Confronting Coronavirus: You're Allowed To Feel
Updated: Apr 11, 2020
Monday started out in typical fashion for me—black cup of coffee and cardio conditioning class—and a pandemic virus. Change was looming, but the beginning of the week held promise. Gyms, bars, and restaurants were still open and Miami Beach was swarming with tan spring breakers, invaders who refused to let a little virus stop the party.
I was quite enjoying how empty and sanitized the gym was, but unbeknownst to me, I was squeezing in a final workout— gyms announced nationwide closure just a few hours later. Social distancing and self-quarantine hadn’t permeated the vernacular yet and working from home was an option, not a decree.
News updates are breaking with rapidity and the moments are unpredictable. More than 300,00 people globally have been infected, local economies are suffering, financial markets are in distress. Within a few days thousands of shops nation-wide have closed, employees have been laid-off, school is out of session, toilet paper is scarce, and people are being urged to distance themselves from one another as much as possible—Monday now seems dim and distant.
There’s an indescribable atmosphere outside, a strange pull between isolation and freedom, a mix between pre-hurricane and post-apocalyptic. We can do whatever we want, unless it’s getting drinks at a bar or catching a movie. We’re not required to give up our free will—we can go for a stroll or head to the grocery store, and see other people doing the same. We’re not forced to stay at home, just encouraged to, but in many aspects we are restricted. The tension and uncertainty are palpable, but so is the desire to go about daily life.
It’s difficult to be optimistic when rent is soon due and families need caring for and jobs are being lost and more people are getting sick, but perhaps we can find a silver lining. Maybe this is an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, adapt to working from home, dedicate more time to hobbies that have fallen by the wayside. This could be the time to start a virtual book club with friends, livestream workouts from your living room, tend to your plants, prepare a home-cooked meal. If you’re stressed by unpredictability and financial instability, consider that we might soon be thrown a monetary lifeline, that others sympathize, that this will come to an end, as all things do.
If you’re going stir-crazy, get creative and experimental. Meditate, kickstart your spring cleaning, FaceTime someone you love, work on your yoga practice, find ways to engage with and support the local community (at a safe distance).
Anxiety and fear can be heightened during times of stress. Many of us are facing varying versions and degrees of hardship. When possible, confront your concerns and determine where your anxiety is stemming from. Filter facts from misinformation, remain observant, and remember to be kind to yourself and to others. Above all be safe, be smart, be hopeful.
We will get through this, together.