Let me preface this post by acknowledging how fortunate we have been during this. So many people are sick, dying, or out of work. Or they are forced to continue working in situations that put them at risk of catching the virus. We have been lucky enough to keep our jobs and be able to work from home. Sure, it’s been challenging keeping the kids occupied and happy while also trying to get work done. But that pales in comparison to some of the dangerous and frightening conditions and situations so many people find themselves in.
We are in an unprecedented situation and I’m trying to figure out how to keep a level head even as everything can get so overwhelming. I’m still figuring out how to keep my mind in the right place without spiraling.
We’ve been watching plenty of Frozen and Frozen 2 these days (two kids under 5 years old) and every time I see this quote from Olaf, I think of how apt it is in these current times:
“We’re calling this ‘controlling what you can when things feel out of control’”
Many things I’m doing these days are just me trying to make things feel a little less out of control. Hopefully some of these things also have an actual positive impact on a broader group of people.
Number one, of course, is limiting our physical contact with anyone outside our family. I’ve shifted to grocery shopping only once every 2 weeks, rather than my usual once a week. The trips are more stressful as I navigate the aisles trying to avoid people and get enough food to last us for the next two weeks. And making sure my homemade mask stays put on my face. But limiting those trips helps reduce the chance that we could get/spread the virus. I’ve considered trying the delivery services but time slots are hard to come by and I’d rather let folks who are higher risk or otherwise unable to go grocery shopping have those time slots.
I haven’t set foot at work in over a month (again, we’re lucky enough that we can do a good amount of work at home. I’m not working in the lab right now, but I’m getting a bunch of other things done). It’s definitely a juggling act trying to keep the kids safe and happy while trying to do at least a little bit of teaching (whether it’s practicing writing letters with the older kid or identifying colors and shapes with the younger kid).
We are trying to stay in contact with as many people as possible. So far it’s lots of FaceTime with family and texting with friends. I’m trying to reach out to folks I haven’t heard from in awhile; I’ve found that catching up has really helped both me and the people I’m talking to. We all need to talk! The kids have even been able to have zoom meetings with their daycare classmates, which has been fun for them.
We try to get outside on the nice days. Whether it’s a quick walk, or just having a snack outside with the kids, some sunlight and fresh air (and a little bit of exercise) gets us feeling better.
I’m growing a victory garden. Angela at Tread Light Retire Early had a great post about this. I’ll admit, my garden is basically a sad attempt at getting just a little bit of fresh produce to make me feel a little more secure in our food supply. In a true food crisis, a few tomatoes or pea pods aren’t going to save us. But it helps me feel better having this extra bit. I’ve planted some seeds from some tomatoes we had, and have found some seeds packets I had stashed away that I will try to plant soon. We’re still signed up for our local farm’s CSA, and the last we heard, they’re still planning on doing it, and have added a curbside pickup option to reduce potential viral transmission. So we will hopefully have access to fresh produce one way or another!
I’ve started composting. Well, really at this point it’s more of a squirrel buffet than a compost heap. I’d been meaning to get an actual composter from the town for awhile now (they offer ones at a discount) but it sounds like I won’t be able to get one from our local DPW until the end of May. But I’m getting into the habit, and I like reducing how much we are throwing away. And if we actually get some good compost out of this, it will help with that victory garden.
I’m raising money for Walk For Hunger. I’ve done the Walk for Hunger quite a few times and was going to sign up again this year until they cancelled the event (for obvious reasons). Project Bread turned it into a virtual fund raiser, and I decided to sign up for that. This is a cause I really care about: making sure our most vulnerable neighbors have access to healthy food. Especially now, with so many more people out of work, we really need to help feed folks. Here’s a link to my fundraising page if you’d like to contribute.
How are you coping with the chaos and uncertainty? What has been hardest for you? What has helped you the most?