Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronavirus Update 3-27-2020: How are we feeling? #CoronavirusCoping

After a week of self-imposed quarantine in my home, and a week of mandatory sheltering in place by the State, now is as good a time as any to tell everyone how I’m holding up, and also to ask everyone, “How are you?”

First me.

The truth is, I’m not great. I’m tired, I’m stressed, and I’m worried.

On the positive side, both my wife and I still have our jobs, our family still loves one another, and we (mostly) haven’t gone stir crazy yet. I’m exercising (almost) every day, which includes long walks with the dogs. We are spending a lot more time together as a family, and actually doing a lot more together. The dogs are thrilled to have us home all of the time. We are cooking and baking, and saving a lot of money in the process by not eating out 4 nights a week (because we aren’t running the kids around to their various activities).

On the negative side, I can’t avoid coronavirus. I can’t turn it off. It’s not that I don’t want to. I’d love to be able to. But I can’t, because, as noted above, I still have my job. And right now, my job is all coronavirus all of the time. The work has been relentless and non-stop. Fifteen-plus hours a day of the most depressing of conversations possible with employers—furloughs (those are the easiest), layoffs, plant closures, sick employees, and deceased family members. It’s unrelenting and nonstop.

Don’t mistake my glumness as a lack of gratitude. I am extraordinarily grateful that I am still employed, because I know many are not, that I can still provide for my family, because I know many cannot, and that I’m still healthy, because I know many are not.

But I’m also tired. When the news outlets started publishing the 880-page stimulus bill Wednesday night, my immediate reaction was, “I just can’t.” And I didn’t. A week ago, I would have poured into it, eager to learn about all of the things this bill will do for businesses and their workers. But Wednesday night, I just couldn’t. Instead, I chose to go to sleep and read the next-day summaries.

According to this article at The Atlantic (which paints a very glum picture of where we are headed), “After infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow.” I understand. I am not doom-and-gloom by nature. I tend to be a glass-half-full person. But it’s gotten very hard to maintain that attitude. Hence my worry, about the health and well-being of people I love and people I don’t even know, the world that we’ll be left with this is over, and how we will all deal with it.

Certain things have been therapeutic. I’ve very much enjoyed nightly Zoom cocktail hours catching up with family and friends from as close as across the street and as far as Califonia, and watching my favorite musicians play online concerts.

Other things have also been restorative, even if coronavirus related. The online community of employment lawyers and HR professionals has been a godsend these past two weeks. Sharing information, making each other laugh, and collectively holding each other up has been very comforting. And it has been my absolute pleasure to keep this blog current as a public service. So thank you all for connecting and reading.

Anyhow, thanks for letting me ramble on about me.

How about you? How are you feeling? If you’d like, please share a note in the comments below, @me on Twitter along with the hashtag #CoronavirusCoping, or on LinkedIn in the comments here.

We will all get through this, provided we do it together, and handle what’s waiting for us on the other side of the viral tunnel; we have no other choice.

Be well and be kind, and enjoy your weekend. I know I’ll be taking some much needed “me” time for the next two days.