The coronavirus pandemic will certainly be a defining experience of our lifetime, much the same way the Great Depression and World War II were for an earlier generation. It will forever alter our sense of vulnerability and our sense of our country and the world. There may be difficult transformations (for ourselves and society) as we recover, but there might also be bright spots and hope.
Each of us is experiencing this crisis differently based on our geographic location, job status, personality, and a hundred different elements, yet many of our feelings and fears are the same. We are going to be regularly publishing stories from readers that let us see how others are getting through the crisis. We think sharing lightens the burden and can help others too; knowing you’re not alone (even when you might be physically alone) can be calming and fortifying.
Please tell us your story here; we’ll send you a BOLD tank top as our thanks.
Here, we hear how Lisa Seigler, who is in quarantine alone in Arlington, Tennessee, is managing in her new normal.
What was your life situation and routine before coronavirus hit?
Working full time in a job I love, taking care of my elderly parents, and in a long-distance relationship, a former love I reconnected with. Life was good, rewarding, and busy (I traveled for work quite a bit and traveled monthly to see my love).
What is your state of mind right now?
More lonely. I moved my elderly parents (who used to live two houses down from me) to another state. I postponed a milestone celebratory trip (birthday and an anniversary) because of concerns that I may bring the virus back to my elderly parents, who have underlying health conditions. My partner and I are staying connected, and he is very good at making sure we have time together, even if it is virtually right now.
What is your biggest fear/concern at the moment?
I am working to move as well. Fortunately I work for a great company and can work remotely. They are working with me as I transition to full-time remote. I call it ROWE – results only work environment; my physical location is not an issue. My biggest concern right now is making that transition and keeping my reputation (trusted, effective, delivering the right value) at work. Oh, and selling my house right now.
If you’re sheltering alone, are you lonely, and if so, how do you deal with that?
It is lonely. Phone calls, and video chats all help. My team used to meet bi-weekly; now we meet weekly and all turn on our webcams so we can connect. I talk with my mom daily, and FaceTime my sisters a couple of times a week. My partner and I have (virtual) date night on Fridays. We FaceTime while we both cook and eat dinner at the same time. He calls every morning to say good morning. My neighbors and I sit in our driveways and chat (keeping the minimum six-foot distance between us). I’ve had virtual lunches and happy hours with friends. All of these help me (an extreme extrovert) stay connected.
What is your daily routine now?
Daily work commute is bedroom to living room (office), with stops in the bathroom and kitchen. Weekly curbside grocery pickup (I scored toilet paper in my last order!). I shut my laptop down at 5:30 every day and don’t log on during the weekend.
I do daily online yoga, Pilates, and barre classes (through my Y membership) and follow some YouTube workouts. In the evenings and in the weekends, I purge, organize, and clean to list my house for sale.
What is the most important thing you do for yourself everyday to maintain your mental health?
Exercise; daily connections with loved ones; gratitude journal.
How often do you go outside and for what?
Weekly: Curbside grocery pickup.
Weekly: Lunch with a friend: we park our cars side-by-side and chat.
Daily: Weather permitting, I do a solo walk in the neighborhood.
What’s the first thing you want to do when life returns to some kind of “normal”?
I like the slower pace now. I’m going to intentionally say no to some things that added busyness but no value.
I’ll make more/better use of technology! I have connected deeper via phone/FaceTime/etc with friends than ever before and I want to continue that.
Remembering what’s important; time with loved ones, family, friends!
How do you see yourself changing from this pandemic experience?
Being more intentional in how I live my life instead of ‘just floating along.”
How do you see society changing because of this pandemic experience?
I really hope we recognize our destructive impact on the environment and climate and make changes. I would love to see teachers/healthcare workers, etc (the ones we are calling essentials!) be valued more than actors, professional sports players, reality TV people, etc.