Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread and Links

This past week there’s been what has felt like a shift, at least here in Brooklyn, in the stages of grieving our old lives. Those of us who aren’t mourning lost loved ones seem to be moving from the acceptance stage of grieving our old normal into the next stage. We’re moving from survival mode – just getting through each day/ staying out of the hospital/ not leaving our homes – to a more sustainable kind of living. At least, it feels that way anyhow. I’ve been focused in the past few days on how to live a quality life with the limitations we have. For me, that means near daily walks (with a mask, socially distant, yada yada), engaging in some hobbies (gardening on the deck, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading books, taking zoom pilates classes, and watching Schitt’s Creek), calling or FaceTiming or texting with friends and family as often as I have energy for, having fresh flowers on the dining table, and eating well (I don’t consider cooking a hobby because at this point of my life, it’s more a chore than a pleasure, but I do try out new recipes and aim for healthy eating). Drew and I are also trying hard to make this as enjoyable an experience for the kids as possible, while still carving out some personal time for ourselves which, as any parent of kids under 10 right now can tell you, is a challenge, but we try our best which is all any of us can do.

What’s it like where you are? Has there been any discernible shift, in behavior or attitude or energy, as the third month of this comes to a close? If you’re feeling quarantine fatigue, how are you dealing with that? If you live some place that is starting to re-open, what does that look like? Are people still respecting social distance guidelines?

I hope however you spend it, the weekend is as good as it can be for you. Here are a few links you might find interesting:

Parenting in Quarantine: NYTimes readers describe the parent-employee-teacher trifecta during the pandemic. Spoiler: there’s a lot of screen time these days.

Maybe Don’t Listen to the News While You Work Out?

Surrendering to Uncertainty

Making relationships work during lockdown

“I knew a singalong wasn’t likely to become a neighborhood pastime. I wanted to sing anyway.

And so, one evening, I leaned out my bedroom window and started singing a rendition of “New York, New York.” My voice was ringing down the alley, and by the end of the song, neighbors were applauding from their windows and calling for an encore. I sang for my neighbors every night for the rest of the week. I had been so alone in my apartment that it didn’t even occur to me there were hundreds of other people, sitting alone in theirs, just a few feet away.”

— from a poignant collection of passages in The New York Times about what it’s like to live alone during the pandemic.

20 comments… add one
  • Kate B. May 16, 2020, 3:22 pm

    Oh, man, the NYT article hit me hard, especially the person from Toronto. That is exactly how I feel right now. When this first started, I thought, “Isolate myself from the rest of humanity for 14 days? That’s an introvert’s dream!” (Back when they told us it was only going to be for 14 days. Ha.) But now, I am hurting. I’m still working and getting paid, but I am suffering from serious Zoom fatigue. I feel like my whole world has shrunk down to the size of my computer monitor. I have plenty to do: I garden on the patio, I crochet, watch movies and TV, practice my violin. I even participated in a virtual dance performance. (Via Zoom, of course.) I’ve redecorated my walls to make them more interesting. I walk every day. People in my area are mostly respecting the rules, but my county just reported 39 new cases as we prepare to move into Phase II. I’m having a hard time reconciling those two facts. I’ve lost all motivation to do anything. And, yeah, snuggling up to something other than my body pillow at night would be wonderful. Being alone and being lonely are very different things. I’ve always known that, but I’ve never has this much trouble with it before.

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    • ktfran May 16, 2020, 8:00 pm

      I’m sorry you’re going through this by yourself. It can’t be easy. On the Covid thread, I mentioned that I broke shelter in place for a friend who lives alone. She biked to our (me and my husband) condo and we social distanced on the roof/outdoor space and I ended up making us dinner. We live in a dense urban area. I hope it helped her. I know it helped me. If you have close friends or family, I think it’s worth reaching out. You can do so safely. It’s unsustainable otherwise. The hardest part for me was not being able to hug her. I wanted to so badly.

      The husband and I discussed who we would slowly start to visit as restrictions lift. She was number one for me and we have about six other friend and family members. We’ll keep the list small, take precautions, and visit sporadically.

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  • Helen May 17, 2020, 8:06 am

    I just read the NYTimes article. I can definitely relate to the burnout & mom guilt. It would be super awesome if developmental experts released a study saying screen time isn’t so bad after all!
    GA is mostly open (still can’t tour the governor’s mansion of course.) I went to a few stores for the first time since early March. Walmart wasn’t doing anything different. No masks, no wiping down the buggies, 2 employees were whispering in each other’s ears, gag. I walked out & went to publix next door. Masks everywhere & they were sanitizing buggies. The precautions around here are haphazard and the majority don’t seem to believe there’s a threat. Everyone’s suffering from quarantine fatigue. Even my mom with COPD. We’re actually going to visit her today, at her insistence. We’ve been symptom free for awhile & she’s so lonely & desperate to see the little kids.
    Zoom is great for my husband’s work meetings. Not so much for the support groups & group therapy I’m doing right now. There’s no interaction between the participants (kinda the whole point) just mods talking to individuals. Going to get some recovery books & see if that helps

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  • Copa May 17, 2020, 11:51 am

    My quarantine fatigue was very bad this past week. I wasn’t motivated whatsoever and was super irritable. I didn’t go for a single run (usually have been going maybe 2-3 times/week for short neighborhood jogs), shut my alarm off every morning because I simply didn’t want to get up, and ate a lot of ice cream and fried chicken. I reached a point where I felt like I’d rather starve than make another home cooked meal. And was really hard on myself throughout because I know I don’t have it all that bad — I’m in good health, employed, and have my boyfriend. I don’t feel like I have room to complain when so many are truly struggling or suffering. Talked to my therapist about it and she thinks it’s just a normal down in the ups and downs of the grief we’re all feeling, and reminded me that hard is hard even if someone else has it worse. Which I needed to hear.

    So yesterday I decided I’d let myself wallow enough. I had signed up for a virtual floral arrangement class and made myself treat it like I was going to a live event. I baked scones for it. It was a fun way to spend a morning and different from what I’ve already done (puzzles and day drinking on weekends). (As a side note, I found it sort of amusing that about half of participants had gotten dressed — like me I think they were treating it like they were going out into the world — while the other half looked like they’d rolled straight outta bed.)

    To hopefully get myself in a better mindset, I’m setting some small, reasonable goals for this week that I think and hope will help me feel a bit more motivated throughout the week. I ordered a dock for my laptop on Amazon to improve my WFH set-up, which I hope will alleviate some of my work stress. Hoping our weather takes a turn for the better because I’m sick of the rain and sunshine always helps my moods.

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    • Copa May 17, 2020, 11:55 am

      I will also add: I’ve spent the past handful of years actively working on my mental/emotional health. And I’ve been so glad I put the work in and happy with my growth. When I feel myself kinda backsliding down some little depression hole, it’s disheartening, but I also feel like… “not today, COVID, I’m a more resilient person now!” So there’s that.

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  • anonymousse May 17, 2020, 12:29 pm

    I’m still recovering. I’ve had pain in my chest consistently since I was sick and it’s still there, just lingering every time I inhale deeply or sneeze. I probably need to see my doctor in person but we’ve been trying to figure it out remotely which is only slightly helpful.

    I read this piece this week and it made me feel better about how shitty I still feel.

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  • Helen May 17, 2020, 1:40 pm

    great article anonymousse! I had the same experience, drs repeatedly telling me there’s nothing they can do & lack of information for people who are managing symptoms at home. Most information focuses on how to avoid the virus. Not much out there, that isn’t quackery, for people who are sick.

    I hope you feel better soon! My chest pain didn’t go away for 6 weeks, but it did eventually go away. I was so relieved when it did because I was starting to worry it was permanent

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    • anonymousse May 17, 2020, 8:51 pm

      It’s been about eight weeks since I finally saw my dr and he diagnosed me with the virus. Right now, I am being treated for asthma, which has helped, I think. I’m barely coughing now. I’m still so fatigued sometimes. I have been getting back into exercising without issues, but other times I am panting for breath. It’s weird.

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      • Dear Wendy May 18, 2020, 6:25 am

        I’m so sorry to hear you’re experiencing such a long recovery! I hope this week is a turning point.

      • anonymousse May 18, 2020, 5:11 pm

        Thanks, Wendy.

  • Jennifer May 18, 2020, 10:48 am

    I went to my dad’s house this weekend. We’re still supposed to be sheltering in place, as I’m in IL and we’ve had few restrictions lifted. He wanted to move a very heavy treadmill out of his basement, and he needed my husband’s help. He helps me out all the time and rarely asks for help in return, so we went. Knowing him, if we didn’t help, he’d try to do it himself and at 72, that wouldn’t be good. It was the first time I’ve set foot in somewhere that was not a doctor’s office or grocery store in two months. Man did it feel good to see him. I’ll admit we didn’t wear masks and just acted normally. I’ve gotten to a place mentally and physically that is just not healthy, and I just needed this. My workload has increased greatly from when the shut in happened, and I feel like all I do is sit here and work. I’m literally working every single day at this point. I’ve been crying a lot for no good reason. I had lost almost ten pounds between January and March, and I’ve since put every single ounce of it back on. I understand that the virus is a major threat. I just wish there was a better way to balance the threat of the virus with all of the other physical and mental aspects of health that are being created by avoiding the virus threat. I’ve worked from home for almost ten years already, and I live for the moments when I can leave the house like going to the gym and eating out at a restaurant. I keep seeing articles about how people are struggling having to work from home, and I’ve been dealing with those issues for a decade. I know it is an unpopular sentiment, but once the restrictions are lifted, I’m going to get out of the house as much as legally possible. I just can’t do this anymore.

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  • NCGal May 18, 2020, 4:06 pm

    I live in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Its a weird place to be right now, we have a very aged population full of vulnerable people and we are a tourist destination, lots of hiking and waterfalls and the like. How on earth does one balance inviting in tourists while also protecting the elderly and vulnerable? I’ve nearly given up on social media, because everyone screams at eachother and there seems to be no middle ground between “stay isolated at home” and “go back to normal.” We need some guidance on risk and what might be an acceptable level of risk.

    I’ve been working home through the pandemic, but I’m starting to get some push back from my office, so I know I’ll need to return soon. I work in a small building with around 15 other people, so I’m not looking forward to co-mingling quite like that yet. I ordered a super air purifier to bring in my office to help (maybe). My office culture will never allow me to wear a mask at work. I would be ridiculed and then probably fired.

    Right now, I only go grocery shopping once every 2 weeks. I do go hiking on remote trails with my dog for my own sanity. I have met with a few select friends in their backyards while we each drank beverages we brought with us. I’m talking about groups of 3-4 people way spread out. I haven’t hugged anyone but my husband since March. I’m sick of cooking all the dang time. My husband is wary of take out, so I’ve cooked every single lunch and dinner for us since March. I’m tired. I feel like since I’m working from home, I’m always on call… the work never ends, no matter the hour. The dishes keep piling up, the clothes aren’t folded, I don’t know how to keep juggling everything. I realize typing this makes me sound so whiny, but honestly, I’m just exhausted from stress and worry.

    You asked how things are going in our state. Technically, we are under revised stay at home orders, the religious groups just won a lawsuit against the state so they will begin meeting again. This is the south. There are churches everywhere. I worry that soon we will be the next hot spot, but I hope I’m wrong.

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    • Kate May 18, 2020, 4:20 pm

      I have to ask – why are you doing all the cooking, dishes, laundry, etc? If your husband is wary of takeout, why is he not cooking half the meals?

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      • Kate May 18, 2020, 4:22 pm

        Seriously, not just you, but everyone, what is up with men who don’t cook dinner?

      • NCGal May 18, 2020, 5:06 pm

        Well… he does cook some, but he kinda sucks at it. He does pull his weight in other regards, he does clean all the bathrooms, deals with the dogs, tends the yard and garden. He is also working, so we are just trying to manage, you know? I promise, he isn’t a man-child 😉

      • Kate May 18, 2020, 5:39 pm

        All right, that’s not so bad. Would help if he kept the dishes cleaned up too though. Or, there are really easy things to make like kebabs pre-assembled that he could just grill, or shit, a frozen lasagna to give you a break.

    • Fyodor May 18, 2020, 5:16 pm

      You know your work culture better than me, but I would try to see if you can wear a mask. Are you customer facing? If not, maybe you can talk to management. Normally I wouldn’t push against office culture but these are extraordinary circumstances.

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      • NCGal May 18, 2020, 5:42 pm

        I can talk to management, but I don’t think it will be accepted. I am not customer facing normally, but on occasion I do have to face the customer, like when I do notary work or get the customer to sign paperwork. I do plan to wear a mask when I have these interactions. The trouble is: I don’t have a private office, so people in my work group are constantly wandering around near me and in my space. There are currently no plans from management to change that. So… on any given day, I’m constantly interacting with 10-15 people on my team and maybe 5 people from the “public”.

      • Fyodor May 18, 2020, 6:01 pm

        It just seems unconscionable and scary that in an emergency like this they would fire you for taking protective measures. This country is so screwed.

  • SM May 19, 2020, 9:04 am

    I have been working from home since March 9. I had a sinus infection when all of this was starting to migrate to the states and was coughing. At that time everyone looked at me like I had the plague so I stayed home that week to work. The following week, we were instructed to work from home as much as we can and to only report to work for critical tasks that couldn’t be completed from home. I’ve been in to work about once every other week since March 9th. Working a job from home, that isn’t meant to be worked from home. I know I have it much better then many, as I don’t currently have kids. And sometimes I feel bad for complaining about the monotony of it. But I’m also allowing myself to let this be hard for me too. I never realized how much my coworkers fill a social need of mine.

    I’ve spent a lot of time Facetiming and Zooming with friends. I have a friend going through chemo that this has been extremely hard on, as she’s being much more cautious than some.

    I also started dating someone in February, right before all of this started. We have actually been thriving through this. We are both considered essential so we’ve been able to get out of the house, we’ve met for dinner a few times, getting something to go and eating on a bench by a bike trail or something like that. But I’ve noticed that it’s made me communicate better with him. Communication is normally a downfall of mine as dating in the beginning is weird and I do that “i don’t want to seem like i’m a crazy female for this or that,” I’ve gone into this differently because of the way the world has been and it’s actually made this much easier. Who knew? Haha.

    I am in Florida and we are starting to reopen as I’m sure everyone is aware. 25% capacity last week, and up to 50% capacity this week. Last week, restaurants were still empty. I went out to eat twice, and there were no other people at the places I went. The news is showing some people NOT still distancing, however, any where I’ve been, people have been following proper protocols. I have noticed a little bit more traffic during grocery store runs or going to work or anything like that. But stores, restaurants, bike trails, etc don’t seem to be overly crowded. I expected everyone to rush out, just to get out, but that hasn’t happened yet.

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