COVID Chronicles

We’ve asked NNORC staff what they are doing to help cope with the pandemic, here’s what Maryellen Casey Usis had to say:

Maryellen Casey Usis
NNORC Program Assistant
My parents owned a stationery store when I was in college and I spent a lot of time replenishing the cards. That’s probably when my card obsession bgan.  Of course, I read a lot of the cards as I was doing this job. Back in the day, there was a small assortment of cards: birthday, anniversary, sympathy and get-well cards.  After that gig, I never let my card reading stop and took up buying cards for any occasion.

Today there’s a card for everything — Happy Boss’s Day, Pet’s Birthday, Friend Day and blank cards for whatever reason.  I find cards everywhere I go.  I have a stack just in case I need a particular card for an occasion.  During the pandemic, I found myself going through my stash of cards and stationery and sent “happy thoughts” to friends and relatives.  My stash was getting low, so I started looking online for cards.  What a plethora of cards out there!  My nephew and his wife had contacted COVID and there was a get-well card for them.  My sister-in-law is a nurse, and I found a thank you card for her during this time.  I missed my visit to my brothers in Florida, and there was a special card for that. 

If I didn’t have a card I would just hand write a note.  Sometimes I would add a famous quote or a joke. 

As I sit and write and address these cards and notes, I remember my Dad’s question, “Do you really work do you spend your time in the card aisle at the local stationery store?”  Well Dad, I still work, but have more time looking for just the right card or stationery for someone. 

Make someone’s day and drop them a line or a card and put a smile on someone’s face during this unusual time.

 

Erin Plonka, LMSW
Director of Community Care
Since I am home more now than ever before, I am finding new ways to spend my time. I’ve come to learn that I enjoy the challenge of doing puzzles. I also try to spend a few minutes each day on the word search app called “Word Scrapes Search” on my cell phone. On the home front, we created an outdoor patio in our front yard, so we can sit outside and say hello to our neighbors that walk by. We have a fire table to turn on when the sun goes down and we have a small TV that we bring outside and do movie nights. It is a nice space to sit and get some fresh air and give us a chance to interact with our neighbors at a physical distance. Over the summer, my son and I took part in our local library summer reading program. We both enjoyed it and are looking forward to other virtual programs that our community library has to offer. Our family has also taken this time to go through family photos and create scrapbooks. It is a great way to reminisce and learn more about our family. As the weather is changing and we will be spending more time indoors, I am hoping to learn what others are doing to keep themselves entertained throughout the day.

Judi England, RN
Senior Health Education Coordinator

I recognized from the beginning that what we were facing was a “marathon” not a “sprint” and waiting for life to return to the way it was pre-COVID-19 would find me waiting for a long time.

Not that every day is rainbows and unicorns with my mood, but I’ve lived with myself for 74 years, and have a good idea what works to keep me on an even keel.

Two things that stand out:  I function best with a balance between routine and novelty. 

I’ll explain.

Each day begins with the simple task of making my bed.  No matter what else happens or doesn’t happen during the day, at least my bed will be fresh and inviting when I turn in for the night.

I have dogs, and they don’t care much for changes in routine.  Change too much and you’re in for an unpleasant surprise! They need to eat, walk and get some TLC – come rain shine or social isolation.

Work continues, so my home office is command central – but – not before a good breakfast, coffee and the daily news.

Personally, I know that I need a good long walk, daily yoga, and time to read and reflect each day.  If I don’t do these things, I feel it immediately in my body and spirit.

I attend to the small details too:  tidying up after a meal, reaching out to friends on the phone or e-mail, keeping up with laundry, et.

And to save me from getting into  rut I try to mix it up: something new to read, learning Spanish, doing a little needlework, maybe some pro bono service work, and occasionally a visit with friends – socially distanced of course. Sometimes all I need is a nap to quiet anxious thoughts and reboot my brain.

Is it a perfect solution? Nothing is ever perfect, especially in these imperfect and stressful times. What I always try to keep in mind is that I have more control over my days than I might believe.  I have choices, I have options.  And, if a day is really not great, I can always climb into my nicely made bed at night and know that tomorrow is a whole new day.