Thinking back to January, 2023…the peak of ski season, when the last thing I wanted to do was spend a solid week in my room feeling unwell and I was christened, “The last man standing.” Yup. That’s what the Occupational Health and Wellness nurse said when I informed her, I had tested positive for…you guessed it…Covid. Initially, I didn’t know if I should feel victorious…you know…like I was the last of my team left standing, sweaty and out of breath after single-handedly knocking down the last of the opposing team’s players during a riveting game of dodgeball or kings court (listen…gym class was happy place)…or was it more like I had been left out of some sort of secret club for the past 3 years???…whatever she meant…I was certainly not sure how to feel about it! LOL
So…there I was on day 5 of my 7-day quarantine. And when I say quarantine, I mean bedroom door shut, only to be opened when I was fully masked and needing access to essentials like the bathroom or to refill the 4 LITRE jug of water I was keeping in my room for my tea! (kettle purposely absconded from the kitchen and plugged in my room for the one million cups of tea I drank!!) My meals were delivered to my room (I have THE best family…like for realz) and I only to my phone, laptop and oooooooooodles of puzzles…I was meant to stay put! Like I said, it was day 5 of puzzles, tea, writing letters, tea, sewing projects, tea, video chats, reading…and because I had run out of all other options…binge-watching Seinfeld. I remember thinking, I was pretty sure I would need some sort of therapy when the quarantine was lifted. I mean, I had watched so much Seinfeld I’d hear a door open in the house and I immediately assumed Kraemer would burst through looking as stunned, panicked and jittery as a 10-year-old boy about to pass a “yes-no-maybe” note to his first crush! …no joke. And if you promise not to tell, I’ll let you in on a little secret…I even tried to replicate Eileen’s bangs…you know…just for fun. I mean…that’s some serious height, amirite?!! Spoiler alert…my efforts just couldn’t compare …or maybe I just needed more hairspray?? LOL
But seriously, although being sick is no fun, it gave me some time (forced time, mind you) to do some pre-emptive thinking and planning for future flu seasons (such as the one we are in now). I mean…when life gives you lemons right!?!
Here are a few of my thoughts from my quarantine “quandary.” 😉
Being alone is hard. I was really fortunate to have a relatively quick recovery from Covid, aside from some lingering fatigue and a bit of joint discomfort for about a month after the worst of the sore throat, headaches and pressure in my ears were gone. I was mostly back to feeling like my normal self, I could get out of my house and spend time with my friends and family again, I could work and I could even go about meeting my needs and the needs of my community. But, if I’m honest, when day 5 hit, and I hadn’t had a hug or high-5 from anyone, or actually sat down and had a coffee with a friend face-to-face for nearly a week…I’ll admit I started to feel pretty disconnected. The reality that there are a lot people in my immediate and close community who experience isolation for much longer periods really struck me…really hit home and became real to me in a whole new way. I thought of the many elderly people in the winter months who, with increased fall risk due to snow and ice, are forced to stay home. I thought of folk with mobility limitations and transportation restrictions (it gets real cold and the snowdrifts here are no joke!). I also considered that people with seasonal affect disorder, who battle with their mental health even more over the winter months, struggle to prioritize connection. I realized there are so many people who could use a call, or a quick drop-in with a batch of freshly baked cookies…you know…nothing flashy or over-the-top, but a little something to let them know they matter and are worth the effort and enjoyment to connect with.
Winter (and flu season) is just around the corner. Not only do I intend to take care of myself by taking the most up-to-date vaccines, getting enough rest (LOL…a girl can dream!), practicing good hygiene and masking up (yup…do the little things that hopefully limit my exposure and keep my body healthy), but also really want to make a point of reaching out to those in my community that might be struggling with feeling isolated. Wanna join my challenge? Wanna make a plan to seek out people who need a little connection to make it through the winter? Who knows, maybe new and deeper friendships are just around the corner, and you’ll realize just how important connection is to you too! 🙂
Or how about this!!?! If you’re like me and LOVE winter activities…even love the snow and the cold (I’ve already been told I’m crazy so you won’t hurt my feelings if you feel the same way about me LOL), invite someone to come with you!!! You laugh, but hey, maybe you’ll foster another winter-loving spirit and bring a little joy to someone’s day and yours! 🙂
Or maybe winter hard for you. Maybe you find the short days, long nights and colder weather driving you inside and away from the people and activities that are life-giving. Can I encourage you to reach out? Let your friends or family know you’re struggling. My guess is that first of all, they will love you just the same and second…you will likely find you’re not the only one having a hard time. Support each other and find ways to make it through a hard time together.
Cheers to the upcoming season of big, fluffy, white, beautiful snowflakes and long, restful winter nights. Cheers to friendship and connection and what they can do to get us through all the seasons of life…especially winter.
Be well. Connect. The season is changing and with it comes newness and discovery. Look for it…you’ll find it…even in the most unexpected places.
person with rheumatoid arthritis