Solidarity in Solitude
I write this from the confines of my apartment between shifts, but despite the ability to leave for work, I have also felt the effects of solitude. I miss the ease of post-class happy hours and the freedom to have lunch with my coworkers in the break room. Remember when we used to complain about going to class? Now, most of us wish we could go back to that routine with the liberty to come and go. I wonder how the ladies from Sosnoff Café are doing? What I would do to have $2.75 in my pocket, to go grab a large vanilla-hazelnut coffee. I promise, I will never moan about their credit card minimum again.
However, in a weird sense, I have felt more connected with friends and family than I have in a long time. From virtual happy hours with my block, to incessant texting, Marc Polo-ing, and FaceTiming, I have never been in such frequent contact with so many people. When my mom calls two or three times a day, I actually pick up. Every. Single. Time. Who have I become? I guess, a more… cognizant person. Yes, that’s it. It has nothing to do with me being worried that she’s calling me to tell me that she has flu-like symptoms…and to think that I was so happy for her last year, when she became old enough to qualify for senior-citizen-discounted metro cards.
I digress. These are weird times and we need to support each other. Whether it is shooting a quick text or making time for a 5-minute phone conversation, the normalcy of these interactions are needed now more than ever. Nevertheless, we cannot spend all day, everyday calling each other, so here are some ways to keep busy:
- Staying active.
Unfortunately, our gyms are closed. Our spin and yoga studios are shut down for the foreseeable future. I bet many of us are finding the Peloton commercial less offensive now. For those of us without the luxury of a bike or gym at home, did you know that many studios are offering free workout classes every day? They can be done live or whenever your incredibly busy sheltering life suits. Sanjna tells us about some of the options out there in her article. Bring on the INdorphins.
Some of us need some outdoors time though, and that’s where my bias comes in. Have you ever wanted to train for a 10k, half-marathon, or marathon? Can you imagine a better time than when your social calendar is completely cleared and all travel plans canceled? New York’s PAUSE permits being outside for solitary exercise. If you are just getting started, I would highly recommend the Couch To 5k app. While running alone for a long period of time may sound unappealing, The Oppy does have a killer playlist. Just saying. Feel free to add some of your personal favorites.
- Netflix and Quarantining.
Yes, I am aware I am lame (please see self-awareness bullet below). Nonetheless, you may want to check out The Oppy Board’s TV and movie review list. Or at least placate us by looking at it; hours of research went into the creation of that list.
- Reading, for the sake of reading.
I am one of those people who typically feels guilty for leisure reading when there is school work that has to be done. Yet, with a lacking social life, a kindle can be utilized in so many other settings than the beach and subway…say, your couch or bed, for instance. Amazon Prime gives you a large selection of books that can be downloaded for free, as does the NYPL. FYI, if you do not have a library card, now is not the time to get one.
Poorly timed joke? I guess it’s harder to read a room when you are the only one in it.
The Oppy has done some research and here are some of our favorites.
- Reading the class textbook.
Too late for an April Fool’s joke?
- Practicing Meditation and Mindfulness
Not going to lie, it’s something I always wanted to practice but never “had the time.” I have been utilizing this app for 10 minutes a day. It may not be for you, but it’s worth a shot.
- Paying it forward
This is a dark and scary time for everyone and it is important that we look out for each other. If you feel the desire to give back, there are some options.
The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund was created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city.
Alternatively, if you want to give back in your neighborhood, you can support local businesses, who are being most impacted by this pandemic, by buying gift cards for loved ones. Another option is calling your local hospital and asking to speak to the nurse manager or a charge nurse of the emergency department or particular unit to organize a food delivery for the staff. Every few days, a Good Samaritan will randomly send food to my unit, and we always truly appreciate it. We are short-staffed and even busier than normal. There is no time to step away to get food. There is barely even time to eat. So each time a pizza pie or a tray of cookies magically appears, we are incredibly grateful.
‘Tis the season for spring-cleaning and with more free time, I find myself going down these rabbit holes of cleaning, to emerge, hours later, with a scrubbed kitchen or shiny floors. Didn’t someone once say “clean house, clear mind?”
- Writing for The Oppy
We are always looking for contributors to write on topics that interest them. Plus, we hear that writing is therapeutic. Our next issue is coming out May 4. If you’re interested in writing an article, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter how you are spending your time socially distancing, I hope that you are keeping healthy and sane.