggling, know that you are not alone. It’s obviously harder to maintain an eco-friendly or zero waste lifestyle right now. I’ve had to struggle with unwanted plastics in my grocery deliveries and curbside pickups. Bulk bins foods are not available and it’s harder to get my usual products in glass. As one of my favorite zero wasters, Kathryn Kellogg wrote in her book ((101 Ways To Go Zero Waste), regarding having plastic water bottles in her emergency kit: it’s ok if every part of your life is not zero waste. “Putting your health and safety in jeopardy in the name of wanting to reduce trash is silly.” This is especially true right now.
Be gentle to yourself, allow yourself time to evaluate, meditate, and reassess everything. Decide what is most important to you. Let this time of fear and stress also be a time of mental clarity. Love those close to you and call the people you can’t see right now.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe.