What a Crazy Time with Coronavirus (and more cute kittens), Part 2

Last updated on March 28, 2024.

Kitten on pink blanketAll kitten images in this article are from the Kitten Academy.1

In mid-March, I wrote an article 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 article, and I went grocery shopping the day before. 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 returned to the campus and cannot go because it is closed. Officially, that has been extended into summer. I’m truly grateful to be employed and have a job allowing 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 homeschooling, which has been challenging.

The stay-at-home orders remain 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 and 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.

Kitten on blue and white carpet

Uncertainty

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 in 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 add to the stress people are experiencing.

Everything seems uncertain and distressing.

Kitten on leopard print

But positivity abounds

The Kitten Academy, featured in Part 1, celebrated a new litter of kittens. I’ve featured photos of their kittens again because it’s something cute, positive, and happy.

Our local school district provided Chromebook computers to students who needed them. Several internet companies provide 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. People have set up funds to help the tornado victims in several states.

Kitten on blue and white carpet

A chance to slow down

We’ve been allowed 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. 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 Riley2

Many people are trying to use this time to do new things or be creative, but it’s ok if you aren’t. Stay calm. It is a good time to think and reevaluate your life, however. Joshua Becker wrote an article about things you can do with your family during this time (linked below). These include activities such 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!

My son flying a kite in the backyard.
My son flying a kite in the backyard. Photo by Marie Cullis.

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 your life. I’ve included some articles on minimalism below under Additional Resources.

“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 Obama3

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 harder to maintain an eco-friendly or zero-waste lifestyle right now. I’ve struggled with unwanted plastics in my grocery deliveries and curbside pickups. Bulk bins foods are no longer 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.

Kitten on pink blanket

Be gentle to yourself, and 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.

 

Additional Resources:

Article, “25 Things to Do with Your Family While Stuck at Home,” by Joshua Becker, becomingminimalist.com, accessed May 16, 2020.

The Minimalists released a good article on reevaluating our belongings.

An article from Courtney Carver about how to start during the quarantine.

Here’s a video with advice from minimalist Joshua Becker.

Footnotes:

What a Crazy Week with Coronavirus (and cute kittens)

Last updated on March 28, 2024.

Adorable black and white kittenAll kitten images in this article are from the Kitten Academy.1

This has been a crazy week! I’ve been working on part 2 of my article about the packaging industry, but I wanted to pause and write about the recent turmoil. Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside down across the globe. The constant news updates, travel bans, canceled trips, closures of schools and organizations, and cancellations of classes, conferences, and appointments.

Besides sympathy for those hit by the virus and the fear of contracting it, our daily lives have changed for an undefined amount of time. Everything has been canceled for the next 2-3 weeks, but it could go on far longer than that. We really don’t know what’s going to happen, because this is unprecedented. There are so many things to worry about and it’s all a bit much at once.

Adorable black and white kitten

Adorable Kittens from Kitten Academy

I thought I’d feature cute images of kittens in this post to make people feel happy and warm, even if just for a few minutes. My office mate and I often livestream the kittens in our office from Kitten Academy’s youtube and they’re a nice break between tasks. Those who stop by our office notice the kittens and almost always comment or ask about them. A few will sit and watch them while chatting with us.

Adorable black and white kitten

Now, I feel the kittens are really important. The campus I work on is closed but we still have to go to work. We are supposed to mostly confine ourselves to our offices. So my office mate and I will at least have each other to talk to, and the kittens will brighten our day a little.

Which brings me to you, dear readers. The next few weeks or months may be very trying. So let me ask:

Do you have kittens in your life?Adorable black and white kitten

What I’m really asking is, what do you have in your life that is solid, constant, warm, happy, and brings you joy? Is it a person, your family, or a pet? Reading a good book next to the fireplace? Long walks in nature? Finding time to finish that sewing project, or jigsaw puzzle, or finally learning how to make vegan cinnamon rolls from scratch? Spending more time with your spouse? Perhaps additional time to write, or do yoga. Maybe you want time to simply throw a ball with your child in the backyard. Or perhaps it’s finding time for a (cat)nap. We should use this time to focus our energies on those things…and just slow down.

For me, it’s all of those. But the thing that brings me the most joy is having more time with my son. I’ve already gotten to spend some extra outdoor time with him, doing nothing but play and exploration. We chased bubbles and played in the mud, and it was awesome!

Inspiration and Positivity still abound

All of the bloggers I follow have published positive posts this week, and I found them inspiring and full of hope. We will get through this! Here are a few of my favorite reads from this week:

14 Achievable Tasks to Help Declutter Your Home While Stuck Inside by Joshua Becker. While he provides tips on how to stay productive if you’re homebound, he also writes that now’s a really good time to focus on being less busy. I couldn’t agree with this notion more, especially for myself. I have not yet managed to minimalize the tasks in my life.

“Spending a few extra hours or days over the coming weeks at home with family may be just what we need as a society.” 

Weekend Favorites: the comparison trap, broken news and comfort music by Courtney Carver. She writes about the heartbreaking decision to cancel her book tour that just started. She acknowledges that while it was something really special, it will be special again. “We are going to get through this together,” she writes so positively.

“What a year this week has been.”

Let’s Talk About the Coronavirus by Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists, who have postponed their current tour. Millburn encourages us to be mindful of our activities and behavior so that we limit the spread of the virus, but also to not panic. We will get through this.

“We never look in the rearview and wish we would have panicked more.”

Take a Break from Breaking News by Courtney Carver. While this article does not specifically reference coronavirus, it does have a positive message to take a break from the constant stream of news. We can catch up at set times so that our minds are not inundated with negative information all day long. Frankly, the frequent updates related to coronavirus are more than we can process at once.

“In the morning, don’t rush out of bed. Take in the birdsong. Brew a pot of coffee.”

Mel Robbins On How To Stay Centered With Coronavirus Anxiety Swirling on Youtube. In this video, she talks a lot about fear and anxiety and how to overcome those feelings.

“This moment is an opportunity for growth, even if it doesn’t feel like one right now. How about we go through these next weeks or months and help one another stay centered in our strength and our spirit.”

Social distancing doesn’t have to doom your weekends. We have ideas from CNN. This article offers a lot of positive, great ideas about how to spend time alone or with others virtually during this quarantine period.

“Social distancing doesn’t mean your weekend is doomed. You just have to get a little creative.”

The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’ from The Atlantic. This is the best article I’ve read yet that describes what to do in our real, everyday lives.

Adorable black and white kittens

Thanks for reading, please subscribe! Leave me a comment below about how you’re using new found time at home. Stay positive and strong!

 

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