Personal Wellness: Staff Blog
Here are reflections from staff members on their experiences sheltering at home these past few months. Please stay tuned for staff members experiences transitioning back into the world outside of the home.
Perspectives on sheltering at home – Part I
No two quarantine experiences look the same and that is okay
In this “new normal”, which is quite different than other disasters I have dealt with, I have tried to keep somewhat of a daily routine. I have tried to maintain some “normal” activities, like daily meditation/ prayer/quiet time, normal meals, exercise, hobbies/projects/personal interests.
The worst disaster I have been through was a direct hit from Hurricane Rita in 2005. That was much different, in that so many people were displaced, lost everything, and everyone was experiencing some sense of loss and suffering, due to damages to houses, public infrastructure, public utilities (water, electricity, etc.) And at the same time, everyone was busy working daily on trying to salvage or repair homes and other personal property. This is much different. There was no infrastructure loss, no utilities lost, no personal property lost or damaged. Everything is still intact, but we have to remain safe from an invisible, mysterious virus.
I am fine living this way, because of my way of life before the pandemic. I went to work, exercised regularly, made for quiet/prayer/meditation, tried to cook and eat healthy meals, stayed busy with hobbies, interests, (gardening, fishing, land management, refurbishing duck decoys, etc…all of which my wife calls piddling). Roy Kron said it best, when he referred to these things and daily maintenance work, like mowing, folding clothes, washing dishes, as mindless chores. These mindless chores, along with piddling, occupy a lot of consciousness, which may otherwise become worry and stress. I feel for folks who have young children at home, who are suddenly pulled from their normal routine and don’t quite understand the situation, yet must be cared for and kept busy at home.
In the end I think everyone has to find their own way, but there must be daily accomplishments, whether it’s work, cleaning the garage, weeding in the garden, cooking a healthy meal, working on a hobby, or taking on a new workout routine. And there must be personal quiet time to unwind, reflect, plan tomorrow, pray, and stay positive.
Experiences in sheltering at home and transitioning into the world outside of the home
Are you continuing to shelter at home or in the process of transition? As Louisiana continues with Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, members of Louisiana Sea Grant staff share their experiences and coping strategies
Staff members share strategies in play during transition
- “Keeping masks within easy access in the car so I can easily stop at the store, etc. when I have the opportunity.”
- “I wear a mask when I go into indoor crowed places. I believe it protects me and others to a degree worth the slight inconvenience.”
- “Masks and gloves. I don’t go anywhere without them and I’m very careful about cross contamination. I actually only wear one glove at a time. One to touch anything in public, the other to touch my phone, purse, card, etc.”
- “We have not begun this [transitioning to the world outside of the home]. We are still relying on grandparent support. At the end of July we will be braving some camps with the kids.”
- “We really haven’t started transitioning yet. I don’t feel the need to rush it, and I would rather keep us and others safe while I have the opportunity to do so.”
How staff members have coped while sheltering at home
- “Finding opportunities for personal time, even if it’s mowing the yard!”
- “Back before it got really hot, like many people with kids we were relishing our outdoor time together. We were doing daily nature observations and recording them in art. From a work standpoint, when I start to feel a little overwhelmed I will take 5 minutes during a video conference, turn off my video and do some yoga/stretches. It has helped to not make the meeting feel too redundant. I now secretly look forward to them so I can get some minutes not chained to the computer. Also, I have really enjoyed going back to writing drafts on paper since it gives you time away from the computer.”
- “Go outside and walk, bike, or jog at least an hour a day. Or, fix or tear-up something up around the home each week.”
- “We have a six-year-old, and my husband works remotely for three weeks at a time. When he is offshore, each night I try to prep a number of activities to keep our son engaged with learning that he can do the following day. Some worksheets for learning, but also an art activity and a science experiment. It helps if we both wake up knowing what the goals are for the day. I’ve also tried to reduce “mommy guilt” about screen time. I have to do so many online meetings, and there is little I can do to keep him entertained during that time. We are also lucky in that we have a large yard, so we spend time outside either playing or swimming every day. This also helps wear him out for bedtime :)”
- “Since our children are grown, we didn’t have many of the problems that families with young children may have experienced. The only strategies we employed were making less trips to grocery or pharmacy; my husband shopped for our groceries and I shopped for our parents.”
- “We are empty-nesters…My hobbies were a perfect fit with the social-distancing mandate! Nature walks, walking the dog, and nearby birding of parks and other public places, while enjoying the great weather we had this spring. Too, I volunteered to help distribute food at the food bank and public schools where 2/3 of the kids are needy and depend on provided breakfast and lunch meals. Finally, I read a lot–really got into non-fiction–and wrote more on family history and kept a pandemic journal. I was not bored!”
- “Focusing on how lucky I was to have an extra month home with my new baby.”
- “Prayer and using the time to spend with my family. It’s hard times like this that you need those two things because you’re literally ‘alone together’.”