This period of uncertainty in our lives will be known as one of redefining our definition of normalcy.
We no longer socialize with friends and family in public, go to restaurants, workplaces, movies, fitness centers, churches and synagogues. Our attire now includes masks and gloves, and we constantly search for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other cleaning products.
Health care workers have become our new heroes as they risk their lives caring for patients afflicted with COVID-19.
The challenges of living during this time should make us find new ways to live our lives and be cognizant of the toll on our emotional and physical health issues.
This is also a time when many people typically prepare for the holiday of Passover. For them, this time previously represented the beginning of spring and a period of hope and renewal. We should continue to reinforce this theme as we deal with the challenges in our daily lives.
This year, as the Passover story was recited, a significant area of reflection was on the plagues. Many individuals and families added an additional plague, the coronavirus, to the list of 10.
We also had to find new ways to celebrate the seder. Many people used various forms of technology, including Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and others, as a way to be closer. Many Passover services at synagogues were broadcast online.
As a general rule right now, we need to focus on the areas of our life that are under our control.
This includes recognizing needs in our family and friends, making changes in how we communicate and finding enjoyable and meaningful ways to occupy our time.
Here are some suggestions for connecting with others, monitoring our emotional and health issues, and finding enjoyable activities:
- Make sure your loved ones are taking their medications.
- Check on your family members’ medical supplies.
- Make sure your loved ones have food and are able to prepare it.
- Check in with your loved ones via video conferencing, telephone calls, text messages, social media and sending letters. Helping loved ones connect with others can go a long way to ease the isolation felt by many.
Emotional and health issues
Recognize that the following symptoms may occur:
- Increased anxiety
- Increased depression
- A sense of loss and grief
- A loss of control
- A loss of routine
Activities to find enjoyment
- Watch television shows and movies and reduce time watching the news.
- Play board games with
family or friends online.
- Cook a new recipe.
- Spend time outside in a safe way.
- Organize items in your home.
- Read or listen to a book.
- Listen to music.
- Talk to friends and family.
- Write a journal.
- Do a puzzle.
- Download a meditation app.
During this period of social isolation, we pray that the virus will pass over us as we continue to find ways to enhance our lifestyle until we return to a new normal.
Marcy Shoemaker is a staff psychologist at Abramson Center.