Finding Balance in a COVID19 World- 4/12/2020

We are all struggling to find balance and that's okay for now. But know that even though we are physically apart, we are not alone.

This past week was Spring Break in my district. Gone were the busy days of the previous week where I worked at a ferocious pace to help my colleagues prepare for distance learning. My schedule changed completely. Normally, I would have welcome such a change. I usually love the welcome respite of Spring Break, especially when it coincides with Passover. I usually enjoy getting the house ready for this holiday, making special foods that we only eat a few times a year and welcoming our extended family to our home to celebrate.

But unlike other years where we gathered with our extended family, this year, there were only four of us at the table. Yes, we still engaged in traditions. My daughter and I made matzah ball soup from scratch, prepared yummy brisket and even made chocolate matzah candy. We made the best we could of the situation and enjoyed our time together , but it all seemed so different.

In fact, just preparing for Passover has definitely been a challenging in our current circumstances. Getting any groceries nowadays, not to mention finding "special groceries" was not fun at all. I tried describing to my husband the feeling of dread I feel at going grocery shopping now. It is unlike any feeling I have had before. Now, it includes waiting in line to even get inside. Putting on gloves and concocting a mask- these are things I would have never even thought of six weeks ago.

Now, going around a grocery store is like a strange dance. You want to get in and out as quickly as possible, but as you try to do this, you need to be excruciatingly mindful of others around you.

Are you six feet apart? Are you at least a cart apart?

It seems so foreign- it seems as if we are all terrified of each other, but really we are afraid of all the unknown and all the what ifs.

What if the person in front of or in back of me is "sick"? What if that person moves too close to me? What if my homemade mask isn't protecting me?

Needless to say, this Spring Break was difficult for me. I thrive on structure and this past week, I didn't have it. I spent too much time engaging in activities that dragged me down like watching the news too much and snacking on unhealthy foods because they were there. It is so hard to feel balanced in this "new normal."

I want to be informed about what's going on in the world, especially in news related to COVID-19, but watching too much news leaves me depleted and depressed.

I want to enjoy some of my favorite holiday foods, after all, so much of this holiday has been restricted, but struggle with not eating out of boredom or stress.

I want to make sure that I am prepped for the upcoming week, distance learning starts on Tuesday, but I am not sure how to best support my staff in this initial period.

I want to have healthy food in my home, but I want to minimize the amount of times I have to go to the grocery store due to the stay at home order in my state.

This past Friday, saying I was feeling down would have been an understatement. As I scrolled my Twitter feed, I came across Shelley Burgess' latest blog post, "Struggling...Yeah, Me too." As I read it, I found myself with identifying with so many of her struggles dealing with this uncertain time as not only a mother, but a wife and an educator. It highlighted to me that none of us are alone in these struggles. I spent much of my Saturday morning participating in Twitter chats. Like reading Shelley's blog post, it reinforced the message that we are all working to find balance in a COVID-19 world. It is not an easy task, but we will make it through this.

As my district begins distance learning this week, I know that I am not alone feeling this way. My colleagues will feel these struggles as will our students. Acknowledging this is an important first step towards finding balance. Things we have taken so granted for so long have changed and been restricted. They look and feel very different. This is so important for all of us to keep in mind as we interact with others.

We are all struggling to find balance and that's okay for now. But know that even though we are physically apart, we are not alone.