No one knows, really, how long this enforced/volunteer hibernation will go on. (Hibernation is a much friendlier word than isolation, evoking an image of a sleepy bear rather than an ill person.)

Surely, though, we all must adjust if for no other reason than not to go stir-crazy as we protect ourselves — and others — from COVID-19. (Interesting to note that we are likely enduring a once-in-a-lifetime historic event.) Incidentally, stir-crazy means “to become acutely anxious, restless, irritable, irrational and/or depressed from remaining for too long in an unstimulating, confined and/or isolated environment.”

The same day that our governor announced a temporary suspension of social activities, we had planned a shopping trip. We went — and notably did not purchase toilet paper — and scrubbed with hand sanitizer in the car, and then washed our hands when we returned home.

Then we got to thinking about all the people who had likely touched all of the products we purchased. What to do? Wipe down every item that we brought home? That didn’t happen and is not likely to, though we have continued to wash our hands frequently.

A pair of gloves will live in the car for use at the gas station, and, if it comes to needing additional protection, I’m contemplating using my bandanna supply as cowboy-style masks in public places. It won’t be virus-proof, but I’ll be reminded to avoid touching my mouth and nose — and perhaps it will amuse some stressed-out folks when I must go shopping.

Everyone has their own story about how they’re dealing with the inconvenience of social isolation. My heart goes out to those who must work, but have lost day care/schools for their children. Our very pregnant daughter-in-law was lamenting about having to stay home every day with their very energetic 2-year-old. I sympathized, as we had recently kept him at our house for five (incredibly long, but also joyful) days.

To those who have temporarily lost employment, I am praying that your community comes together (social services, government, neighbors) to provide support.

What about the silver lining? Time with your family. Which means ignoring your cellphone — the calls, the texts, Facebook, the Googling.

I have so often seen mothers out with their children, the mom on the phone, the children ignored. Now is the time to show those little ones that “I love you” means I’d rather spend time with you than doing anything else.

Pull out the board games, create diversions, pull all the cushions off the couch to make a tumbling mat. And after the kids are in bed, search the ‘net for activities you can do at home together!

This will eventually be behind us. Stay strong, help one another, be conscientious and considerate.

If you need to be out and about to avoid becoming stir-crazy, create some cowboy handkerchief masks. Your children will love it.

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at susan12anderson@gmail.com.

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at susan12anderson@gmail.com.

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