I’ve have grappled with what to write in this post for the past few weeks in light of COVID-19. I live in New Rochelle with my family, and while I am not part of the one-mile containment zone, my daughter’s school is on the perimeter of the zone. I know that the school really did not want to close since they did not have an immediate case of the virus, but the state mandated the closure.
Luckily for me, I am fortunate to be able to work from home full-time (albeit space is tight with all of us home now). But my husband, who runs his own law practice in New Rochelle, has seen business slow down considerably, and this is only the beginning. I know that many small business owners are suffering during this time, and it has really only been a few weeks.
I ask myself daily, how can I help some of these businesses survive? They are in my community, the hot zone, and I want to see so many of them succeed. At the same time, I do not want to pose more of a threat to those who are immune-compromised or the elderly, so what is one to do.
Our weekly restaurant meal out now consists of us getting take-out or delivery by one of our favorite spots in New Rochelle. My husband alone does the grocery shopping one time a week and tries to get everything we need for the week in one visit, or we do local delivery. Otherwise, we try to stay inside as much as possible, except for going for a walk, run, or to a park (without playground equipment, so my toddler doesn’t get distracted).
But how else can you keep your sanity by staying inside? I am fortunate that my toddler has no clue what is going on around her. She asks questions like why she isn’t going to school anymore or why we aren’t going out to the restaurant, but she is definitely loving having my husband, and I home ALL of the time. In fact, before all of this COVID-19 became the dominant news in the world, she was going through a major phase of separation anxiety, which consisted of her crying when we dropped her off at school, crying when we put her to sleep, and wanting me to sleep with her every night.
Since we have been home, her tears for us to stay with her at night have subsided, and she seems to be happy that we are just home. This breaks my heart a little bit because I guess she just missed us A LOT. So, all in all, she seems to be doing fine, and I am thankful that she is still too little to really grasp what is happening around us.
For me, on the other hand, I am someone who likes to be out and about. And a lot of that time out consists of working, working out, or exploring with my family. Being cooped up inside the house has not been easy. It also doesn’t help that we live in a condo, so space is definitely tight. Our building gym is now closed, so I can’t go to the gym downstairs, and I can’t go to any of my usual weekly exercise classes that keep me sane. I have felt my anxiety slowly balloon and have been trying everything in my power to get it under control.
But the past few days, I have taken a step back from it all and tried to turn things off a bit. Here are a few other things that I have done to help me get my mind off of things.
The other day I spent the entire day with my daughter and only worked while she napped. It was wonderful and magical. It kept my spirits up because all she wanted to do was play and be with me: we had dance parties, did yoga together (try Cosmic Yoga on YouTube), played and read books together, before heading to the park for some fresh air and bubbles. It was probably the best day that I’ve had all week.
During that time, I did not look at my phone, and I did not turn on the news. It was a much need break and one that made me realize how incredibly thankful I am for her and her toddler self. Family time is a blessing, and I am trying to be grateful for this time that I have with her. I am also trying to learn to let go of the things that I cannot control.
Meditation and Yoga
Every single day, I am making time for meditation and yoga. There are amazing apps online that you can use and get some much needed mental clarity and focus. The Yoga Collective is a great online app source for both yoga, pilates, and mediation, as are many local yoga businesses that have now turned to online classes, such as Prana Prenatal Yoga, Port Chester (which is not only for prenatal yoga). Prana Prenatal also has an online Facebook group called Coping with Coronavirus-Tools for Managing Stress that has meditation classes and other mindfulness advice all for free. Anyone can join.
Another local yoga studio, Westchester Yoga Arts, New Rochelle, has moved to online classes as well for a very nominal fee per class ($9), or you can pay monthly ($30). Stamford Yoga, CT, is offering free online courses in the morning and evenings, with some other times on the weekend. Balance Yoga, Larchmont is offering free online yoga classes, often twice a day. Tovami Yoga, Mamaroneck, is another one offering online classes for a nominal drop-in fee ($10). The Well Center, Armonk has virtual mindfulness and meditation programs, many of which are free right now. Many of these are local to Westchester, so try and help support your local businesses if you can. There are also so many podcasts that you can also listen to about mindfulness.
While many of these resources that I am suggesting are online, there is also a part of me that needs to disconnect from all the social media and news because let’s be honest the talk is all about COVID-19. I have learned to compartmentalize and not be stuck on social media 24/7 either. It is hard not to be glued to the news for every single update, but we need to take a break and a breather to be able to function. Try it out, and I promise it will make a huge difference.
Getting Fresh Air
While I am practicing social distancing, that does not mean that I can’t go for a walk, a run, or to a park to get some fresh air and literally listen to nothing else but nature. This is probably my best medicine. It makes a huge difference after being cooped up inside the house all day working. And now that the weather is getting warmer, I hope to be able to do this daily.
Hopefully you can try some of these suggestions out during this trying time. I hope they work for you. Stay well and healthy.