These series of blog posts regarding my life during COVID-19 quarantine in New York State are meant to be anecdotal and anthropological and offer a glimpse into what my experiences are currently like while this global pandemic is going on. Please don’t take any of what I’m about to say seriously. Just read and enjoy.
Week #7 of COVID-19 New York State Quaratine
Governor Cuomo issued that non-essential workers stay at home on March 22nd, 2020 and that non-essential businesses have to close.
So I’m counting the weeks from March 22nd, 2020.
How’s it going mentally?
For the first couple of weeks, mentally I was busy trying to figure out how to have a semblance of normalcy in my life after the shutdowns started happening.
I thought I was doing fine because I busied myself with figuring out how to make sure we got enough sales to make payroll for my staff (I own a small business).
We were busy adapting systems, processes, procedures, marketing, sales, etc. to handle business in light of the novel coronavirus.
It was challenging and often mentally taxing.
I found myself mentally stretched thin, having to think, plan, and implement a lot of things in quick succession to make sure we still had a business the next day to keep people on payroll.
I made sure to get 8 hours of sleep a night, regardless of how much work I had to do the next day, knowing that if I had less sleep, my brain wouldn’t be operating as efficiently regarding decision-making.
I wanted my brain to be operating with as much rest as possible in order to make snap decisions during those hectic first few weeks or we risked closing the business.
My staff depended on me being sound of mind and making decisions that overall would make sure we stayed afloat, that they had jobs, and income at the end of the day.
Luckily I had just finished listening to the audiobook version of “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker, and learned how a lot of bad decisions are usually made when we lack sleep.
And I didn’t want to put my business in a bad position based on life habits that are within my realm of control/sphere of influence.
So I made sure that no matter how hectic we were with the day to day planning for COVID-19 shutdowns, I got 8 hours of sleep a night.
So far, that has been successful each week.
How my girlfriend and I stay mentally sane during all of this
On our days off, we plan to go out for long walks together.
Minimum 3-6 mile walks each time.
Walking has many health benefits, here are some.
It gives us time to get fresh air, exercise, and catch up about business, personal matters, plan life going forward, etc.
If the weather sucks, then we watch a movie together or eat together.
Basically spend quality time together and catch each other up on what’s going on in our lives.
If the weather is also nice, sometimes we garden.
I understand that if you live in a city setting and don’t have access to a plot of land, you can’t really garden.
Maybe you can create a small herb garden to put by your window?
How my family and I are doing mentally?
We’re all doing alright.
We’ve had more family dinners now because there’s nowhere else for family members to be at the end of the night.
It gives us a time to catch up on each other’s personal lives but we’ve also had nights where we don’t have dinner together at all because everyone just wants to do their own thing and be left alone.
How’s it going physically?
The first few weeks were alright when they closed all gyms in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut.
Then it started raining for days in the Spring, and there was a cold spell, and it wasn’t so friendly to jog outside (my excuse).
So almost two months into this without a gym and I will admit I’ve gotten a little flabbier/softer.
I’ve since ordered a jump rope and planning on doing intense jump roping in the mornings to get my heart rate up.
I’ve also brought a yoga mat to my workplace to do yoga here and there because I don’t have space at home.
So the daily small amounts of yoga, sit ups, planks, sprints, walking, jump roping, can add up.
How’s it going spiritually?
I try to do a couple of minutes of yoga the moment I wake up to warm up my body and also get interstitial fluids moving.
One of the books I’m currently reading is about Japanese Zen Buddhism.
It occasionally helps me practice daily mindfulness and slowing down amid life’s hecticness.
When I garden, eat, take my walks, I try to do it without tech nearby so I can focus on nature.
When I’m walking I try to take deep conscious breathes, listen to the birds, note the wind coursing through the trees, the sunshine on my head, stuff like that.
So spiritually I’d say is going well.
How’s it going existentially?
Existentially for the first few weeks I was doing alright.
I was glad to have work, income, a nice team to work with, and a reason for getting out of bed and driving somewhere every day.
Even though the work is long, grueling hours, it was nice to be productive in an essential business.
Then week 6-7 hit and I found myself wondering what the heck I’m doing all this for, especially with no end in sight to the shutdowns.
I, dare I say it, might even be starting to feel sad because the narrative of America has shifted so dramatically so fast.
There’s no escape between work and family life like there was before the shutdowns.
There used to be the “third place.”
The place you could hang out before coming home at the end of a long day, or go to escape the occasional drudgery of familial obligations and noise.
Now that all restaurants aren’t allowed to have sit downs, and the bars are closed, you can only order takeout and eat in your car to escape the house.
Existentially I’m working on being more positive and optimistic again, but with a firm basis in reality.
Not a head in the clouds type of Pollyanna.
I’m reading self growth books, watching fun comedic and optimistic shows and movies on Netflix and Disney+.
So far it’s helping and even though things are still shutdown, I think the next few weeks are going to be better as the weather warms up and I’m able to be outside more.
Also I want to see how shifting the focus toward activities and things that fill me with positivity and uplifting energy will affect me in all areas listed in this week’s journal.
How’s it going monetarily?
Monetarily, my girlfriend and I help each other watch out for spending that we don’t have to do.
When COVID-19 quarantine first happened and we were busy trying to make sure our business stayed afloat, I found myself mentally calorically taxed by all the thinking and stress that I had more cravings than usual for certain foods from restaurants I like to order from.
I spent way more than I should have on eating out the first couple of weeks so now I’m watching out for it.
I just told my girlfriend that I’m not going to be spending any more money on non-essentials.
She then suggested that I actually budget for it instead of cutting it out of my life altogether and going crazy.
So I’m going to start budgeting $25 a week for a “fun fund” again which I haven’t done in I think over a year and a half.
If I don’t use the $25 a week it’ll roll over and collect in my Ally Bank savings account where savings is right now 1.5% annually I think.
And if I don’t eat out and touch the budget, I might use it for a book I want to read during this quarantine or something else fun etc.
I already don’t spend any money on clothes so nothing changes in that regard.
Literally the only things I spend my money on are food, groceries, entertainment (I subscribed to Disney+ during quarantine), movies, and books.
Not too shabby.
My girlfriend and I are thinking about doing instacart in our area to make some extra money every week.
I figured it was a better idea than driving Uber and having random people in your car who might or might not be wearing masks and gloves and could be carriers or infected/sick.
How’s it going socially?
For the first 6 weeks of corona quarantine I didn’t talk much to friends.
We couldn’t see each other anyways because of the stigma of meeting up with people in case someone had coronavirus so we all agreed to not hangout in person.
On week 7, I finally got on the Zoom train and made a zoom account for video chatting with friends.
Though I literally do not understand why we all couldn’t have group chatted on Skype, Oovoo (remember that? Lol), or videochat function in the messenger app via Facebook?
Zoom chatting with friends was chill once you get over the fact that we’ve resorted to drinking beer in front of screen talking to each other instead of in person.
It was fun to catch up to see how everyone’s world was.
I’ve also caught up with friends over the phone which was nice because these conversations wouldn’t be happening if coronavirus hadn’t literally made us all housebound for weeks.
So socially, I’ve caught up with more friends in the last few weeks than I have when the shutdowns first started.
How’s it going work-wise?
Work is keeping me busy.
It’s given me a purpose to wake up in the morning and go do something.
Even though I didn’t need my current work to give me a purpose to wake up in the morning because I already had other personal projects I was working on before the virus hit.
I think my team also appreciates having a job right now when all of their friends don’t have jobs.
They said that it’s nice to have a reason to wake up in the morning and know what they’re going to do for the day.
So work is good and the team is good.
Weekly observations of the public
A lot more people are wiping their money with sanitizing wipes before using it.
Some people ignore the LAW that you’re supposed to wear masks and gloves if you’re going out in public.
And if you can’t afford masks, your mouth and nose are supposed to be covered at least by some sort of fabric to stop you spreading germs to other people or you getting germs from other people via your mouth and nose.
Toilet paper and paper towels are still hard to find.
So are gloves and masks.
The cheap $1 masks are bought up as soon as they get restocked, leaving only $5 masks for sale.
A lot of local restaurants have either shifted their open days or hours to accommodate people’s shifts in habits since the shutdowns.
Stocks are up and down most days and were down 30-45% the first few weeks of the shutdowns but bounced back up 30% on average depending on where you’re looking.
Meaning if you bought at the “bottom” of that dip when things looked bleak, you’d be sitting on a nice 20-30% gain MINIMUM, in the span of 1-2 weeks.
Now every single business, if they’re still open, are requiring anyone entering to have a mask on.
If you don’t have a mask on they won’t let you in.
Let’s say it’s a nice day and you want to enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine and escape from being cooped up in the house for weeks of spring rain, if you’re walking around in public with no mask, technically you’re currently breaking the law, but also now you’re viewed as the odd one.
Because everyone is literally wearing a mask except for the bravado youth who think they’re death-proof and immune to getting the virus.
The gardening section of Lowe’s is EMPTY because everyone literally bought out all the outdoor perennials and annuals and dirt and houseplants because they literally have nothing better to do except house projects because they’re housebound.
I only know that because I tried to buy some flowers to garden and basically they’re all gone…