I have tried several times over the course of being home during the pandemic to sit down and write about how I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been thinking, and what I’ve been doing, but I can never seem to get the words right.
Luckily, my friend Cory has a blog called The Davis Daily and he wrote three compelling posts about how life and work has changed during the pandemic and where it will go from here. I encourage you to check it out here.
I am of the numerous people out of work as a result of covid-19. I have gone through a rollercoaster of feelings that I would like to briefly touch upon:
Prior to the closing of my workplace, the feelings of fear of the unknown were quite strong. I watched as surrounding areas closed their clinics and wondered why we weren’t doing the same. When we finally did decide to close, fear of the unknown was not only limited to the unknown of the virus but the unknown of when I would be able to go back to work again. Fear grew to include possibly contracting the virus, being asymptomatic, and passing it on to my mom who works with vulnerable populations. As an older woman with some health issues of her own, passing it onto her was terrifying. It still is, despite being in a bit more contact now with grocery deliveries than before.
I still feel fearful about going out. As time goes on, and the weather gets nicer, it looks like less people are following protocols. I fear that there will be another increase in numbers and this will last longer.
I finished my coursework in the first few days of being home. I didn’t have work to keep busy. And I have waves of a satisfying “calm” that I don’t have these two things pressing on me. I also feel calm because I feel grounded, and not in the “I’ve been bad and have to stay home” kind of way. I feel at peace (mostly) with myself and that is a wonderful feeling.
Naturally, the calm comes and goes and I found myself anxious of not having things to do. I am the type of person who likes to keep busy. I usually have a packed schedule. The flexibility in my day made me anxious – as if I had to be doing more. I started studying for my exam. I got into an exercise regime. I started Couch to 5K. And somehow that made me less anxious. I was filling my days with meaningful activities.
A few weeks into creating this wonderful new schedule, it was turned upside down when my boyfriend and I became parents…dog parents. We had been on the list for adopting a puppy for months so our desire to get a dog stems far longer than the pandemic. We adopted a beautiful cockapoo pup named Briggs (who has his own instagram account if you’d like to follow him! @thebestofbriggs). He has brought such joy to our lives and has kept me incredibly busy during this time with training, playing, and making sure he’s on his best behaviour. He is now 15 weeks old and sleeps through the night, can remain in his crate/playpen for 3.5 hours at a time, is potty-trained, and can follow basic commands. We’re working on some fun ones but would rather get him reliably doing the important ones such as: sit, down, up, look at me, leave it, drop it, go to your place, shake a paw (he can do both paws!), and stay. He loves playing fetch and playing with the dog next door.
Briggs has also brought positive changes to my mental health. He’s a great companion and has a calming presence (most of the time).
I’ve wrestled with this emotion a lot over the course of being home, as well. And I’ve felt it for different reasons: guilt of not doing more, guilt of not wanting to do work, or study for my exams, or enjoying my alone time. Guilt that I have all the time in the world right now and I can’t keep the house clean or commit to my exercise regime.
I have also felt guilt with Briggs. Guilt that I’m not doing a good enough job training him is a big one. I have been reading online something about this being the “puppy blues.”
It will soon be time to take the pup out of his play pen so I’ll leave with this: however you’ve chosen to spend your time during this pandemic is okay. However you feel during this pandemic is okay. Your feelings are valid. These are not normal circumstances. Life is not normal right now and it is uncertain when we will ever be “normal” again. Make use of the time we do have. Chat with your friends, spend some time alone, check on your family members, write letters to seniors in nursing homes, donate to the food bank, binge Netflix, or do whatever it is you want to do. We’re in this together, even from 6 feet apart.