March 19th was the official start of spring 2020, but spring this year is different, very different. The whole world is going through great despair during the pandemic of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As most of you know Coronavirus started in China but quickly moved across the globe at seemingly record speed. One of my favorite sayings that was frequently referenced while completing my Master of Public Health (MPH) degree was ‘disease knows no borders.’ I learned extensively about pandemics and epidemics but never thought I was going to live through a serious and life-changing pandemic like the Coronavirus. This virus spreads rapidly and has received more social media attention than the entire Kardashian/Jenner family combined.
Sarcasm aside, the Coronavirus is very serious and needs to be controlled as quickly as possible, but a vaccine is not going to be available for at least 12-18 months. This infectious disease causes respiratory symptoms similar to the flu with coughing and fever being two of the most common symptoms and difficulty breathing being one of the most severe symptoms. Fortunately, most people will only develop mild to moderate symptoms and 80% will recover without needing special medical treatment. People with underlying health conditions, compromised immune systems, and those who are elderly are at higher risk of developing severe cases of the virus which can even cause death in the worst cases.
Social distancing is important even for the young and healthy because a person can be a carrier of the virus and show no symptoms or mild symptoms. This means someone can easily pass the virus onto someone who is more vulnerable without even knowing it. This virus can cause severe problems to the vulnerable (mainly the elderly or those with underlying health conditions). Another problematic fact is that you might not experience symptoms of the virus for up to 14 days! This is why schools are canceling, non-essential employees are instructed to work from home, and businesses are closing their doors to the public temporarily.
I feel extremely fortunate that I can work from home and continue to get paid during this difficult time. There are many people who are unable to get paid and some businesses may even permanently close which is extremely heartbreaking. The economy will probably go into a recession which hopefully doesn’t last long. Important events are being canceled including graduations and weddings, because in the United States, we cannot be in a group of more than 10 people which can feel isolating and depressing.
I have been thinking about how social distancing is going to affect people long-term. I know that I have been feeling more lonely than usual due to not being able to participate in normal activities or even go to the gym. On the positive, I have been able to spend more time on self-improvement including enjoying my newfound pastime which is listening to audiobooks. Audiobooks are enjoyable for me because I can listen to all sorts of books while doing my normal daily activities. I enjoy reading too, but audiobooks allow me to listen in the car and while doing some home workouts during these quarantine days. I have also been practicing gratitude and realizing that I have so much to be thankful for even during these difficult times.
My hope is that the world will be able to come together to help each other and realize that we are all connected on some level; we are all one. Despite the Coronavirus, I have been dealing with a great deal of personal distress including a breakup and moving into my own apartment which I actually enjoy a lot. Today I spent time outdoors and took a hike at my favorite park which brought back so many memories. I was drawn to hiking at my favorite park today because I have hiked there many times before during both pleasant and difficult times. Today is the first day in almost a month that I have felt at ease and secure (yes, even during this pandemic). I finally feel ready to put the past behind me and move on with my life. I feel free and like I can return to my normal self with more self-awareness and compassion. Sometimes things happen in life that don’t make sense or are extremely devastating, but I truly believe I have a life purpose and the universe is on my side. Although I don’t think ‘everything’ happens for a reason, I do think that we are put into certain situations to learn from and grow. Even the most painful situations can be life lessons. I am moving forward with self-compassion and realizing that although I can’t control what happens to me, I can control the way I respond.
This post went from talking about the Coronavirus to my personal life which may be odd but felt nice to write about which is the whole purpose of my blog. Anyway, I hope everyone stays safe out there and never gives up hope that something great is about to happen!