These are truly crazy times we’re living in now. It felt necessary to dedicate an entire post to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic. Before the outbreak really picked up in NY, I had been trying to not let the fear of the virus take over my life. Since I still had to go to work at the student health clinic, I tried not to let it affect my day-to-day life outside of work as well. I felt absolutely irresponsible for not thinking of them more. I am now practicing social isolation/distancing more seriously. This is so SO important because we are running out of hospital beds and supplies for EVERYONE, no matter what brought them there. It means that car accidents, heart attacks, gun shot wounds… all these treatments are delayed or impossible in certain places due to the sheer volume!!! ***It’s important to not just fight the overall spread of this deadly virus, but also to fight the speed of it since it makes a HUGE difference between life and death for so many innocent people!!*** It’s so interesting how this turn of events is pushing the world towards what I had been trying to move towards anyway – flexible, location-independent work and connecting with others online no matter where you are.
Some say this is World War III, with an invisible enemy. I couldn’t agree more.
From what we’ve seen so far, it seems to have a 13% hospitalization rate, a 2% death rate, and very high infectiousness. Completely asymptomatic (people who don’t feel sick at all, with symptoms such as cough, runny nose, or fever) are able to pass it on to infect other people. That’s what has enabled it to spread so explosively.
Some countries have responded really well and managed to control its spread. Others, not so much. I didn’t think I’d end up in the heart of its path through the U.S..
I have been working and living in New York for the past 4 months, the leading state which as of today, with
I cut down on but still went out for food, exercise, and events using masks, frequent hand-washing, and other protective measures. I made sure to eat and rest enough to try to stay healthy. I was determined to not let the virus “win.”
I now realize that it was naive people like me who were exacerbating the problem. This issue is so much bigger than just me and my health. We now know that the virus can live in air particles for up to 3 hours, and on surfaces for up to 3 days, so any part of me can pass it on, even if I wear gloves.
If I ride on a subway and then sit somewhere else, I can pass on someone else’s COVID-19. If I wash my hands and don’t touch my face and it doesn’t get into my body through an orifice (my mouth, nose, eyes, or ears), it can still affect someone else.
While we may be relatively young and healthy, we all have loved ones who are more at risk for death or serious complications than we are.
I plead for all of you to take it seriously as well.
Every bit of social distancing helps to fight the pandemic and curb the spread (flatten the curve). This simulation shows exactly how.
Some estimates say that this pandemic could take up to 18 months to control, and for us to be able to return to normalcy again. That’s how serious this is!!
So many people are risking their lives on the front lines. If you are not one of these “essential service” personnel, you can still make a really big difference by doing your part.
I know we do still have to go out for essentials such as getting food or medical attention, but please try to do bulk-shopping or consider online shopping/delivery if you can, and limit unnecessary trips or contacts.
On a more positive note, I do think there are some silver linings to all this tragedy. When I was laid off from the student clinic since I was just a temp (locums) worker, I was devastated. But upon further reflection, I am so grateful to have been pulled away from those front lines, especially since that particular clinic discouraged us from wearing masks since it made the shortage worse and there wasn’t “strong enough evidence to support wearing them if you weren’t sick yourself.”
I will be transitioning to a part-time telemedicine company specifically for COVID consultations, to help the thousands of people who are not sure if they should risk venturing outside of their homes to get help or wait out the symptoms at home.
This also gives me a chance to breathe, really re-evaluate my priorities, and work more on my other passions which I had been neglecting during these past 4 months of this temp full-time medical job.
I vowed to start creating every day, at least one doodle, and sharing it on my Instagram. I was intimidated by all the amazing digital art out there and felt pressured to try to keep up…but now I’ve embraced what style makes me most happy — traditional pencil on paper. It may not be what is most aesthetically pleasing, but I hope the heart and messages behind my work can reach and move people. My dream of spreading joy, love and understanding has always been what’s driven my art.
This is also a great opportunity to be more active online in the communities I had always wanted to get more involved with, and continue working on the Acceptsians movement towards universal love and acceptance, of oneself and of others, even if you came from a very achievement-oriented background.
If not for the travel restrictions part, this would be a digital nomad’s paradise. I realized that it was the freedom of that lifestyle that appealed to me more than the travel part. Constant travel and changing environments can be exhausting, and having a community/support is so important. Of course, having a community online would enable me to have the best of both worlds.
I don’t mind being grounded for now, since I’m able to continue working on so many things that are important to me, things I would’ve worked on from anywhere.
Knowing that I am staying inside for a good and noble purpose makes it much easier as well. And putting it into perspective compared to our last world crisis.
I hope that forcing us to connect online will bring us closer together, and lead employers to be more accepting of remote work models so that we can all have more personal time to spend however choose, whether working on our dreams or bonding with our loved ones.
Though this pandemic has exacerbated racism in many ways, I hope that uniting against a common enemy will ultimately make us stronger as a world community.
There are so many fantastic resources out there on living this digital life while practicing social isolation/distancing, but I wanted to share some personal tips, some of which I was using already while I was on the road:
1. Focus on all the unique opportunities you have now, rather than on what you can’t do.
We are limited only by our minds and our creativity. Many businesses and activities are closed, so you’ll have to find new ways to spend your time.
Whether you are out of the office or out from work entirely, you now have more free time than ever before, and for some, precious time to spend with your loved ones since you otherwise would be away at work or school.
Learn new recipes together, play games, watch/read together, pick up a new instrument, language, or skill, make a video together, try new arts and crafts, decorations, or other projects. Come up with a dance together. Learn to cut hair.
2. Take this time to spend with yourself.
If you were always a go-go-go/on-the-run person, be honest — were you running from yourself? Did it make you uncomfortable to spend time simply in your own company? Get to really know and love yourself, as this is arguably the most important relationship you can ever have.
For those spiritual or religious, God/the Universe is a part of you, speaks out from you and does work through you. So your relationship with God is inextricably tied to your relationship with yourself. Journal, write, reflect, meditate, pray, practice gratitude, read.
Practice self-care, without guilt. There is so much noise in our lives. Limiting some of our activities helps us to slow down, be more mindful, and savor fully living in the present.
For self-discovery/self-improvement exercises every month, consider joining our Acceptsians movement mailing list. Join our Facebook group to see our monthly challenges so far since starting with No-Shame November in 2019.
3. You can still go outside for fresh air and nature, as long as you are mindful of the 6-foot recommended distance from others outside your household.
You can walk, run, bike, or hike. It’s important to keep up exercise both for physical and mental health. You can do a Youtube dance, yoga, or other workout video anywhere. Some people have done exercises on their roofs. You can also go for a drive if you have that luxury (solo or with people within your household).
4. You can have up to 100 people in virtual group hangouts over video call programs such as Zoom.
Many group games can be found or modified to be played online. Cards Against Humanity, Drawful, Mafia, Code Names are just some examples. You can also make up your own. Or you can have serious discussions such as a Book Club or question session. A study found that answering certain questions can rapidly result in an increased sense of intimacy and closeness, even claiming that they could make any 2 people fall in love!
5. Find ways to make video calls more than just a phone conversation with a view.
You can be more interactive than you think. You can sync up a movie/show together (with programs such as Netflix Party), cook a meal (or try the same recipe) and eat “across the table” from one another, play a game (video, card, or board), read the same book and discuss, listen to podcasts, exercise together, work alongside one another in the same virtual “room.”
You can also leave little notes, texts, emails, video clips, and other surprises for one another. You can even do food/grocery runs for one another to minimize exposures/contacts and show that you care.
It takes some adjusting, but you can really get a sense of each other’s presence through video call, especially if you zoom out the cameras to see more of each other’s bodies.
I’m still eagerly awaiting the day (I know it will come) when our technology advances enough to project full-body holograms so we get even more of a sense that someone is right beside us. For now, we can put a device/screen on a body pillow or doll/model so they can be as “live” as possible.
Some hospitals are using robots with the on-call doctor live streaming on a tablet as the “head.” Already we’ve found ways to control these robots’ precise movements from afar, even for doing surgeries! Remote work will continue to keep reaching new levels!
There are so many opportunities around us to connect with one another. This pandemic is forcing us to get more creative…but ultimately that leaves us better off than before.
After this passes, we will know and have experienced so much more that will make working from home or abroad, homeschooling, long-distance relationships, etc. all seem less scary. Because we were forced to make a change, we will leave more adaptable, resilient, and stronger than we ever were before!!
Before the outbreak really picked up in NY, I had been trying to not let the fear of the virus take over my life. Since I still had to go to work at the student health clinic, I tried not to let it affect my day-to-day life outside of work as well.
I felt absolutely irresponsible for not thinking of them more. I am now practicing social isolation/distancing more seriously.
This is so SO important because we are running out of hospital beds and supplies for EVERYONE, no matter what brought them there. It means that car accidents, heart attacks, gun shot wounds… all these treatments are delayed or impossible in certain places due to the sheer volume!!!
***It’s important to not just fight the overall spread of this deadly virus, but also to fight the speed of it since it makes a HUGE difference between life and death for so many innocent people!!***
It’s so interesting how this turn of events is pushing the world towards what I had been trying to move towards anyway – flexible, location-independent work and connecting with others online no matter where you are.