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How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?

Started by SueC, March 24, 2020, 11:48:24

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SueC

Dear CF community

We already have a factual thread on COVID-19 over here:  http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9304.0

I thought I'd make a thread on which we can share our approaches for dealing with this crisis on a personal level, and support each other in our online community.

Most of us across the world are now on social distancing and some sort of restricted movement.  This is especially tough if you live alone, so if that's you, here's one place you can check in for a bit of human contact - it's at a distance, but we're all people.

In Australia, a lot of people lost their work this week as businesses folded and employers laid people off. The unemployment queues out there today are of a length not seen in our country since the Great Depression - our workforce has been increasingly casualised / on contract since the 1990s, and not many people have permanent work anymore, which means there is little economic security for many people even when there isn't a pandemic.

The central bank has dropped interest rates to an unprecedented tiny rate to try to stop mass homelessness from inability to meet mortgage repayments / rent payments.  A lot of people are pretty stressed right now, for those reasons and because they worry about medically at-risk friends and family.

So with upheaval rife just now, I thought we could all benefit from a thread where we share things that we are doing that are helping us keep sane at this time.

Our situation:  My husband works in a medical practice four days a week and therefore is in essential services that don't have the option of working from home.  The job is secure but the risk of catching the new virus is elevated.  His workplace has always had really good hygiene protocols, and people coming in with respiratory symptoms have been put in masks for years.  This reduced staff illness considerably.  At the moment, people with respiratory symptoms are mostly seen in their cars; reducing the risk of transmission further.  They do think that most of the staff, like most of the rest of us, are eventually going to get it, but the benefits of delaying it as much as possible mean more people going critical can be helped.

I've been working at and from home for a number of years now anyway - I look after an organic farm these days, and do a bit of freelance writing.  So for us, not that much has changed right now, other than that we are under social distancing protocol at the moment, and increasing restrictions on travel.

However, both of us are working on being as healthy as possible in preparation for the increasing community transmission of COVID-19, and the upcoming Australian cold and flu season.  So, careful eating, regular exercise and sufficient rest - something we've been pretty serious about all our lives - are now ramped up to even higher priority, as is dealing immediately with minor illness by throwing lots of rest, hydration, chicken soup etc at it instead of attempting to "soldier on" - in order to get rid of any bugs as soon as possible, so that we're not down with one thing when another comes along.

We're also keeping in touch with others through email and other remote means, and checking in rather more frequently that usual through those avenues in order to support one another.

At home, we're NOT watching the 24-hour news cycle (something we've never bought into) - in fact, our TV is frequently off for months on end.  We get news off the internet, where we can get a quick overview and only go in-depth with things of special interest to us.  This avoids being emotionally drained by news programmes (if you're susceptible to this) and frees up our energy to work on positive things in our own circles instead.

Laughing is helpful - big stress reliever.

What's working for you just now?
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24What's working for you just now?

A bit of a laugh is of course helpful (for a little while at least). Thanks everyone who puts up jokes or funny vids online.

While I do watch local news or news about Germany in general, I do turn them off when it gets too much. I need to keep informed, but I also do so online if I'm looking for something specific.

My mind is occupied with "The Sopranos" (re-watch; quite funny at times) and "The Tudors", because I put on those dvd's when I've enough of the telly...
So far I've been able to fall asleep without problems. Sometimes I wake up and worry, but it does not happen too often.
I drink beer from time to time, but rather less as I would in "normal" times...

Talking to my relatives (some live nearby) or other people on the phone is of course good, as is exchanging emails with friends world-wide (we're all in the same boat more or less)!
If only I'd thought of the right words...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on March 24, 2020, 14:42:41...(we're all in the same boat more or less)!

I have the perfect song about that for you!  :cool

SueC is time travelling

BiscuityBoyle

My situation is incredibly frustrating. This year I'm teaching at a far away university while my wife has stayed behind in Montreal. I spent the semester break with her and then flew off to another continent, only to learn that the semester would be held online and there's no real reason for me to be here. Meanwhile she got laid off from her job in an art gallery and is holed up at home, with only the cat for company, slowly losing her mind by the sound of it. In theory I could go home since I doubt very much the semester will be relaunched in "meat space" but who knows... Plus flying is expensive in addition to all the other obvious risks. Knowing my luck I'll get stranded in some quarantined airport in northern Manitoba or wherever on my way to Montreal, with bears for company.

SueC

Dear @BiscuityBoyle, I am sorry to hear you are in such a lousy situation with current living arrangements, and needlessly separated from your wife at this time.  I hope there will be some way for you to go home safely and economically, without too many bears.  Is your employer going to be able at any point to give you any useful information about how long you can teach from offsite / back home, so that the flight home becomes less of an economic risk?  Is there an additional problem for you that you might not be let back out of Canada if you go home now and the situation changes for your university in three months or whatever, and you then wouldn't be able to honour your employment contract?

It does sound like a very complicated situation, and I wish you and your wife well.  Sorry to hear about your wife's job loss too.  Difficult times for so many people right now.

If I may be so nosy, what are you teaching and do you enjoy it?
SueC is time travelling

SueC

SueC is time travelling

BiscuityBoyle

Quote from: SueC on March 25, 2020, 04:50:33Dear @BiscuityBoyle, I am sorry to hear you are in such a lousy situation with current living arrangements, and needlessly separated from your wife at this time.  I hope there will be some way for you to go home safely and economically, without too many bears.  Is your employer going to be able at any point to give you any useful information about how long you can teach from offsite / back home, so that the flight home becomes less of an economic risk?  Is there an additional problem for you that you might not be let back out of Canada if you go home now and the situation changes for your university in three months or whatever, and you then wouldn't be able to honour your employment contract?

It does sound like a very complicated situation, and I wish you and your wife well.  Sorry to hear about your wife's job loss too.  Difficult times for so many people right now.

If I may be so nosy, what are you teaching and do you enjoy it?



Thanks for the kind words. Right now I know nothing about what are the possibilities when there, just completely in the dark, like all of us. Everyone I spoke to feels very strongly that the best course of action is to stay put rather than undertake international travel. 

I specialize in 20th century French intellectual history, people like Foucault (my PhD) and Barthes (my true love), which is handy cause then you can pressed into service teaching courses in philosophy, literature, media, whatever. Very handy in these times where no one's getting tenure any longer and we'll all be adjuncts and part time staff till the day they just shutter the humanities - so probably for another three months or so haha...

I enjoy teaching overall though I'm far from a natural. It's hard...

dsanchez

Quote from: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24What's working for you just now?

I am one of the lucky ones whose job can be performed from home. I work in an IT company and we have been working from home for about three weeks now. Here in Slovakia University and Schools are closed until further notice -University classes continue through Skype though-, if you go out you must wear a mask, and supermarkets have priority for elderly people from 09:00 to 12:00. The Volkswagen factory (Slovakia has several car factories) has been closed, the airport is closed...it's empty city now (and Bratislava is already a very calm city)

I think all these actions will pay off. There are barely 300 cases in the country and zero deaths. Of course we didn't have many tests so I guess the real figure must be at least 5 times more. In any case, I think we will be OK long term. The people has taken this pandemic seriously and they are respecting the rules.

As how I spend the time.. mostly at home and I am learning a lot a software I am using for a project, so I think I will be very proficient in it when this finishes. My boss expects we will continue like this until end of May. I think we will be until end of April. I don't think the country will continue shutdown specially due the low number of cases. We will see.
2019.06.08 Dublin
2019.07.04 Novi Sad
2019.07.17 Athens

SueC

Quote from: BiscuityBoyle on March 29, 2020, 11:02:04Thanks for the kind words. Right now I know nothing about what are the possibilities when there, just completely in the dark, like all of us. Everyone I spoke to feels very strongly that the best course of action is to stay put rather than undertake international travel.

Have you got a good Skype link set up with your wife back home?  How's she doing?

I can't think of many things more horrible than the idea of being separated from my spouse for an indefinite period of time in a world situation like this :1f62d: - so I feel for both of you.  When would you normally have flown back to Canada?  And is that timeline still a possibility?

Isn't it great to have the Internet and Skype though, compared to other times in history.  People used to have to write letters that went by boat and didn't get there for many weeks.  Or send telegrams, or phone if you had lots of spare cash.

I wish I'd had Skype when we emigrated to Australia when I was a kid, and I could no longer see my grandmother, whom I loved the most of anyone in my family, and who was also the only person in my family I had a warm relationship with.  We wrote so many letters to each other.  I was only allowed to phone occasionally and there was always someone looking pointedly at their watch when I was talking to her. :smth011


Quote from: undefinedI specialize in 20th century French intellectual history, people like Foucault (my PhD) and Barthes (my true love), which is handy cause then you can pressed into service teaching courses in philosophy, literature, media, whatever. Very handy in these times where no one's getting tenure any longer and we'll all be adjuncts and part time staff till the day they just shutter the humanities - so probably for another three months or so haha...

Yeah, doesn't that suck.  It's like the right-wingers are perpetually trying to choke the arts, the BBC, the ABC (in Australia), and anything else that is conducive to making people think critically and teaching them compassion and other ways of seeing things.  Kudos to you for studying what you loved, and trying to pass it on - despite it not being lucrative to do so.  I kind of preferred lighting candles to living with a modicum of economic security.  Having said that, we're very glad now that when we turned 40, we decided to do the self-sufficiency / back to the land thing - we are now more economically resilient, and stable, than we ever were working professionally - how paradoxical is that?

I've just had a look at Barthes vs Sartre on writing, and definitely side with Barthes on that one (and it looks like I have some more reading to do!  :cool ).  Open secret: I don't have much time for Sartre, but I do love this:

https://pvspade.com/Sartre/cookbook.html

:heart-eyes  :beaming-face  :evil:  :angel  :smth023


Quote from: undefinedI enjoy teaching overall though I'm far from a natural. It's hard...

I was the kid who nearly died giving presentations in high school.  I did a Dip.Ed. after my B.Sc. specifically because I knew it was ludicrous that I had difficulty talking to people in a formal setting.  And that year was a real roasting for me - I had insomnia and cold sweats etc, and used record amounts of anti-perspirant.  But eventually I got over the fear of public speaking, and began to actually enjoy it. :lol:  I guess no longer caring if I looked ridiculous or not helped - and then progressing to deliberately trying to look ridiculous, that was great fun.  :angel  :beaming-face

I suppose I'm an example of successful exposure therapy.  :)  So glad I did it - because I had so much fun for nearly 20 years with groups of people as a result.  Teabag rockets!  Making hydrogen balloons and setting them on fire!  Floating sultanas in a fresh vinegar / sodium bicarbonate mixture!  Throwing sodium metal chunks into water, boom!  :yum:  And potassium metal, even more colourful!  Talking about life, the universe and everything with switched-on kids.  :heart-eyes  Doing literature with them too (because I loved and taught both "sides"), and philosophy - like a book / poetry club on steroids...  :heart-eyes

I don't do that anymore, having now found different things to do that are also important, but I'm never going to regret that - I know that this was the best possible way I could have spent my 20s and 30s, and I'm always going to be grateful for those experiences, and the ability to make a difference, both academically and humanly...

When you've taught, and you've cared, even when you stop, the consequences of the work you did won't stop; they will go ever outwards like ripples in a pond, in so many different ways.  :)

Stay well, and all the best to you.
SueC is time travelling

SueC

SueC is time travelling

SueC

Quote from: dsanchez on March 29, 2020, 23:48:23I am one of the lucky ones whose job can be performed from home. I work in an IT company and we have been working from home for about three weeks now. Here in Slovakia University and Schools are closed until further notice -University classes continue through Skype though-, if you go out you must wear a mask, and supermarkets have priority for elderly people from 09:00 to 12:00. The Volkswagen factory (Slovakia has several car factories) has been closed, the airport is closed...it's empty city now (and Bratislava is already a very calm city)

I think all these actions will pay off. There are barely 300 cases in the country and zero deaths. Of course we didn't have many tests so I guess the real figure must be at least 5 times more. In any case, I think we will be OK long term. The people has taken this pandemic seriously and they are respecting the rules.

As how I spend the time.. mostly at home and I am learning a lot a software I am using for a project, so I think I will be very proficient in it when this finishes. My boss expects we will continue like this until end of May. I think we will be until end of April. I don't think the country will continue shutdown specially due the low number of cases. We will see.

Are you still getting on your bike?  Was that clip of Bratislava from your bike you posted the other day your commute route or a "scenic" route?  Are there any restrictions on how far you can go on your rides?  ...we are getting region lock-down here from tomorrow.  We already had state borders closed except to essential supplies etc last week, now it's individual regions.  Thankfully, there's lots of lonely hiking trails in our region, and the population isn't so high - unlike in Britain (and near Perth I would guess), where they had trouble with hiking trails becoming inundated and had to close car parks.

I do hope that when all this is over, people will reconsider whether the human population explosion has to continue... or at least make contraception easily accessible and economical for everyone on the planet - which it currently still isn't in many developing countries, where many women still end up having more babies than they actually wanted to have.  :disappointed:  Also, that Westerners will think about having less greedy and wasteful lifestyles overall, and not having to have the latest everything, and buying a load of disposable crap, because the planet isn't disposable...

What's the software?  (IT enthusiast husband likes to know.)

Stay well! :cool
SueC is time travelling


MeltingMan

I'm starting to get used to it. I don't always have several appointments in a week, but in the twelfth calendar week, I was only able to attend one of three personally. The other two were rescheduled or arranged by phone. The latter led to considerable misunderstandings with my lawyer. I wait for mail every day (with the final invoice). A bakery was closed on March 1st. A fast food restaurant now only serves drive-in customers, so I'll take my breakfast back home. On the other hand, I see more athletes outside because the gyms are also closed. I adhere to the rules of distance, of course. Anyone who knows me knows that I visit the cemetery regularly. We definitely had more deaths in drought summer 2018. Now it looks "normal", even if funerals are only allowed to take place in the narrowest circle. I would say the Germans are pretty disciplined.
Don Juan, malgré la pauvreté de la ma-
tière où il s'efforce, touche à l'Abstrait par
une conception de la femme que ni l'Orient
ni les modernes n'ont osé formuler.

TYPHONIA, XIᵉ roman de l'Ethopée

Ulrich

I'm trying to keep sane(ish) by doing at least some of the things I'd normally do: read & write emails, watching tv, listening to music, reading books, taking a walk...

Things like this also help a bit (Mike Scott reading a hilarious letter by C.S. Lewis):
If only I'd thought of the right words...

SueC

Completely hilarious letter, @Ulrich:lol: :lol: :lol: 

Who would DO things like that?  :angel

And I really enjoyed that reading by Mike Scott.  (Do you realise that with the pandemic, all my angsting about not being able to get to his gig over East was for nowt?  :-D )

Ever read CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters?  Great fun too.  Correspondence between a senior devil and a junior devil who is learning to corrupt people.  :evil:

Here's a withering song:


Have an excellent day. :)

And you too, @MeltingMan.  It never rains but it pours!  :1f637:  Stay well.
SueC is time travelling