It’s Monday March 16th, 2020. The world is feeling unpredictable. And I am trying to figure out how to make sense of all of this.
In Washington State, and in other areas across the country, people have been asked and now mandated to practice social distancing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 or what I refer to as The Corona. Social distancing is a public health term that is new to me. It describes the limiting of large groups, closing buildings such as schools and businesses, and cancelling events to stop or slow the spread of an infectious disease. Per our Governor Jay Inslee, public schools are shut down for minimally 6 weeks here in Washington State. And restaurants, bars, recreation, and entertainment are also closed as of 7:20 pm last night. For my life, that means no traditional school counseling in the middle schools, no Seattle Sounders FC soccer matches, no going to the gym, and no gatherings with friends.
For many others it means loss of income, housing challenges, business debt, and emotional uncertainty.
This clearly is not an easy decision for our government. But the decisions are guided by science and experts who has more knowledge about what our health system needs to do to combat The Corona. If they believe that this is necessary to protect our community, then I am all in. I am all about saving lives.
Compared to many my sacrifice will be minimal. God forbid I have to miss a Sounders game or sit on my couch and not with my friends to save a life! Life is different these days. As my boyfriend Alex always says “It is moments like this that will define the great from the average.” And I do not think of myself as average. So, here is the evolving list of what I am going to do to be “great’ and do my part during The Corona pandemic. Again, it is evolving as I continue to make sense of what is happening and the need within my neighborhood and school community.
Commit to Social Distancing
I am committing to social distancing so that I can contribute to protecting the lives of my family members, friends, and neighbors. I am committed to maintain six feet of distance from all people and will not participate in social gatherings. I will continue to answer the question of, “What do I really have to do?” I am excited to set up Facetime and Google hangouts with my friends as I self-isolate.
Prepare for Potential Self-Quarantine
I am taking The Corona seriously. I spent my weekend preparing for The Corona. In accordance with recommendations from Governor Jay Inslee, my boyfriend and I began to prepare for self-isolation. We now have about two-week’s worth of food, which will limit the amount of times we go to the grocery store and or in public. My boyfriend and I also purchased bottled water, medications, and proper cleaning supplies, and have cash in hand.
Be Consumer Savvy
I am committed to shopping responsibly for my groceries and also purchasing to-go food from local restaurants. To shop responsibly, I am only buying what I need from the grocery store (see 1 weeks worth of non-perishable food items below). Here in the state of Washington many people are over shopping, causing complications for many residents to get the minimal food/toiletries they need. I will also be supporting local restaurants by purchasing to-go food and enjoying my favorite cuisine in social isolation. Tamarind Tree here I come!
Evaluate The Need and Be Compassionate
I am going to be consciously aware that there are a lot of people who will encounter economic hardships during this time. Businesses are closing both permanently and long term, impacting both the economic stability of the owners as well as all of the employees. Governor Jay Inlsee is making unemployment emergency rules for employees on standby (temporary loss of job until business resumes as usual) or who permanently loss their jobs due to The Corona. The government is also committed to exploring many options to help people who will need the financial support. However, there is still a lot of insecurity about paying rent/mortgages and purchasing food due to the back log of actually seeing the money. The hope is that this is only a temporary problem but I am going to determine how I can personally help others who may need an economic boost.
I am committed to taking care of my own health during this process. This means eating as healthy as possible, drinking a lot of water, and working out at home. This also means reducing stress and anxiety through mindfulness practices (Bob Ross Coloring Book!). I will also be creating a consistent and predictable daily schedule to support some normality. Additionally, I plan to focus only on what I can control even if it is only my breath for the moment.
As a school counselor I am going to promise that I will do my part to uphold the indicators that I want students to know and learn while not in a traditional school day. I promise to offer my educational leaders grace and to carry out my role in helping my students develop academically, personal-socially, as well as be career and college ready. I plan to be creative and innovative to implement new ways to provide services to students while students cannot attend school. I will be writing more about the role of a school counselor during this time of a minimal 6-week shut down. This is a unique time in education and I am going to take on the challenge. I am going to get up a fight.
Checking in on My Neighbors
I will be checking in with my neighbors and family members to make sure everyone has their basic needs met. I will do my part to life their spirits or to provide basic needs for them. This is a time to be compassionate and self-less. And I promise to do my part.
I will be praying for safety and peace of mind for all people. Those who have already lost their lives will be in my hearts and thoughts. They will drive me to be better and do better during this Corona Pandemic.