As a counteraction or a counterweight to mainstream media which is way more popular than my blog, I am continuing my world reset interviews. Since I don’t have any advertisers or a promotional budget, I count on you to share this blog with your friends and colleagues on social media.
My next interview is with Robin Bailey who is a life coach, at least that’s how I know her. She brings up some important points about the courtesy we give to others during a pandemic and the vulnerability we experienced when forced into our homes in the form of physical distancing. While there are numerous ways to deal with isolation, Robin shares her unique perspectives and insights.
How many weeks have you been in lockdown?
Robin Bailey–Four and a half.
What are you doing to stay centered during the pandemic and physical isolation?
RB–Being “centered” is an interesting concept. When I think of how fortunate I am, it is easy to simply deal with the strangeness of choosing to stay-at-home. The feelings I experience are simply that: not real, just symptoms of something lacking that will eventually go away. When I’m feeling easy, things like going on walks, working dirt, and planning/cooking meals is fairly easy, and talking with friends is pleasant.
But when the “overwhelm” happens, it takes great effort to stay centered. I remember one day, early on, when tears just fell from my eyes, unwanted, unwarranted, and unstoppable. Prior to this pandemic, I had never been at home, alone, for this amount of time and it’s not anything that I would have considered doing or choosing. In my past life, and if I were in the Castaway movie, I would have needed many more than one Wilson. I have become more of an introvert, needing people both less and more than I’d ever imagined.
As a retired person, do you still find yourself struggling with creating a structure or daily rituals to normalize this new situation we’ve all been thrown into?
RB–First, I don’t think of myself as a “retired person”. Until the stay-at-home order, I had been working full time as a volunteer in a responsible position. I didn’t plan for retirement and can’t imagine not working at something until I die, not due to finances but because I find purpose in helping others.
The daily structure is another interesting concept. The longer days give me a greater likelihood of using the hours constructively—I have a hard time getting going on a dark morning; cloudy days work the same way on me. My structure is fairly non-existent and is so different than I have lived the majority of my life that I’m not currently worried about not having a structure, at least for the time being.
I would like to be sharing my life with someone. When that happens, I think the structure will naturally occur. In the meantime, if it’s sunny, I try to get outside. If I’m hungry, I eat. If it’s not too hot in the afternoon, I go for a walk (with headphones and Pandora: that’s definitely new!) I call some friends in the morning and for those who stay up late, in the evening. I watch TV shows that I’ve recorded and old movies that look interesting. I do brush my hair and teeth and take supplements regularly.
How much time are you spending online? What do you balance online time with?
RB–I haven’t been paid much attention to how much time I spend online although I do know it’s quite a bit more than it used to be. I’d love to say I don’t check social media often but it would be a lie. I believe social media is one more way to communicate, sometimes even better than talking. I do use the time online to keep track of family and friends, to follow the news, and to do research.
I have found that I’m rather compulsive about searching for an answer to any question that interests me at the moment (like how tall Audrey Hepburn was or what the population of Italy is or how long it would take to drive to Burrton, KS, or what the medicinal use of rhubarb might be?). And find that often one thing I learn leads to another question, and a lot of time can go by.
Keeping my grocery shopping at a minimum, I find I enjoy searching for new recipes—just wish I had someone to share the results with more easily. I don’t spend the majority of my time online so I haven’t really thought much about balancing that time with something else. I do think being online prevents me from snacking as much as the boredom would have me snacking!
What insights have occurred to you during this downtime that would help others to not get caught up in fear or pessimism?
RB–I think perspective and choice make a difference. When I choose to look at the positive things/people/ideas around me, I do better. When I recognize how much I have to be thankful for (a roof over my head, enough food to eat, not living in a crowded city), I do better. When I help others, even by simply listening to them, I do better. When I realize that everything I do is a choice, I do better. And when I remember how lucky I am to be loved, I do better.
When I remember that some people get pleasure out of spreading fear, I can ignore them. When I remember that what other people think doesn’t affect me, I can think for myself. When I feel sad and pessimistic, I feel okay to cry for a bit, then get on with my day. When it’s a very tough day, I just take care of what I can control and work on forgetting the rest. I work very hard not to blame or judge—they make things look very different and much more difficult to resolve.
Have you learned any new subjects during this downtime? (For instance, my sister is taking Spanish lessons online and I’m learning Reiki).
RB–I haven’t specifically set out to learn anything I’ve spent the needed time on. I did purchase an inexpensive class on how to learn to play the piano. I have yet to open the book.
What have you been inspired to do that you haven’t done before? (You mentioned gardening on Facebook).
RB–The one thing I’ve noticed is that being forced to stay at home has given me time to pay attention to things I wasn’t able to before (not that I always make the effort). Things like not getting dressed if I don’t choose to, weeding some small beds outside, mowing the lawn slowly, putting up rhubarb for summer custard pies. I have completed (but have yet to mail) post-Christmas cards, phoned various folks I haven’t connected with for a long time, watched/listened to various podcasts, and thought deep thoughts without feeling I have to come to a conclusion. And I suppose you could include learning to Zoom and other technological feats I ignored for as long as I could.
Are you with family, alone, or with pets?
RB–I’m living alone with an oldish cat that has greatly changed his habits during this period. He waits for me to get up in the morning, then makes sure I have fed him before he asks to get out of the house. He has taken to very specific ways of letting me know when he wants something which is very much out of character for him!
What practices do you have in place to keep yourself virus-free? And what are you doing to stay healthy in general since the opportunity has presented itself for all of us?
RB–I stay at home, mostly (have left the house for groceries, going for walks, picking up my mail at the post office), and wear a mask when I’m out in a public place where there are other people. I wear a bandana around my neck when walking (seem to see very few people out walking) and cover my face when I meet other folks. I wash my hands after being in public.
I have had a couple of food deliveries made and have left the parcels alone for three days before putting them away—ice cream excepted but I wiped it down before putting it in the freezer. I have restricted who I see and am very careful about maintaining a six-foot minimum social distance.
As to my general health, I take supplements, do my best to eat healthily, take time to breathe, and exercise a bit every day. And I continue to check in on all the people I normally have closer contact with. Not as much fun, but at least something close to human interaction!