Life on Pause
By: Sia Minhas, Contributing Writer
I remember sitting in my eighth grade Living Environment class. It was 2019, and we were assigned to watch the movie Contagion. Thinking back to it, it felt like being in a movie, foreshadowing the events to follow. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Beth Emhoff, a woman returning from a business trip from Hong Kong who suddenly falls ill. She says it’s simply jet lag, but only two days later she died. Watching it back then, the situation seemed impossible. A pandemic? It would never happen here, it could never happen here. Except it did, and when it did I was nervous, incredibly nervous.
I remember March 13th unusually clearly. I was sitting in Geometry class, portable hand sanitizer clipped to my bag. My Geometry teacher frantically collecting work due to a spur of the moment decision to shut down schools. All my classmates were excited and nervous, wondering if Coronavirus would become such a significant part of our lives. My teacher wasn’t sure what to say or do. She tried to answer our questions, and I was sitting there, feeling odd. I couldn’t even imagine what life would be like now. I remember the whole month of March, I was in my prime. Finishing work wasn’t bad at all, my grades were better than ever and I was happy. I am an introvert at heart. I couldn’t remember a school month where my anxiety wasn’t through the roof. Being at home provided comfort and peace. However, Coronavirus soon began rearing its ugly head. Deaths were rising in an unprecedented way. I couldn’t see most of my family. My parents are essential workers, working day and night, even weekends. Soon enough, a home-made meal became pasta, and whatever takeout was most convenient. I didn’t hug my parents when they came home from work, in fear they carried something in our home. Quarantine has been a continuous whirlwind where I've been trapped with myself. It can be difficult to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel.
In times of uncertainty, I needed to find ways to calm myself. I found an interest in art. I drew random patterns and shapes, coloring them in with felt-tip pens. I also fell in love with baking. Cookies became a fan-favorite in my household. These cookies are the most amazing cookies I’ve ever had. They come pre-made in little balls and cook perfectly on cookie sheets and even foil paper on a pan. These were great indoor activities, however, I needed balance. I found playing badminton outside was a great physical activity. I use the Baden badminton/volleyball set. I also found it nice to check up on family and friends by calling them. It substituted what little social interaction this virus allowed, and it was great to reconnect with people I hadn’t spoken to in a while. It’s okay to go through rough patches. The feeling of no motivation and being isolated and fearful is okay. This virus is a collective, era-defining experience. You are not alone in this feeling. The CDC.gov website includes a section on coping with stress. I hope my personal experience with the virus and these tips can help you in these tough times.
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