Like many places, our college is going into safety mode in the face of the coronavirus. We’ve extended spring break, and the week after that, we will move into mainly online instruction.
It is sometimes hard to maintain composure during this time. People are panic buying, and I admit that, when I find empty shelves, even when those aren’t items I need, I feel anxiety. I walk the line between trying not to shut down completely and keep myself and others safe. I worry about my elderly relatives, my friends and colleagues with underlying health conditions, and honestly myself. And I worry about those who don’t believe in the seriousness of the situation and may be putting themselves and others at risk.
Still, there have been some bright moments during this week when it seemed that I was surrounded by fear and selfishness. There was the post on my neighborhood Facebook page; a woman volunteered to do the shopping for the elderly and sick in the community. There are fundraisers for those who don’t have days off and savings to make it through a two-week isolation.
And this kindness inspired me in a small way. Today, at the grocery store, I thanked the cashier for being at work and having such a good attitude in such a stressful time. At the Y, I thanked the woman at the desk for being open and that they would all stay safe. (In full disclosure, I went during the slowest time of day, ran on the track by myself, and didn’t touch any equipment.)
Fear can make us selfish and mean. So, in times like these, it’s even more important to think of ways to be kind and helpful. It not only helps others. It eases our own anxiety as well.