From a short 30 days ago, our lives have changed dramatically as a result of social distancing to diminish COVID-19. As Rotarians, we enjoy helping others, friendship and social events. In this new normal, many people in our community may be feeling lonely as a result of being socially isolated, even some of us. Loneliness is no small matter, even in the best of times. It can impact our sleep, eating habits, exercise and ability to deal with stressful situations. Staying in touch with family and friends is more important than ever during these crazy times.
COVID-19 has brought education to a standstill as school districts and colleges struggle to figure out how to “remotely” conduct classes and continue with assignments while maintaining social distancing. Important events like Rotary Relays are cancelled and our graduating seniors might end up missing prom and the entire experience of graduating.
Unemployment has skyrocketed as small businesses, nonprofits and even large organizations like Lithia and Newman Hotel Group struggle to figure out how to survive while the economy is on hold. Many people are wondering how to pay bills and where to look for assistance.
My almost 96 year old friend, Joyce, relies on caregivers coming into her home to help her with activities of daily life. She is doing well, but she is concerned about exposure to the virus. Other over 60 friends, who are less likely to be connected via social media, are finding social distancing especially difficult and would like to speak with someone besides their spouse. They greatly miss those grandkid visits. This might be one of those moments we can be grateful for cell phones, FaceTime, and social media to keep connected.
I think social distancing and working-from-home arrangements may offer a rare opportunity. It’s given us a chance to pause and reflect upon what is important most in our lives. It’s a good time to give a friend or family member a call, finish a project, try a new hobby, read a book and to keep a positive perspective. I have seen more people than ever seen before outdoors walking, tossing a ball with a child, shooting hoops, riding bikes, and practicing golf on a school district field. We are all in this together and we can persevere. Keep washing those hands, stay safe and healthy my friends.