Last week, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shifted from fears to reality. Preventative measures enacted by local and federal governments have pushed students, professionals, and retirees alike to the confines of their domicile in a new social behavior tagged as “social distancing.” The first week of quarantine is now coming to close and panic is being replaced by a maligned feeling that “social distancing” may become the new normal required to keep our precariously perched healthcare system from going over the edge. This change is not so unpalatable to some in a society that is increasingly dependent on digital methods of socializing, communication, and commerce. However, to many this shift causes anxiety, stress, and depression. Perhaps in some, it will extend and increase the severity of S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), due to reduced time in daylight at a time when winter should be ending. Others are simply craving a taste of sunshine. Being from the Philadelphia area where winters can be a dark, cold, and lengthy affair, I know I am one of those people craving sunshine when spring rears its head. My mood, adult acne, and energy levels are vastly improved in the warmer months of the year. Needless to say, I am less than thrilled about “social distancing” as I had a beach vacation planned, that has since been cancelled, for the third week of March. In spite of all this negativity, hope is not lost.
I’ve noticed some curious behaviors in my community since the viral outbreak. Walkers are everywhere (me being one of them). I have never seen so many walkers in local parks, trails, neighborhoods, and designated nature areas. Doctors have encouraged this behavior for those of us who are not showing any cold or flu-like symptoms. I have personally taken this one step further. I’ve been much more gung-ho about throwing on my 60 Smart Bag, hopping on my Sapphire 01 Pro, and venturing out to find peaceful spots I can turn into my mobile work space for a few hours. Doing this has made me feel a lot better about my daily routine and I don’t miss crowded urban travel and office meetings nearly as much as I thought I would. It’s rather enjoyable to plot out an area on my phone, whether it be a park, beach, or nature preserve, and exploring the area until I find a an isolated area to set up a little office. Once I find it, I roll out my picnic blanket, whip out my laptop, send some emails, eat my lunch, then maybe read a few chapters on my Kindle, before I rap up my micro office and head home. As I start to ponder what a return to “normal” life will look like, that is if we can ever really go back to “normal,” I don’t think this is a routine I really want to give up.