Thinking out loud: thoughts from a few weeks of staying indoors

My back hurts.

I guess that is bound to happen when you sit in your uncomfortable chair at your bedroom desk for at least eight hours a day doing work and school.

It has been nearly three weeks since Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a stay-at-home order for the state until April 30, and five since MCCCD Interim Chancellor Dr. Steven Gonzales originally extended spring break for students.

It is safe to say that this is a frightening time of change and uncertainty for everyone. Classes from first grade to college have been shifted online, and many people are working from home. Restaurants are only able to offer takeout service, and businesses are closed and furloughing workers.

As of April 15, 250,000 people are collecting unemployment benefits in Arizona according to Fox10 News and the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

The first little while of staying home, I did not know what to do with myself. I am the type of person that thrives on having a routine and feeling like I have a purpose. Having that routine completely upended is a struggle.

The hardest part is having more free time to be alone with my own thoughts. This leaves time for self-doubt, fear and random thoughts of mistakes I made when I was 17 to creep in. I am a very anxious person much of the time, and all of the frightening things happening in the world certainly do not help matters.

Out of fear of unproductivity and a need to stay busy, I tend to put all of myself and more into work and school. That is not healthy.

In this middle of all of this, however, I have been trying my best to look for the positives.

My family and friends are healthy and safe, and I am very fortunate for that. My mom is an elementary school reading specialist, my dad is a salesman in the bicycle industry that travels often, and my sister is a high school junior. We are very tight-knit, and we have gotten to spend a lot of time together that we would not have otherwise with our busy schedules.

The importance of taking care of ourselves is also very important in a stressful time full of change and worry. To keep my sanity, I have been trying to go on walks, ride my bike, play video games with friends and have been doing “Zoom” calls with my relatives.

I am disappointed that I am not able to spend my last few months at GCC on campus, getting to participate in commencement, or watching the start of a new Major League Baseball season. Even so, none of those are more important than people’s health and safety.

Take care of yourself. Do something you enjoy or watch something funny to lift your spirit. Remember to get up from you chair once in a while.

If you are feeling very anxious during this time, you are not alone. Mental health hotlines are still available 24/7, and apps such as “Calm” and “Headspace” are other resources that can help.

We are going to get through this. Things feel very bleak now, but one day soon, some sense of normalcy will return. if we are cautious, practice social distancing, and do what we personally can to further prevent the virus’ spread.

We can all hope for the best.