We’re a group of friends and family in various parts of the world, and we’re sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. Is it really already / only Day 20?
Your own oxygen mask first
RafifJ, Malaga, Spain
I am celebrating tonight. I just finished a massive client proposal, and this afternoon I taught an online class at my alma mater, American University. Tonight, I will not dwell on my guilt about everything – from Syrians who are basically hostages in their own country, or the millions of people around the world who are out of work and out of money. Tonight, I’m going to focus on the positive. I’m going to take care of me.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a powerful side effect of surviving crises: rampant guilt. We feel guilty because there are millions of refugees and we can’t help them. We feel guilty because we have work and others don’t. We feel guilty because we are healthy and others are dying of hunger, disease, or violence.
Guilt can be crippling, if you let it. During my Syria days, I felt paralyzed with guilt: I couldn’t stop the dictator, couldn’t stop the bombs, couldn’t stop all that death. Eventually, I learned to cope.
Now with Corona, I hear from a lot of people who are feeling similar guilt. They don’t have the deadly virus; why are they allowed to be healthy, why didn’t they get the Corona lottery ticket? Why can’t they stop all the death?
My advice back to them is simple – and let’s agree up front that I am not in any way professionally qualified to dispense it. But I’ve lived a bit, and have experienced a lot of good and bad. I’ve had great successes and colossal failures, and I’ve learned with each.
So here are 5 basic things you can do to start to set yourself free. If you have other suggestions I’m all ears!
- Take care of yourself before you take care of others. Just like they tell you on the plane, make sure you can breathe before putting on someone else’s oxygen mask.
- A little guilt is good, if it motivates you to be grateful for what you have and if it spurs you to be helpful to others. You can get into a cycle of I-feel-guilty-therefore-I-do-something-good-for-others that in the end, is positive for everyone involved. Give back in small increments and celebrate each.
- Don’t bottle up your guilt or pretend it doesn’t exist. Talk about it. Hearing yourself say what’s on your mind may bring you back to the bigger picture.
- Recognize that no matter our circumstances, time brings change. Remembering that in the face of adversity can be reassuring.
- Reach out to someone and ask how they’re doing. This may sound stupid to you, but try it – you might realize that the simple act of asking – genuinely – how someone else is doing can help relieve your own stress.
And now that I’ve passed on this amazing wisdom, I’m off to celebrate a few successes and learn from (more) of my failures. I’m putting on my own oxygen mask.
Mending broken routines
RJD, Beirut, Lebanon
Yesterday, because it’s not a Monday, I rebelled against the kitchen. It is now a no-go-zone. Off-limits. My 3 meals a day with one snack (tea and one Digestive cookie in the afternoon). I am not on a diet, but I am going to portion my intake and stay away from the off-limits zone. Lockdown in my own home!
Today (again because it is not a Monday), I will start a new workout routine. Something I haven’t done since ummmm…forever (by EMC – Eastern Mediterranean Corona timing). So I am going to start with a light workout based on dance movements (everyone should always dance) and active yoga asanas.
Tomorrow (not a Monday), I will add a new component to my routine and my baby steps will get me stronger, with better sleep and less anxiety.
It’s the anxiety of the unknown, the worry about the future of the planet,
the fears we are living through each day that I need to shed.
Not ignore, but shed.
Being an otherwise health-conscious being for most of my life, I took a long break that led to many aches and pains in my body. I feel lazy and depressed most of the time, and this has been a result of neglecting the one aspect that I usually preach about! So endorphins, I have decided to wage a war with you to get back to being me.
The first step is the hardest, and seeing so many challenges on social media, I decided my challenge is with myself. No, I will not be sharing daily posts, nor posting live workouts for you to join. Yes, I accept the challenge of achieving my own personal results. So here we go. Ask me next week how it’s going!
Until then, I am preparing new routines to follow and get myself back to being me. My Sunday spa ritual will remain in my routine…and Bambi will continue on doing his Shavasana!!!!
Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia
The other day I rummaged through my first-aid kit in search of my thermometer. I was desperate to have the thermometer in case one of us started feeling sick. Tucked into the corner of the box I finally found the digital thermometer I had bought over 6 years ago. At the time is was considered an innovative thermometer that you connect to the headphone jack of your smartphone and use with an app.
I pulled it out just to realize that I would not be able to use it because I don’t have a headphone jack on my iPhone. Even if I could plug it in, I was sure that technology must have surpassed this innovation.
I decided to attach it to another device with a headphone jack just to find out if it works. The app needed an update and then I followed the steps to calibrate my thermometer. The final step was to sign in. Wait! What?… why should I sign in? The app wanted to send me push notifications and notify me of updates.
Ummm, no thank you.
I don’t know why I was surprised. I told my husband on our walk that the frickin’ phone has stored my thumb print, my voice, my face, and now my body temperature?
Last night as we watched the local news the was a segment on this thermometer. Jeez it was making the news! They claim to have over a million units in circulation and they are utilizing the data to track fevers around the country and their data indicates that they are seeing a drop in fevers since the lockdowns were implemented. The company is proud of the data and sees it as a good way to keep a check on the #coronavirus.
Personally I’m a conspiracy theorist. I believe that all these privacy infringements are a way for Big Brother to track his people. This company will sell our information to the government so they can track people with high temperatures for the Coronavirus. Other countries like China and Israel are openly using Social Tracking to monitor their citizens during this Pandemic. Perhaps it’s a good thing, but what about our privacy?
I know my life has been recorded for years, at the grocery store, my online purchases, the movies I watch, just to name a few. They even track which software I use because everything requires an online subscription. But just because it has become the norm doesn’t make it acceptable. Our fear of the #coronavirus might just be the platform Big Brother will use to manipulate us all into giving up more of our personal freedom.
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