I had an odd moment this past week. I realized that, in spite of ten days without any physical socializing at all, I was feeling something familiar: the fatigue I tend to get when my introvert self has been more extroverted than usual.
It seemed impossible, until I thought back to the number of text exchanges, FaceTimes, phone calls, and social media chats I’d had. A lot more than usual. To say nothing of the heightened exposure to news and information.
I couldn’t feel more fortunate to have had loving, thoughtful check-ins with people in my life this week. But in spite of what’s going on, I am who I am, and it’s not always easy for me to share how I’m doing verbally. At any given moment of significance, I often don’t know how I am until I sit down and write something. So it’s not always easy for me to respond frequently to the question “how are you,” even if I’m happy to be asked.
I spent Thursday catching up on quiet. I read, I wrote, I cooked, I listened to a little music. I worked in silence. I checked social media and my phone periodically throughout the day, but less frequently than I’d been doing all week. I took a little time in responding to texts. It was exactly the pause I needed, and I’ve felt more grounded since then.
I’m hardly the first person to say this, but I think it’s important to echo that there’s no “right” way to be responding to this strange, unprecedented moment in time. I’ve seen a lot of reminders that quarantine isn’t a call toward productivity, which I agree with.
But I think it’s also important to note that, however indispensable virtual connection may be right now, it’s also OK to unplug for an hour, a day, a couple of days. It’s OK to go inward, even as we try to stay conscious of what’s happening around us. We’re staying home in order to remain safe, or as safe as possible; it’s also important to remain well, and that means tuning into our needs and self-care.
Wishing you both safety and wellness. Here are some recipes and reads.
How crispy (and cutely packaged) are Eva’s cocktail samosas?
…and a possible accompaniment? This would be a good time to make some homemade chutneys.
I tend to associate sweet potato casserole with the holiday season, but why? Kristen’s pretty version is calling my name.
Mmmm, mustard grilled tofu.
2. Along similar lines, this short but moving article that invites us to “spare a moment” to acknowledge loss.
3. For the past two nights at 7pm, New Yorkers have leaned out of their windows to do a collective clap and cheer for first responders and essential workers. It brought tears to my eyes the first time. This article, detailing the work of ICU nurses in New Jersey right now, does that, too.
4. This news—Mt. Sinai Hospital will begin plasmapheresis, or the process of transferring antibiodies from recovered patients to critically ill patients—seemed both hopeful and really interesting to me.
5. I found this little piece of news so touching: an organization that operates 13 nursing homes around London is accepting applications for virtual companions to keep company with their senior residents, who can’t have visitors as usual right now.
I’m making space for everything in my heart right now: grief and uncertainty as well as the joy I feel when I read about small kindnesses. They make me smile, and some of them (balcony dance alongs and singalongs) make me laugh. That matters, too.
Happy Sunday, friends. Some more simple meals and foods are on the way.
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