UPDATE: This was written before the CDC updated it’s information and is accurate as of the day of publication. It is not reflective of changed views and/or statements by the United States Government. Please do not rely on this blog for medical advice, instead speak with your doctor and go to the CDC website listed below
Hello friends and family! Phew, it has been a rough couple of weeks.
We all knew it was coming: schools went virtual. While the public-school system of Maryland has yet to make a decision, Towson University has gone completely online for the remainder of the semester. Campus is closed, students moved out of dorms, and all classes are now via Skype or email. I don’t know about you, but this is not what I signed up for.
I don’t do well with online classes. I have taken two out of necessity, but I told myself that I would not do that again. But, here we are.
I’m graduating this semester and I am really excited! It’s been a long 5 years with a lot of work and a lot of tears, but I learned so much, made amazing friends, and had an amazing experience. So, when it was announced that the commencement ceremony for Spring 2020 was postponed until the Fall, I was disappointed to say the least.
I’m not really a ceremony person. I don’t like to make big deals out of things, and I don’t really like crowds. But dammit, 5 years of hard work deserves some recognition! And while I know, logically, this postponement is for the best and is looking out of the health of all people, myself included, I’m more disappointed than I expected.
So, what do we do? Life has changed so completely and rapidly these past few weeks and has left us reeling in its wake. Students, teachers, parents, children, workers, all lives upended.
What do we do?
Allow yourself to feel all the feelings
The last time the world experienced a pandemic like this was the influenza post WWI, so no one alive has dealt with something of this magnitude. It’s natural to be scared, anxious, angry, sad, and every other emotion under the rainbow. Things have changed and decisions have been made, while for the best, without your consent, and that would rattle anyone. Add to that the necessary social distancing, it’s easy to feel trapped.
Your feelings are valid because you feel them. There doesn’t need to be a reason behind them, or an explanation for them. And fighting against them with thoughts like “I shouldn’t be this upset” or “There’s no reason for me to be anxious” will not make those feelings go away. Allow yourself to be angry, upset, or scared. Cry if you need to. Punch a pillow if that will make you feel even the tiniest bit better. And then recognize that while you cannot control your emotions, you can control how you react to them.
I know this is difficult for a lot of people. We’re taught to always care for others and take others into account when making decisions, which is not a bad thing! But it is okay to prioritize yourself. In times like these, it’s necessary. So if you need to sit at home and binge-watch dramas to get the catharsis from the cheesy, I-will-ship-it-till-I-die romances, then do that! (Just me?)
Find time every day to do something that recharges your batteries. Watch a favorite movie! Learn a new craft or skill! Play that video game you love! Make that time for yourself so that your soul can be fed.
The bare necessities
We’re all stuck at home, inside to self-distance. Some of us are even quarantined and not able to leave the house until medically cleared. It’s easy to forget the basics when your schedule has disappeared. So, write it down. Every day make sure you’re drinking at least 8 glasses of water, doing some sort of physical activity, and getting outside. Take a walk while listening to some music. Or even just open a window. Fresh air will do wonders.
Remember to shower, wash your clothes and dishes, and keep your space tidy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of messiness, especially when you don’t have anywhere to go, but it’s proven that your surroundings effect your mood. If everything around you is messy and disorganized, you’ll feel that way too.
F is for Friends
Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Call your friends and family! Check up on those you care about and talk about silly, mundane stuff. Facetime your best friend just to keep each other company while doing other work. We are social creatures.
I know that right now everything is overwhelming. A lot is unknown, uncertain, and upended. But we will make it through. We’ve done it before; we’ll do it again.
In the meantime, take care, and be well.