Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How to Survive Being Quarantined with Your Parents

Hey y'all! Happy Tuesday!

I hope everyone is doing well as we work on getting through this situation together. With so much being out of anyone's control, life can get overwhelming very fast, and it's important to remember to take care of yourselves.

Personally, I had planned on spending my spring break visiting my parents in Ohio for a week and then flying back to Atlanta to finish my last semester of law school. During that week, the COVID-19 outbreak got worse, my school extended spring break a week, and all classes got moved online. Since my medical insurance is more widely-accepted in Ohio, and it's likely safer not to fly back just yet, I decided to stay at home until further notice. Since then, I've had to deal with what would have been my last Barrister's Ball getting canceled, graduation getting canceled, and surviving with about half a week's worth of clothes and other necessities until my fiancé could send me a box of my things from our apartment. It's been a lot to handle, and I know I'm not alone in struggling to deal with it all.

I want to talk about my coping strategies for surviving being quarantined. My dad works in IT (now from home) and has pretty much commandeered the kitchen table for his work space, my mom just got the green light to work from home and will be using our very old and very low-functioning family laptop since her company isn't providing laptops to their employees, my little brother works night shifts, and our dog likes to (loudly) wake up with everyone in the house and bark at anyone walking outside. My classes are picking back up this week, and I'm sure it will be a hectic transition. Here are some ways that I'm planning to survive:


Respect Each Other's Workspace and Work Time
When I was in high school and did my homework in my bedroom, my mom would pop in and out all the time- dropping off a stack of laundry, offering a snack, or just to chat for a bit. Now that I've moved out and have been in law school for the last two and a half years, I'm used to being able to sit quietly and get my work done without distractions. My classes are also now online, which means my professors and classmates can see and hear what goes on on my end. I talked with my parents and explained that from 8:30 AM to about 6 PM I'm "working" in a similar sense as they are, that I need quiet in order to focus, and that I need to be undisturbed since I'm in a live lecture or working on papers that make up my entire semester grade. In between classes, I will leave my room to say hi if anyone is in the kitchen or to grab something to eat, but my room is off-limits during business hours. This gives me my own space and the peace and quiet I need to be productive. I also extend the same courtesy to my parents' chosen work spaces.

Stagger Your Routines
I love working out in the mornings. So does my little brother. My dad makes lunch around noon. This is the same time my class lets out and I want to get into the kitchen to make myself something. Adjusting to everyone's routines can be difficult. Figuring out a way to work your schedule around everyone else's as we all transition to this new way of working can make the day go by much smoother. For me, doing my cardio workouts on days my brother does weights helped make working out easier, and prepping my lunch the night before helps to cut down on traffic in the kitchen.

Make Time for You Time
We all need a little "me time" when we can get it, and it's even more valuable when there is so much anxiety and worry on a day-to-day basis now. While I definitely miss the warmer weather in Atlanta, not having a crazy morning commute or having to get all dolled up for my internship or classes has allowed me more time to do some things I haven't gotten to do in a while: I read a book I've had my eye on, I started crocheting again, and I'm getting back into doing yoga on my days off from working out. It's also easier to make time to working out, which I cannot recommend enough! As Elle Woods famously said, "exercise give your endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don't shoot their husbands." I'm so grateful that my parents have a home gym so I can pour all my stress into an elliptical session or a long run on the treadmill. However, you don't need fancy equipment to get your heart rate up! There are tons of free workout videos you can follow on YouTube, and even just a walk (while maintaining proper distance to others) can help you refocus your day.

Get Fresh Air
Similar to the last point, make sure you're getting outside if you can. This past weekend, I admittedly was moping more than usual due to my graduation ceremony being canceled, and my back ended up hurting from all the sitting and lack of movement. I took my dog for a long walk, and I felt so much better. Fresh air can improve your mood, and even a short walk can help if you're sitting all day. Take your time when you can and just appreciate nature and the change of scenery (bonus points if you also get to enjoy some sunshine). Again, be careful when you do go out, and don't put yourself or others at risk.

Reach Out to People You're Not Quarantined With
Let's face it, we all get annoyed with the people we're around from time to time. Sometimes it can be helpful to talk to people who you haven't talked to in a while (or haven't been cooped up inside with for weeks). I talk to my fiancé two or three times a day over the phone or FaceTime, and I text my friends from law school as well since I no longer get to see them at school. This keeps me connected to the spheres I'm away from and always brightens my day. While we may not be able to hang out, we can at least keep in touch.

Spend Quality Time Together
Finally, don't forget to spend some quality time with the people you're with. I know my mom has been loving having me home since I'm so far away most of the time. I try not to get too wrapped up in worrying about my classes, finding a job, staying in contact with everyone in Atlanta, making sure I'm making more healthy choices than unhealthy ones, and everything in the news. Working on being present in the moment has allowed me to appreciate the activity I'm doing rather than cloud it with a fog of worry about the next thing. I've definitely watched a ton of movies with my family in the last few weeks, but we've also baked a few things, had family dinners together, and played a few board games. I also usually grab a family member to walk the dog around the park with me so we can chat along the way. Spending quality time with everyone has led to all of us existing under one roof much more harmoniously.

What has helped you survive quarantine? Leave a comment and let me know!

Make today the best page yet!
Paige

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are”

At some point, we all have to accept the cards we've been dealt. Sometimes it's a winning hand, sometimes it's a losing hand, but no matter what, we have to simply do what we can. In light of the Coronavirus outbreak and a lot of difficult situations resulting from it, I want to share a story with all of you:

🥎🥎🥎

It was my sophomore year of undergrad. I was a member of our school's division II softball team, and we had just gotten a new head coach. I spent my freshman year sitting the bench, and I was so determined to make this year different. I spent the whole summer lifting, conditioning, and doing everything humanly possible to get myself in shape to begin the year. 

When the team came back to school in the fall, I surpassed all of the mandatory fitness benchmarks. But I didn't stop there. In addition to the practices, workouts, and scrimmages I had for softball while maintaining Dean's-List-worthy grades, a position as a resident assistant, and all of life's other chores, I spent extra time in the gym perfecting my swing and making sure I was in top condition when our season arrived. I never told my coach about any of the extra work I was putting in because I wanted my hard work to speak for itself. However, he pulled me aside one evening after practice and told me that he saw all the extra work I was putting in. I had so much hope that this season was going to be mine for the taking.

Our season officially started at a spring break tournament in Myrtle Beach. We warmed up for our first game, and entered the dugout. The starting lineup was hanging on a clipboard on the fence. I walked over to it and scanned it for my name. Nothing. I read the lineup three times to make sure I didn't miss something. I wasn't starting. I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride as the game began. "Coach can't start everyone," I told myself, "maybe he'll swap me in for someone in a few innings." The game ended, and my white uniform was as spotless as it was when the game started. The second game was more or less the same: Warm up, check the lineup, mask my disappointment, hope to get a chance later in the game, and the game ended before I knew it. The first day of our season ended without me stepping foot on the field.

That night back in our hotel I couldn't help but think about how disappointed I was and that this season was starting just like the last year had. I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn't help but think "benchwarmer." All of my hard work was going to be for nothing. I went to bed hoping that tomorrow would be different. It wasn't. Neither was the day after. 7 games went by, and the most I got to do was pinch run once.

Our last day at Myrtle Beach we had two games scheduled. The first game was identical to every other game, except I was becoming less disappointed with the reality that this season would be another that I would watch from the sidelines. When the second game started, I wasn't surprised when my name was left off of the lineup for the 9th time. I also wasn't surprised when I wasn't told to sub in for another player in the middle of the game. I was surprised when my coach told me to pinch hit in the last inning of the game.

After almost 9 games straight of being benched, I was about as far away from being warmed-up as possible. The season before, I had pinch hit three times, and I struck out or grounded out every single one of them. To say I was nervous was an understatement; I was probably shaking while I walked up to the batter's box. Nonetheless, I took a deep breath and looked to my coach for my signal. There was nobody on base, 1 out, and we were up 11-6 in that last inning. My coach wanted me to get a hit, but there wasn't much riding on my at-bat, and it wasn't hard to deduce from my playing history that week that my coach didn't have much confidence in my abilities. 

The stage was set for me to fail, but I held onto the last shred of confidence I had in myself. My dad always told me to simply do my best whenever I had an opportunity to shine, and I kept his words in the front of my mind as I waited for my pitch. When I saw it, I held my breath and swung my bat. I felt the ball connect to the bat and then watched as the ball soared over the pitcher's head. I got an easy single, and hugged my first-base coach when I realized that I had just gotten my first college softball hit!

My sophomore season progressed mostly in the same fashion as my first 8 games: sitting the bench with the occasional pinch run. I never got to take the field. I got two other opportunities to hit: during one, I got another single, and during the other I hit a double.

🥎🥎🥎

That was my last season playing fastpitch softball. A lot of it was disappointing, and I spent so much of the season wondering what I did wrong or what I could have done better. But for the three opportunities I was given, I did the best that I could, and I soaked up every second. To this day, I still remember the glorious feeling of the bat connecting to the ball just right, and of standing on second base after the perfect line-drive double. In these times when there is so much going wrong and so much anxiety and uncertainty, let's all try to do our best with what we've been given.

🥎 To the seniors who are facing canceled events, formals, or graduation ceremonies that you've waited so long for and worked so hard to get to: think about how exciting your next step will be. Whether it's college, graduate school, starting your career, or something else, the next part of your journey is going to be filled with an even greater adventure than you've had yet. Use this time to get yourself prepared to take on this next step head on.

🥎 To those worried about family members, whether that is grandparents, young children, friends, or anyone else: be with those who you can be with, and stay in contact with those who you can't see in person. Technology has given us the ability to connect to the people in our lives in so many different ways, and as technology advances, people appreciate handwritten letters more and more. Connect with the people in your lives as much as you possibly can during this time when there is so much to be unsure about.

🥎 To those brave heroes working in hospitals, doing research in labs, making sure grocery stores are stocked, or helping society to continue to function: you are truly what makes this country great, and you are a blessing to all of us. Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do.

No matter what your situation is, there is something that each one of us can do to try to make this time a little less scary and lessen each others' burdens, even just a small bit. Together, we can get through this.

Stay safe everyone, and make today the best page yet,
Paige