How Many Drawers Can I Obsessively Clean Per At-Home Conference Call: An Investigation.

My dearests! How are we holding up? As I Mama Hen-ed our staff yesterday, have you eaten a healthy meal? Are you drinking water? Have you gone for an (appropriately social distanced) walk today? We may be now finally coming to grips with how serious this pandemic is, which makes it even more important that you take care of yourself.

And the number one thing I’m telling, well, everyone I know? YOU MUST TAKE BREAKS. Step away from the screen, log off of social media and do something that takes you out of this 24/7 fire hose of (bad) news. 

And hey, have you been trying to push down a lingering feeling of dread, trying to tell yourself you’re overreacting to all of this (or, worse, someone else in your life is telling you you are overreacting?) 

I’m here to tell you: you’re not overreacting! Those feelings are natural and real, because THIS IS SCARY. All of this is scary. We are not prepared for such an unprecedented global crisis. YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID.

And let me premise all this by acknowledging that I have my own privilege in this situation. Though I’ve been working 14 hour days for the last few (crisis comms is busy during… a crisis…,) I am lucky enough to have a job that I can do from my kitchen, and to be employed by an amazing company with health care. Although I am not near my extended family right now, I am blessed to have a very close relationship with them, and ate dinner last night while on a Group FaceTime. And while I am an extrovert who is finding being isolated uniquely challenging (as I’ve mentioned, my plants make great conversation,) I do not have children I need to to suddenly teach, in addition to feed/water/entertain during quarantine. I have a roof over my head and food in my cabinets, and all y’all are kind enough to let me in your inbox most mornings. I am lucky, and therefore I have the privilege to send cheerful emails full of quaint advice and gifs. Because that’s what I can control right now.

That being said, if this is the new normal (which reports are saying it will be for a long time,) there are ways to spend time outside of obsessively reading about a health catastrophe,

  • Need a book recommendation? We were on a virtual staff happy hour and someone asked for a booked recommendation and without thinking, I piped up “DO YOU LIKE HISTORICAL HORROR FICTION!?!?!”, to which everyone laughed and someone said “that’s the most Amy response” to that. Which, true. ANYWAYS the reason I yelled that is that Alma Katsu, who wrote the masterful novel The Hunger, which is The Donner Party, but make it even scarier/spookier, just released her new book, The Deep, which is the Titanic… but make it scarier/spookier. And so far, it’s great. So check it out! 

  • Free Code Camp listed out 450 Ivy League courses you can take online right now, for free! Go learn stuff, without the student loan debt and crippling imposter syndrome!

  • Do you have children? The Los Angeles Times has a list of school resources for kids under 5. KQED has a list of teaching and learning tools. And CNET and Popsugar and The Deseret News all have resources. And BTW, I am very good at reading stories and am always looking for an audience.

And if you’re not social distancing? If you’re insisting on continuing to travel and gather and claim that since you’re not in the risk population, you don’t need to worry about it? I don’t know what to say. 

Because moments like this reveal how much one is aware of how their actions impact the greater good, and if they’re aware, how much they’re willing to give up to alleviate the mass suffering of others.

Folks, we are in the best time in history to be sheltering-in-place. With tech, we can see our loved ones’ faces whilst thousands of miles away. We have all of the world’s knowledge in a compact waterproof (hell yea, Kindle!) device that you can take in the bath with you. We have movies and shows and podcasts and blogs to entertain and/or teach us. And we have social media that, yes, can induce dread, but also reminds us that we’re not alone. That this impacts us all, every one of us.

So stay strong, and protect your community by staying home. And perhaps at some point in the next week, we’ll do a Missive happy hour and I can meet your smiling faces :)

Much love. Be kind to each other, and to yourselves.