I call it the Coronavirus 80’s flashback. For me the word quarantine conjures up images of Elliot and ET surrounded by a sterile plastic tent and giant adults in white hazmat suits. Maybe Steven Spielberg knew something we didn’t.
When the quarantine came into effect, my momma bear instincts immediately took over. I felt power in making my nest safe and secure for everyone in it. The first weekend was oddly fun…Monopoly (I won both times), puzzles, happy hour with a great cheese platter. Texts and emails of toilet paper panic rooms and talking dogs made us laugh, even if it was nervous laughter. I was glued to the news.
As I write this blog, we are heading into week 3 of quarantine. The novelty has worn thin. Lines have been drawn and territories established on who hangs out where during the day. My family and I operate with a loose routine of school, eating, work, eating, exercise, eating, cooking, eating, cleaning, eating and relaxing. Oh yeah…and eating.
My weekly outing of grocery shopping, armed with a mask and gloves, has earned me a masters in sanitation. Coming home from the market is an exercise in mental madness. Have I disinfected the packaging? Is the produce clean? Did I disinfect with the clean exposed hand, the gloved hand, or both? Should I wash my hands again? How long does it take for the virus to die on which surface? Can the virus really live that long in the freezer? My head hurts thinking about it.
I find images of the Coronavirus quite beautiful and provocative. Such irony for something so deadly. With its beautiful curves dotted with barnacles, I imagine it floating in the ocean and not wreaking havoc on dry land. Am I in panic mode? Absolutely not. Are the extreme measures and sacrifices being made necessary? I’m not sure, but my great grandmother died of the great Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 so I’m compelled to follow best practices.
How am I taking back control when the world feels out of control? How am I managing my anxiety and fears with this unpredictable situation? While some days are better than others, I’m finding ways of Discovering my Power, My Way to get from one moment to the next. My DYP Emergency Kit during quarantine includes:
- Acceptance – I accept this is happening. It is my belief, the only thing I can control is myself and my immediate environment as best I can. Acceptance helps me find peace and move forward.
- Alone time – There are one too many cooks in my kitchen right now. I’m an introvert and all this togetherness can be a little much at times. Aside from work, I carve out an hour a day to go on a walk, watch my favorite tv show (I’m obsessed with Mad Men), read or whatever to recharge my emotional batteries.
- Community – Whether I want to or not, I call at least 2-3 people a day to feel connected.
- Environment – I work from home, and I’m not used to sharing my office with 3 other people. To create a positive working environment, I might meditate before I begin, light a candle or listen to music with headphones. This helps to keep me focused and inspired.
- Exercise – Keep on moving and the endorphins flowing. It makes me feel good and alive.
- Family – They are a force of nature which got me through cancer three times. We’ve got this!
- G-d – My faith reminds me I am never alone and is a constant source of strength.
- Gratitude & Silver Linings –I’m grateful my family and I are healthy, we have a house with enough space and a backyard, and ample food and supplies. The silver linings of the virus include seeing community come together, the kindness of strangers, my kids starting school later, trying out new recipes, indulging in a few more treats and watching more television than usual without the guilt, no carpool and rushing around, faith, hope and reminders of what real heroes are. Without gratitude nothing else matters to me.
- Hygiene – Most days, after a morning workout, I shower, get dressed (not sweats) and do my hair. If I’m in a funk I put on make-up. This daily ritual sets a positive tone for the day.
- Mantras – “This too shall pass.” I say it to myself multiple times a day, and I truly believe it.
- Nature – The Southern California weather has not disappointed. Every day I spend time outside with the sun on my face, my bare feet on the ground and watching spring bloom before my eyes. I’m completely obsessed with the birds devouring from the feeder. Nature calms me.
- Quarantine Protocol – I’m follow doctor’s orders…practicing social distancing, staying home except for essentials, washing hands, being mindful of not touching my face, keeping things clean and sanitized when I can, not gathering in large groups, and wearing my mask and gloves in public places. With a compromised immune system from cancer, this is the best I can do to stay healthy in addition to diet and exercise. This gives me a small sense of control.
- Routine – There is no exact routine in place but my daily to do list includes work, shower, exercise, Mad Men and family dinner. My routine keeps me a little more sane.
- Sending boundaries – Shy of cold turkey, I now only read the newspaper and one on-line news source. With my head in the sand approach, ignorance is sometimes bliss.
- Therapy – A weekly Facetime appointment allows me to let off steam and find perspective.
These are some of the things which are working for me, but it’s not perfect. I have emotional days and feelings of uncertainty. Our family gets cabin fever and we take a break when we need it. On occasion, I hideout in my closet. Nothing is fool proof, but like most people, we are doing the best we can. My emergency kit is an on-going process, what works today may not work tomorrow. With absolute confidence and certainty, I know my personal power will help me ride this storm. With absolute confidence and certainty, I know each of us possesses our own personal power to get through this, because our power is unlimited and everywhere, as long as we are open to the possibilities. Please share how you #DYPQuarantine, your #DYPemergencykit and how you are #Discovering Your Power, Your Power.