Today (March 12, 2020) marks the two month anniversary of Maine’s first official Covid-19 diagnosis. We live with Covid Fear. The world has changed. That’s hard. But I’m going to share a few things I’m not afraid of anymore:

  • Running out of meat
  • Wearing a mask
  • Missing the world
  • Not getting enough exercise

Covid Fear: Running out of meat

When the news first broke that we might enter a time of meat shortage, store rationing and skyrocketing prices, I panicked. What would I do? Less than a minute later, I remembered that if I was forced to live for weeks on a desert island, I would want to take peanut butter and green beans. There are many options for wonderful meals that don’t focus on meat protein.  I immediately calmed down and made a plan.

First off, I would eat only as much meat as I should. That means about 4 ounces a day, so that makes less than two pounds of meat a week for two. Second, every other dinner became a meat-free or meat-light moment. Meals might focus on pizza, macaroni and cheese, carrot stew, eggplant parmigiana, vegetable lasagna, stews and stir fries or broccoli quiche. There are a hundred other common supper ideas that don’t feature meat. Third, I’d finally include more vegetables, salads and whole grains in my meal planning.

The plan gets us down to about two pounds of meat a week. I know from my vegetarian friends that I could make extended delicious and nutritious meal choices without any meat at all.  So I’m feeling pretty confident that I can find and afford whatever meat I need to make varied and delicious meals for my husband and myself, even if we had a serious meat shortage.

Covid Fear: Finding/Making/Wearing a Mask

When the notion of wearing a mask first came around, there was a lot of initial resistance, because it didn’t seem to stop the wearer from getting the disease. Then came the science. I wear a mask, so I keep from spreading my Covid-19. And if YOU wear a mask, the same thing happens. We protect each other. So it’s really a gesture of my respect and hope for my community that I wear a mask, and my reliance on others to keep me safe.

There are so many easy mask ideas on YouTube. Many require a sewing machine, but many don’t. And now, almost every community has a deposit of masks to share, made and donated by community members. I have made a dozen face coverings using material from stashes dedicated to long-forgotten hobbies, special tea towels, and outgrown summer seersucker shirts.

I’ve sent some to the kids, and discovered short cuts and new ideas. I keep several in my car all the time, since that’s when I’m most apt to need and use a face covering. I don’t feel nearly as self-conscious about entering a store with my face covered, because everyone’s doing it. It seems like a very small gesture of solidarity and respect for my fellow shoppers.

Covid Fear: Missing the world

Who knew that texting, Zoom, Face Time, phone calls and writing letters would become our lifelines to friends? And that museums, national parks and night time hosts would create tours, musical interludes and bedtime stories enough to keep us entertained for years? On a neighborhood level, we’ve created an email list. We use it to send out notes and notices about everything from missing dogs to extra kids. I have scheduled Zoom meetings every week with my best friends. It’s easy to take FaceTime tours of my son’s garden in California. Writing actual actual notes to important people in my life several times a week is therapeutic! I love to get letters and experience people’s actual handwriting, and I’m happy to support the US Postal System.

My church does services on-line, or I can see what my sister’s church is up to in New Hampshire. I used iMovie to create a daily devotional for our Church service featuring my garden and The Garden Song by Dave Mallet. I know I am extra fortunate to live in the suburbs, so I can get out and walk and surprise the occasional chipmunk. The world still exists, and now I’m seeing it in a different way.

Covid Fear: Not Getting Enough Exercise

My first clue that the complete chaos enveloping my schedule was playing havoc with my health: too much news and not enough walking. I was depressed, had a hard time sleeping, and was over-exposed to news about Covid-19. With a little searching, I found some on-line yoga classes to replace my two or three times a week at the studio. I got into the habit of walking a circuit whenever I picked up my mail, and found my old Zumba teacher carrying on via Zoom. Now I know can get all the exercise I need if I spend a little time looking for alternatives. I even found the certificate I received for climbing to the top of a tower in London. I recreated that climb by walking up and down stairs for 20 minutes.

Things have changed. I probably won’t be able to join 32 other people in a small yoga studio during a high-intensity class for a few months yet. But there are plenty of things I CAN do to stay active and healthy in the here and now.

Nothing succeeds like success. I know I can plan a meal, make a mask, find a friend, keep myself fit. Who knows what other challenges I will have to meet? Here and now, I’m actively doing what I can to feel better, and overcome my fear.