The warmth of the sun felt good on my face, as I leaned into our backyard fence. My neighbor came walking up her driveway, wearing a pulling the trash can under the carport. Madison walks towards me as I ask her, " How are you surviving his stay at home order. I re-adjust my homemade mask as she relates how her week at home with four kids has been going. Each of us pull up a plastic outdoor chair; mine blue, hers green. This begins our first conversation to become one of many to chat or actually vent our shared frustrations. Madison, sighs admitting that for three out of her four children online lessons allow the kids to video chat with their classmates. The youngest child, Ashlyn clings to her, not used to having her siblings at home with her all day.
I ask, "Where are you getting news about the virus?" She answers CBS and I answer Fox news. I continue to ask her another question, " How are you identifying trust-worthy information?" We discovered among those digital displays advertising continuously: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and Verizon are other sources we agree we have as outreach to the news concerning the COVID-19 virus. We each gave a nervous laugh, as we panic when we hear a cough or a sneeze out in public. Both of us agreed although we are practicing social distancing, we are beginning to speak to those we encounter.
I ask Madison, " Can I spend time with Ashlyn while the other kids; Jordan, Tyler, and Wendi are home schooled?" "This would be such a help for us." We begin to plan in our neighborhood and on our street how to help others in our community. We have conversations about the adverse effects of isolation over a long period of time. We have to be
careful not to allow loneliness and depression to take hold
in our lives.
Plan of action: (1.) use hand sanitizer, (2.) stay six feet away from each other, and (3.) wear a mask. Keep communicating! " Talk to each other. " "Listen to each other." Transmitted by home and family interactions will expose us to the coronavirus. "Use an exercise routine to have a good sense of wellbeing. "Take a private hike to clear your mind or collect your thoughts. " "Realize this time in our lives is temporary. " I say. Brainstorming... Madison comes back with this suggestion: " Take a shower and get dressed everyday. " I think of the activity of journaling this time in our lives. Another activity of practicing yoga and meditation for relaxation. Fresh air and sunshine will be necessary to fight the doom and gloom of news and social media. Being outdoors and staying active is good for you as long as we are not spreading germs. " Madison says, " No person-to-person contact." I say, " No congregating in groups." Try mind and body soothing activities: early morning meditation and a facial. Watch the birds nest building, listen to the songbirds.
As neighbors we bring coping strengths to this situation. One important coping strength is: sleep. Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health. Skimping on our sleep could adversely affect our immune system. During this time at home, try to get seven to eight hours of sleep. Taking two naps that are no longer than thirty minutes each- one in the morning and one in the afternoon- can decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system. Adequate sleep protects us from heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Our flu shot is more effective if we are well rested.
We celebrated my mother's 80th birthday with a " HAPPY BIRTHDAY " poster and my neighbors in their van. I left my car to go the window of my mother's room. On the outside looking in, I held up the poster as they joined in singing happy birthday to my mother. My mother on the inside looking out thanks us for our birthday wishes and we connected in a different way this year of the coronavirus. We have developed a routine for all of us that involves Ashlyn coming over to my home and for an hour a day, she and I are fully engaged in a fun activity. More than once, we have baked chocolate chip cookies. Ashlyn helps me put the cookies in a small basket to share with her two brothers and sister. We put up a tent in the den and on the ceiling are glow in the dark stars. Sometimes in the evening, I will turn off the light and we will gaze at the stars. Sometimes we will make shadow hand puppets.
We meet on a daily basis, bringing out big comfy pillows to sit on, putting out tiki torches in the evening. We still meet in the morning as we plan our day. Watch new movies as well your favorite movies and discuss with a friend. 'This is a good time to teach yourself a new language. " "Take this time to write letters or thank-you notes to folks that have gone beyond expectations, like service employees at grocery stores. " We can do a crochet or knitting project.
Coloring books are not just for kids. Explore with gel pens and colored pencils shapes and textures.
" Make an attitude of gratitude journal." Write a book with your family. Pick a character and each family member write a chapter that continues this story. When this is complete, take turns and read aloud to one another. Read old favorites in the books in your selection. Begin to write about your experiences in living in this pandemic. "How has your life changed due to the virus?" "What has been the biggest shift in your everyday routine?" I look forward to growing an herb garden and being outdoors planting a flower and a vegetable garden. I have always been excited to see spring arrive. This year it has been bittersweet, the year of coronavirus.
One of the connections in the community is meeting with a group of seven ladies. Using a simple pattern for a cloth mask, bringing our sewing machines into a gathering place well sterilized and sanitized we work in assembly line fashion. We cut the elastic bands to be sewn into the fabric cut. Then we stem press the face coverings at 200 degrees. Then place each individual mask in a zip lock bag. This are given to anyone that requests a face mask. This has given us a sense of productive purpose and connection within the community. Our nation strives to unite to aid one another in this crisis.
" What do we fear in the midst of this crisis?" We fear losing connections with our family members. We fear losing our jobs. We fear becoming sick. We fear death. We fear that the consequences of the coronavirus will far exceed a temporary length of time. We need contact so that we do not feel alone. We need courage as we engage in battle everyday. We need to occupy our thoughts, minds, and hearts with endeavors for positive outcomes.
Tomorrow we will wake out of this nightmare. The sky will be blue, white fluffy clouds will fill float above us. We will experience the morning rush hour as we hurry to get to work on time. We will be stuck in heavy traffic. We will go shopping for the fun of it. We will dine in at restaurants. We will go to concerts. We will go to sports events: baseball games, basketball games, and football games. We will enjoy national parks, camping and swimming. We will celebrate high school graduations and birthday parties. This coronavirus will pass off the scene.