Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Sheltering in Place is Our New Normal

Time is relative, especially while everyone is sheltering in place.

Social distancing these last two weeks have felt both like an eternity and a blink of an eye. This past Monday made a full week since the coronavirus forced a mandatory order for Hawaii residents to shelter in place and work from home. So for now, sheltering in place is our new normal.

It’s also been two weeks since my son started his spring break from pre-school. He was supposed to go back to school this week. Before the break, his class had just gone on a field trip to the zoo. Boy, it sure is crazy how rapidly things have changed since then.

At the moment, we are looking at April 30 as the tentative target for sheltering in place “to end,” and for schools to resume. But we all know that it will take much longer than that, and our timeline is fluid.

So until society can get up and running again, the best thing we can do is to practice social distancing, stay healthy and adapt to our new situation to get through this unprecedented period in our lives.

Practicing writing a letter
Practicing writing a letter

Everyone’s situation is unique. Here are some of my takeaways after the first full week of sheltering in place.

Challenges of Sheltering and Working Exclusively from Home

1) Working from home while tending to your child’s every need is like juggling flaming torches, while someone else tosses in hand grenades.

2) Peace and quiet are luxury concepts with everybody at home.

3) The refrigerator and television are the new “water coolers” at the “home office.”

Necessities for Our Survival at Home

1) Maintaining a routine schedule.

2) Structure your child’s day and introduce engaging activities when possible.

3) Finding time to exercise, walk, jog, yoga, etc.

4) Staying connected with friends, family, co-workers, and clients through social media, video chat, and video conferencing apps.

5) Accepting the situation for what it is and make the most of this situation.

Work from home video conference via Zoom
Work from home lunch meeting via Zoom.

The Upside to Sheltering and Working from Home

1) Spending more time with your family.

2) Using the time to reflect on what is truly important in your life.

3) Appreciating all the little things that we’ve taken for granted.

4) Getting more rest and exercise.

5) Cooking more and eating healthier.

Heroes Walk Among Us

As many people are sheltered and working from home, we have to recognize and appreciate that the true heroes out there are our doctors, nurses, police, first responders, grocery clerks, delivery people, postal employees, sanitation workers and everyone trying to keep their businesses going. Let’s all be sure to thank each of them and tell them how much we appreciate what they are doing for all of us.

What Can We Do

It is critical that everyone comply with social distancing and sheltering in place so that we can “flatten the curve.” The last thing we want is for this crisis to surge beyond our hospitals’ abilities to care for us. It’s already happening in places like New York. As of this posting, the United States currently has over 213K confirmed cases of coronavirus. Hawaii has 258 confirmed cases and our first COVID19 related death.

For anyone that’s interested in learning more about how to help identify and stop the spread of COVID19 via contact tracing, please visit Hawaii Fights COVID. There’s a confidential survey you can fill out to help researchers see the spread of the virus in Hawaii. We can also do things like donate any extra PPE to our hospitals, donate blood to the Blood Bank of Hawaii or make homemade face masks to share or donate.

Until a vaccine is developed, which could take 18 more months, we will be living with coronavirus, even after shelter in place is called off. We need to work together and be better than what we were before the madness started.

Let’s hope and pray that this crisis ends sooner than later. So that we can all get back to work. So that our kids can go back to school and see their friends again. And so that we can once again be truly social with one another. 

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