As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our lives globally, important personal milestones and celebrations still scatter our calendars.
Events we looked forward to and have perhaps been planning to celebrate long before COVID-19 became part of our daily vocabulary.
Often these events, such as birthdays and anniversaries, or more recently Easter, are opportunities for much anticipated gatherings with family and friends who we don’t often see.
Not this year!
This year we are living in the land of Coronavirus.
This year the world is in crisis, fighting a war against a virus invading our globe.
This year so many will be isolated. Not necessarily alone but isolated with those who normally live under their roof.
Others will be completely alone for the first time in their lives, in quarantine in strange hotels or at home unable to be a part of even small family gatherings due to travel restrictions.
In the chronic illness community, not everyone, in pre Coronavirus life, had a restricted existence.
Many members on my online support forum are more than able, under normal circumstances, to gather with family and friends, go to church, go shopping, go to the movies, cafes and restaurants, and generally enjoy a social life.
So even for the Chronic Illness Community, cancelling celebrations of any kind, will be a challenge for many.
The Isolated Life
Some of us are used to an isolated life but we are not the norm.
A true isolated life is not easy. It takes time, years even, to adjust to living an exclusive, isolated life.
An isolated life is something I have learned to live with and have embraced with gusto. I want to live the best, fullest life possible, so acceptance has been essential.
I’ve embraced total online shopping.
I’ve had Teleconsults with my medical team as far as possible for a few years now.
I’ve always washed my hands constantly, rarely hug others, naturally social distance when out and self isolate whenever I’m sick.
I’ve had to do this for years to survive.
I learned the hard way my immune system was compromised, and I easily picked up weird and wonderful viruses and infections, all of which were resistant to treatments.
I know how hard an isolated life is, even though I’m blessed to have a loving husband living with me.
Many with serious, disabling chronic illness, live alone. Reliant on carers to visit and look after their daily needs. My heart goes out to these people, as their usual difficult circumstances are now even more stressful as a result of the virus pandemic.
I worry about the long term effects,on the wider healthy community, of our current isolating, quarantine, stay at home restrictions.
It will affect the mental health of so many. It’s not a natural way to live.
The LORD God said, “It isn’t good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” Genesis 2:18 (CEV)
How Can We Survive A Life Without Celebrations?
The recent Easter holiday weekend no doubt heightened the separation from family and friends, and the gravity of this historical global crisis.
Not being able to go out to celebrate birthdays or other milestones, or have parties at home, is going to have huge emotional impacts for many people.
The feeling of grief will likely sneak up without warning.
You may have those living with you in isolation, dealing with their own grief issues, reacting out of character to the smallest of daily life issues. Tensions may quickly build within your home.
You may be completely alone and stuck in a quarantine room, feeling incredibly traumatised and cut off, experiencing a mix of emotions
So what can you do to survive and even enjoy celebrations this year?
I have a few tips which have ensured my husband and I have always enjoyed isolated special seasons, separated from family and friends. I hope they help both the healthy and those living with chronic illness, who are not used to our current global living restrictions.
- Plan a Celebration Schedule for the weekend…..Keeping occupied really helps mental well being;
- Arrange Skype, Face time etc, with as many loved ones as possible.
- Even a good old fashioned phone call can be a wonderful chance to chat and connect. I prefer phone calls as I’m never sure what my body will be doing and generally I can always answer the phone without the caller being aware of what I’m dealing with. I also find conversations are deeper on a phone call, away from the distraction of a computer or phone screen….and undoubtedly there will be internet outages during busy holiday times impacting video chats;
- Remember to connect with the people you are living with. It’s a wonderful opportunity for relationships at home to strengthen as we spend quality time together;
- Plan a celebration menu. Good food you love, is essential to making any celebration feel special;
- Get everyone to pick a favourite movie and schedule “cinema time” into your celebration schedule;
- Get Some Fresh Air…Go for a walk, sit in your Garden, Courtyard or Balcony;
- Read Books, Play Board Games;
- Get dressed up on the celebration day to make it extra special, or just make an extra effort to look your best;
- Or maybe have a PJ days, especially if getting dressed up for work etc is your norm.
Really the list is endless. I think the key to surviving isolation and restrictions with celebrating, is to have a celebration plan.
You might not do everything on your plan but just the act of scheduling, puts you in a headspace of productivity helping you feel more positive in trying circumstances.
Let’s face it, life is just odd at the moment and it’s only going to get stranger for a while.
We are all in this together and that’s important to remember. It means none of us are alone, for perhaps the first time in our lifetime.
We are all experiencing, at the same time, the same crisis, the same fears, the same uncertainties.
2020 will be one for the history books. We are writing history together, so let’s share together some celebration joys and find ways to do something a little special, whether a household of one or five.
With a little imagination, our special occasions, can still be a bright space on the pages of history, in the midst of an otherwise dark and uncertain time.
Don’t lose hope. Don’t let special days pass you by. We still need to live and have things to live for.
Take care, stay safe and Happy celebrating xx
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story
WEGO Health Award Nominee 2019- Best in Show Blog