COVID has been hard on everyone, and harder on some – many people were filled with anxiety, fear and uncertainty about their lives and health as the world changed around them. Now that we have settled in to our new normal, that initial fear has lessened, both in the volatility of the markets and in our minds. But it hasn’t completely gone away: many people are falling into a light COVID depression as quarantine drags on and the vaccine optimism and pessimism seems to change daily. While we too have our ups and downs, we thought we would share what our team does to keep themselves positive during this challenging health crisis.
Sharon: My dog is happy – he gets more walks now than he has had in his entire pre-COVID life. I corralled my husband into putting up some shelves as I got sucked into Netflix’s “Home Edit” and am now organizing everything in my house. I hope the vaccine comes soon otherwise I am going to start color sorting my dog’s toys! Another COVID-bonus is that I do a trivia quiz with my family in the UK every weekend for an hour on Zoom. This provides much laughter, usually over some fact that we all dispute. It is my week as quiz master again, and I’ve got some great questions planned to stump them. Oh, and my garden: my flower beds have doubled in size and next year should rival Kew Gardens (well, not quite!).
Laura: spending time outdoors during COVID has helped me recharge and stay sane. Whether it’s hiking in a Minnesota state park or getting out on a lake to fish with my husband, I’m taking advantage of the nice weather while I still can! Trying new recipes, especially ones that allow me to use things from my vegetable garden, has also been an expanded pastime for me. Not every attempt has been successful, but the process has been rewarding. And I think it goes without saying that I’ll be pretty darn happy to see my Gopher football team on TV this weekend!
Betsy: My main source of sanity during this pandemic is often also the source of my insanity: my 3.5 year old son, Henry, and my ten month old daughter, Miriam. The two of them are so busy and demand so much of me that it is impossible to focus too much on what is happening outside of our little home. At times I worry about the impact this is having on them – Henry hasn’t done “normal” three year old activities like T-ball and swimming lessons, and Miriam is in for a big shock when she learns there are more people in the world than our small COVID circle – but it’s very obvious to me that they enjoy all of the intense family time. While the reason for the lockdown is devastating, it has forced us to simplify and focus on our family, and my husband and I are hopeful that we can continue that focus in happier and healthier times.
Micki: Enjoying the outdoors and spending time near the water keeps my boys and I recharged. I love to go for bike rides and I have been learning to play the violin.
Cyndi: Books! I read and read and read and read and read. If anyone is looking for a book recommendation, I’m your gal.
Alex: For the past few months working from home has meant a lot of things that have been out of the ordinary. I’ve certainly enjoyed having more family time. My house has been full of people as my wife’s sister and her family recently moved to Sarasota from Connecticut and have been staying with us. She has a husband and two young children. Combine that with myself, my wife, and our three young children and we have a pretty full house, so there is never a dull moment. I’ve also enjoyed the shorter commute to work. It’s hard to argue with a short walk across the house as opposed to sitting in traffic. My bills related to filling up the car with gas are way down as are my dry cleaning bills. As a sports fan, I’m glad to see that sporting events have resumed, even if there are only pictures of fans in the stands. Typically, I’m just watching on TV rather than in person anyway, so the empty stadiums haven’t really impacted me personally. Although, my two daughters are on a swim team and they have resumed practice and have even had intra-squad swim meets with official times. There have been social distancing measures that have been in place that were not previously needed prior to COVID, but it is encouraging to see that as a society we are adapting to the circumstances and are finding ways to get closer to what used to be normal. I’m confident that the threat of COVID will not last forever, but until it goes away we can all find ways to adapt and make the most of the hand we have been dealt.
Meryl: Besides Covid bringing fear and new challenges, being quarantined gave me a lot of time to pause and think about things that one takes for granted and forgets to be grateful for. I started my quarantine time with stitching cloth mask for the church mission in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, it kept all 3 of us busy as each one had a small job. We spent a lot of fun family time together here at home in Minnesota and with family back in India and Australia, we celebrated an 80th birthday and even had a wedding on zoom. We started out with jigsaw puzzles and my 12-year-old baking different dog treats for Ginger our 1 1/2-year-old cockapoo. I enjoyed every bit of the nice hot summer sun we had this year. Our veggie patch grew bigger and the backyard gained two more flower beds, a butterfly garden and a humming bird patch, When the flowers were in bloom it gave us joy and excitement to watch the caterpillars ,the Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds fly in and out. Learning to paint with watercolors was another fun virtual activity we did together. As we continue to live in this new normal, count your blessings every day , and do something you really enjoy.
Micki Kastel is the Director of Operations at White Oaks. She is a leader in process improvement, implementation, marketing strategy, technology and business development. She increases the effectiveness and efficiency of operational and technology systems, processes and policies in support of White Oak’s mission — specifically, supporting better management reporting, information flow, business process and organizational planning.