by Mary Ellen Collins
I am hunkering down. When I heard that the elderly were in the high risk group (elderly being 60+) I never gave it another thought. I worried about my husband. He is eight years older than me. I expressed my concerns to my daughter and she said, “Mom that’s you. You are in that age group too.” It hit me like a sledge hammer. Such a rude awakening when you are classified as elderly and just coming to that realization.
I have just recovered from surgery and have not been able to return to normal for the last few months. And now, this is a new normal.
We have decided to take things seriously and self-isolate. Food is not a problem. I always thought I was a reincarnation from the Great Depression. I do not waste anything. I am also accused of having a Mormon-mentality when it comes to food. I am not an expert on this but the little I do understand is that there is a belief in preparing food for a year. In times like this it makes absolute sense.
I want to know what is going on. I listen to the updates. At some point, I just have to quiet my mind and get away. I do believe in mindfulness and meditation. That works for me. The first week of self-isolation was getting things organized for the ministry. Canceling classes, postponing events, rescheduling events, and on and on. I could hardly breathe I was so busy.
But now? Now what? This feels just like a vacation. I have to go for two weeks. First week is just bringing myself down and the second week I can relax. Or is this different?
I thought I would share with you what I am doing to get through this. Here are the top 10 things I have been doing. This is a difficult time but in some ways it is a gift.
- Time with my family
Although we are considered elderly (see above definition), we are both extremely busy. We are supportive of each other’s endeavors but the self-isolation creates some leisurely morning coffee talks.
I am reconnecting with my creative cooking skills. I have always loved to cook but when I am whirling, I tend to repeat myself with the same things. Yesterday I cooked lemon parsley mushroom pasta. It was delicious! Hope I can repeat this. I would link the recipe but I just make it up until it tastes good. That’s the creative part.
- Binge reading
Books, magazines, etc., This is a real gift. I love to read but am not as intentional as I want to be. Now I can dedicate time each day to just doing that.
- Listening to podcasts
There are so many to choose from. Some that I have really enjoyed range from Pastor Rick Warren, NPR’s Hidden Brain, Whole Whale University to things that take me away from it all like LORE, Myths and Legends. I am also listening to, “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. My next learning will be to explore Udemy to see what I can learn. I get information on webinars almost daily. Many of the webinars will send you a recording to watch, review or in my case listen to later. Later has been put on hold until now. I am binging on these.
- Giving myself a facial
A little self-care is wonderful. I never take time for me. What a luxury!
- Working on a puzzle
I put up a folding table in my living room and started a puzzle. Every time I go by, I put in one more piece. Wondering if the puzzle will last through this self-quarantine?
- Skyping with my Grandson
Now this is an unexpected blessing. Usually there is a monthly visit (they live four hours away) where I can indulge in being a grandmother. But those visits have changed. Although I usually just see eyeballs on the screen, it is wonderful to be connected.
- Checking in on friends and neighbors.
This is a time we need to do this. A phone call, an email, anything that says I am thinking of you.
- Getting my Vitamin N (nature)
There isn’t anything in my world that is better for me than getting outside. Just walking down the street, getting the mail, anything to feel the outdoors.
- And last but not least, in fact probably the most important, I am writing!
I encourage you to journal. Is this a time you need to record or write your story?
Let’s share with each other how you are coping. Let’s start a chain of responses. How are you doing?