These strange days

I’ve always liked doomsday or apocalypse type books and movies. My husband and I loved The Walking Dead and the video game Last of Us. But of course, what we face right now is not zombies, but a new virus that threatens our way of life.

The impact on our family has been minimal. It’s astounding to me how lucky we are. Because we were already very home-based, the social impact is really the only issue. We do however have good friendships with our neighbours so we can chat over the fence or across the road and share produce or a drink at sunset. This is a pretty crucial aspect to our coping right now.

Being an introvert, I’m not as bothered by being home as my husband who is an extrovert. Not being able to get out into the world is a major issue for him. Thank goodness for his bike, and at the moment he can still take off onto country roads that surround us.

Financially we are OK too as we’ve spent the past five years living on a minimal income and our choice of home and lifestyle means we are not saddled with much debt – a blessing right now.

Our children are thriving being home all the time. They are better with a simpler life.

I’ve been in touch with friends and family more via phone, social media and video calls. That’s been nice. The boys don’t do very well with video calls, particularly our eldest who is very sensory sensitive to voices and too much talking – he struggles to take it in, to manage his emotions when responding and keeping up with the conversation. Our youngest is more interested in chatting with people than our eldest ever has been.

Getting supplies has been OK so far. Given our food allergies and intolerances, having a regular supply of specific foods is important so we’ve always had more than we need. Often it is cheaper to get in bulk anyway. But still, our local supermarket is out of gluten-free pasta, so I am glad I had a couple of spare packets in the pantry.

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening and baking to manage my stress levels. My anxiety is definitely increased during this time. I think most people would feel overwhelmed and worried. There are so many aspects to what is happening, from worrying about loved ones, worrying about jobs, feeling isolated and suffocated; whatever we each individually feel is valid.

Practising self-compassion is crucial right now. Take some time to declutter and sort through your belongings. Take time to think about what is really important to you. My greatest wish from this experience is that society sees a different way to live. That more people choose a simpler life with less debt, less stress and more intentional time for peace, family and their passion. It doesn’t have to be gardening or growing food, and of course, a career is important to many. But could it look a little different? Will our economic situation at the end of this drive change, or will things stay the same?

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