My Approach to Handling the COVID-19 Crisis
It has been a little over a month since I worked in the GASP office. Like many of you, I am yearning to know when we will resume being in one another’s physical presence. Meanwhile, the GASP staff is adjusting because our work continues. If you haven’t already, check out Earth Month 2020: Rising Tide for Climate Justice on Facebook and recent blog posts on our website.
It is interesting to read about what others are doing during these unprecedented times. Here is a glimpse into what my month has been like (outside of work) and how I’m coping with this new normal.
To me, the most important variable dictating how you navigate this stressful pandemic is whether or not you can provide for yourself and your family. My husband and I have not lost our jobs. We come from a privileged background. We can provide for our kids. For this, I am grateful. Soon after I had my first child (who is now 18) and became a stay-at-home mom, a dear friend gifted me the book, A Simple Abundance. It changed my life. Since reading it, I have drawn on the principle of gratitude when I think I’m having a bad day, or living through a pandemic.
It is helpful that I enjoy cooking given that our 16 and 18 year old boys are home 24/7 now. Developing and executing a meal plan for our house (a task I willfully reign over) is my third part-time job. Given that our 6’5″, 18 year old (temporarily home from college) is an intense exerciser, he is consuming a vast amount of calories daily, adding to the challenge. At times, meal preparation, and all that accompanies it, does take on a chore-like feeling. However, having an appreciation for both the food itself and cooking for my kid who has been gone for the past 9 months, brings me joy.
I am continuing my daily practice of walking. After a cup of coffee early in the morning, I walk our dog about 2-3 miles. I don’t listen to anything except the morning birds and try to keep my mind clear. (I say try because it’s not always easy!) These walks are a form of meditation for me. Check out the science behind the mental health benefits of exercise.
Exerting energy and keeping my hands busy (other than on a keyboard) brings some peace. I have enjoyed tending to a vegetable and herb garden since my late grandmother-in-law taught me how to garden after my husband and I bought our first house in 1996. Typically, I end up putting plants in the ground around the end of April, but was inspired to plant seeds this year in early March (thanks to my sister-in-law for sharing seeds), right before the pandemic hit. The Seeds of Sovereignty campaign serves as an inspiration — I hope you’ll check it out!
Due to how shockingly unprepared our country was for this pandemic, the need for PPE (personal protective equipment) has become painfully obvious. A group of amazing local women formed a Facebook group called Bham Face Masks.
They’re encouraging sewers of all levels to jump in and fill the gap. They provide videos, technical tips and endless support. They’re even working with the Jefferson County Department of Health to provide masks to health care providers across the county. They inspired me to dust off my sewing machine.
After troubleshooting thread nests and poorly wound bobbins I finally started making masks. Listening to the humming of the machine, ironing a crisp double hem, and knowing that my finished product might help someone, is extremely satisfying.
Kirsten has been with GASP from the very beginning as a founding board member, then as a part-time executive director, and now as outreach director. Kirsten hopes future generations will inherit a healthy Alabama where clean air and water are valued and protected. Email Kirsten