Last week, I was home sick with a normal cold — no fever, wet cough, progressing like my normal colds. I spent the week half-napping and binge-reading paranormal romances, half doing my day-job from home and vegging. Paying a little attention to the news.
By Friday, when I started to feel well enough to socialize? The state of Virginia had been told we should be “socially distancing” ourselves. I didn’t even know what that meant until a week ago.
My last hurrah was a D&D game with 5 friends and 3 pies, for Pi day. With D&D, you only touch your own dice and mini figure, and the host’s table is LARGE so were pretty spread out. We still all washed our hands 10 times and did our best to keep our distances.
I know I’m one of the fortunate ones. I’d already stocked up on groceries when I started coming down with my cold, I have plenty of toilet paper, and a day-job that easily supports work-from-home.
Watching the guidelines roll out, with 2 weeks turning into 4 weeks hinting at 8 weeks or more, I saw those conventions I was so excited to panel at just last week have to close their doors. They’ve tried to reschedule, there are rumors of trying to run a few things online, but the cons themselves aren’t happening.
With a death-rate ten times that of the flu, and a lack of any vaccine or natural immunity making the choice to let it just run its course look like a natural disaster on a scale not seen outside of war and/or the history books, I can’t blame them. I understand.
But it hurts.
I was so excited and proud.
Now? I’m just bummed and fighting anxiety.
I’m worried for my friends with high-risk factors — age, wellness, public service sector jobs. Worried for my friends who are going to lose their jobs — their healthcare, their food access, their homes. And hoping the grocery stores keep managing to restock.
I’m a bit type-A, so once I realized I’d be working full time from home, I set up a folding table so I could see 3 laptops and a monitor at the same time. Couch-working, like I did when I was home sick last week? Isn’t really set up for full-time work.
Next? I took inventory of all my food and grocery items, just to reassure myself I’d be okay. Seriously. On a pad of paper — down to calculating servings per meal and doses of meds.
It reassured me at first. Until the 8+ weeks part started to spread and I realized, my calm, “totally handling this” self was having trouble falling asleep. I guess I’ll have to stop avoiding the grocery store at some point, but not for a few weeks yet.
I know I’m going to start getting cabin fever at some point. I’m an ambivert and going INTO social isolation after a week home sick really just belabors the point. So, I’ve taken a few steps to try and ward off the inevitable. (Remember: Type A)
5 Things I’m Doing On My Own
- I’m keeping to my same wake/sleep/work schedule that I do when I have to go into the office.
- I’m getting dressed, not just staying in my pajamas all day.
- I’m making sure to stop and eat regular meals, not just snacking all day, like work-from-home can so often turn into.
- I’m taking a walk a day (weather permitting), to try and get some steps in, get some fresh air, and keep from sitting at my desk 16 hours a day.
- I’m stepping away from my computer for at least an hour between the end of my day-job workday and the start of my writing time.
It’s scary, not knowing when this is going to end. Not knowing when or if things will ever get back to normal. I like to plan, and you can’t plan unless you know when an emergency will be over.
So, it’s more important than ever to keep in touch with Team You. The people who love and support you. The people who brighten your life and enrich it. The people who can distract you from the news for more than 5 minutes.
4 Ways I’m Socially Connecting
- I’ve participated in a live-stream author write-in. It’s a great way to socialize with other writers, online where it’s ‘safe’, and actually get some writing sprints in. I plan to join more.
- I’m calling friends or family at least once or twice a day, to hear a voice other than the one inside my head, or on my telecon.
- Some of my weekly hangouts with friends look like they may be going online. A voice-chat editing session with my Anansi Storytime people, Netflix Party with some friends to watch a movie or tv. Just hanging out and chatting, only from more than just a chair away.
- And obviously, there’s that whole “Morgan has a social media addiction” thing.
It’s tough. It’s scary. We’re all worried.
But, I do know one thing. I can’t make it through this alone.
If you’ve been told to ‘socially distance’ yourself, how are you handling it?
How is your workplace handling it?
If you are one of the amazing people on the frontlines of this thing (medical professionals, food service/grocery, cleaning), how are you holding up?
P.S. I cope by using a lot of gallows humor. Anyone got some good pandemic memes?