Skagitonians have discovered a wide range of fun and interesting ways to capture their day-to-day COVID living: creating video montages of each day using the 1 Second Everyday app, photobooks of puzzles completed, “QuaranTime capsules,” COVID plays, song parodies, and more. Cataloging these trying times in creative ways helps us process our new reality and expand our connectivity. Also, these activities will give us tangible ways to look back on these strange days when we emerge from the crisis.
The Population Health Trust (often known as the Trust) has another way for individuals and families to capture their experiences with COVID-19—a way that will help us understand the behavioral, economic, social and emotional impacts resulting from the outbreak. We are rolling out the Community Recovery-Oriented Needs Assessment (CORONA survey), which is open for responses between now and the end of September. By participating in the CORONA survey, you will add your voice to this countywide discussion.
It is the Trust’s role to pull together information from across the community, determine key health issues facing Skagitonians, and devise a strategic plan for regaining health and wellness. We need to understand the variety of ways that COVID-19 has impacted you and your family in order to prioritize the critical needs arising as a result of COVID-19.
You can support our community’s recovery by completing the CORONA survey at wacoronasurvey.com. To take the survey by phone, call 855-530-5787; interpreters are available to assist. We rely on your experiences and needs to drive our work toward healthy community recovery. Thank you for taking the time to add your knowledge and perspective to this community conversation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us stressed and worn out. We have all faced changes to our daily routines, reduced contact with friends and family, and a loss of our sense of normalcy. Many Skagitonians have been hit with financial challenges due to job loss or changes to their businesses that could not have been anticipated prior to a few months ago. Adding to the stress is that the pandemic conditions appear to be getting worse and there is not a definite end in sight.
You have probably heard of the “fight-or-flight” response. This response works well if you need to run away from a bear, but not so great for long-term stressors like the COVID pandemic.
So what can you do if you are feeling stressed and worn out?
1. Limit how often you check news or spend time on social media.
It is important to be well-informed about the pandemic. Although some people take comfort in being informed, it is easy to get worked up and anxious from watching nonstop news coverage. Have you heard of the term “doomscrolling?” It’s a newly coined word for scrolling through a never-ending doom-and-gloom on your Twitter or Facebook feed for hours and hours. Many of us do it, but we can all find better ways to spend our time.
2. If you feel like you are stuck in a rut, change your routine.
We are now four months into the pandemic, and most people have settled into a familiar routine. Many of us are spending more time than ever at home and are growing tired of looking at the same four walls as our days blur together. If you feel like you are stuck in the same rut day after day, you should mix up your routine.
How? If your employer allows you to work from home and is open to flexible work hours, you can try working a different schedule. Take the time to exercise before you start work, or take a longer lunch hour and go for a long walk and end your workday later.
You can also take advantage of the time cooped up in your home by focusing on a do-it-yourself project that you have been putting off. Clean your garage, touch up some peeling paint, or take on a project in your yard. In addition to keeping you busy, when you are done with the project you will get the added satisfaction from having completed a project.
3. Find healthy ways to let off some stress.
The CDC provides some great tips on coping with stress during COVID. Most are common sense tips like:
Take care of your body—stretch or meditate, eat healthy well-balanced meals, and exercise regularly.
Get plenty of sleep.
Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
4. Don’t be afraid to seek out professional help.
For some people, general stress and pandemic fatigue can become more serious. You should watch for warning signs that you’re having trouble coping, and should call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
If you do not know where to turn, Skagit County is maintaining a list of behavioral health services and resources. A few key resources that are available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year are:
No sports?! What do we do between now and Opening Day?
It took just a few hours on March 11th for life in America to change completely.
Yes – people had been uneasy, but things weren’t bad like in other countries. Then President Trump gave a somber address shifting COVID-19 from a nagging concern to an immediate national threat. Next the widely beloved Tom Hanks shared he was diagnosed with coronavirus. And the trifecta dropped when we heard Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert – a 2020 an All Star and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year – had COVID-19. Before that news sunk in, Commissioner Adam Silver announced the NBA season was suspended. It made sense health-wise. The NBA is all about boxing out, sharing the ball, and getting up into the other guy’s face. That’s more chance for straight-on coronavirus transmission than most of us would have in months.
Of course, the NHL followed suit, along with baseball’s spring training, pro wrestling, March Madness, the Masters, on and on. Our national pastimes just went poof and disappeared. Shots of stadiums full of empty seats were eerie as a ghost. A lot of us are used to coming home from work, plopping on the couch and catching a game. At lunch break, we might pause to check the box scores. These bits of sports are footholds throughout our day. They give us a little reprieve from the pressure and rushing around. Looking for a silver lining in all of this?The Mariners are in first place! Actually, Seattle is tied for first place with every other team, each with a 0-0 record. But it’s first place all the same.
We need sports more than ever.
Sports are not a life and death thing. But I’m reminded of a story a sportswriter shared a few years back. He loved sports more than anyone, but he was a little embarrassed by his profession. He was a grown man devoting his days to games. Then he lost his mother to cancer. Grief just swallowed him whole. And part of that grief was he couldn’t sleep a wink. Depressed and battered, he found a reprieve. In bed, in the dark, he started replaying the most important games in his head. The World Series, Super Bowl, Final Four, NBA finals. He relived the thousands of games his profession enabled him to see in person. Triples plays, flea flickers, logo 3-pointers. Plus the regular stuff – the grind-out fullbacks busting through the line for first downs, goalies withstanding shot after shot on goal, a crossover dribble, or a drag bunt single. He immersed himself in the things he loved. Then sleep found him, sweetly giving him relief. It was much better than counting sheep!
Life has become hard — and just when we need them most, sports have gone missing. But don’t let the fact that ESPN has stopped live broadcast sink you into depression: revel in past moments of glory. Catch your favorite games of the past, and remember why the greats were so great! Also, settle in real quiet and think for a moment how indescribably sweet opening day will be. A batter will dig in next to the plate. A pitcher will wind up. And in that moment, a rush of anticipation will take over, all the pain will drop away, and the world will be well, perfectly well.
A footnote: If you want to check out the intersection between sports and COIVD-19, see Stephen Curry’s interview of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who serves on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRwkNQXbGKg