After a week of working alone amid the COVID-19 outbreak and Ohio’s Stay at Home order, I am finding myself losing track of time.
My normal life – which I’m already beginning to think of as my “old life” had a rhythm to it. Outside of my regular work schedule, I belonged to a very cool and energetic group of avid hikers. We hit the trails every Tuesday and Saturday. I enjoyed Master’s swimming on Wednesdays and Fridays. I worked out at the gym with a good friend on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. I practiced yoga at my gym every Sunday with a really great instructor. I was training for a local marathon with a running friend. And, Thursdays were for recharging my battery – relaxing, reading, and just enjoying life.
But, amid COVID-19, my gym is closed. My friends are banished to their own homes. And, while I am allowed to run outside all I like as long as I can maintain a six foot “social distance,” I am working longer hours and I have less time and energy to spare. My schedule has been upended. My days are running together.
Yesterday was Friday, but it was late afternoon before I realized it.
But, please do not think I am complaining. I’m well and so far my family and friends are all safe and in good health. There are more than 100,000 people sick with COVID-19 in the United States today and over 46,000 people sick in New York alone and my thoughts go out to all of those who are suffering. And, of course, I am worried about what is coming. Because the medical community is telling us – as loudly and as vehemently as they can – that things are about to get much worse. There will be new hot spots and a huge increase in the number of sick people. There won’t be enough resources for everyone. Their fear is palpable. Life might never be the same for any of us.
It feels overwhelming. It would be easy to default to survival mode and just focus on getting through each day, feeling ever more stressed as nightfall leaves me tossing and turning and unable to fully rest at the end of each day. That’s where I think I’ve been the last couple of weeks – just surviving. But, I am hoping that I can do a little better than that. Because no matter how bad things get, there is little I can do to help anyone else, if I am falling apart.
So, I am trying to figure out my new normal. I need to give my “new life” a rhythm to make it meaningful and safe and frankly to manage my stress so that I can keep myself together in the long run. I’m not sure what normal is going to end up looking like for me. It’s a work in progress. And, as the situation develops, there will likely be new challenges. But, I will be back to let you know. If you are finding your own new normal, please comment and let me know. I think this is a time to share. Share your knowledge. Share your experience. Share your new normal.
Also: Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and stay home if you can.