I imagine most of us are trying to find our new normal during these trying times. Nothing could have really prepared us for this “shelter at home” quarantine. It’s not as if we had a drill to prepare us for anything like this. Many of us recall fire drills and earthquake drills from our school days. Sadly, more recently, now there are School Shooting Drills. However, Quarantine Drills, no, nothing comes to mind for me.  Now that we are over a week into this, it has hit me that this could go on for many more weeks. Not a pleasant thought but, if you are still healthy (I hope you are) and have ample food and supplies, what would be helpful to help ride this out? Maybe not just ride it out but, actually, come out on the other side better and stronger for it. What’s helping me is a combination of things. Setting a Structure for my day, every day, is helpful. Keeping as close to my normal routine as possible is helping me feel more normal. Setting the alarm for my regular Monday through Friday time and diving into my One Year Bible first thing in the morning reminds me who holds my future. Doing some journaling and listing the things I am grateful for has helped me stay centered. Then, taking my early morning walk with my dog helps release some of those feel good endorphins and gives my attitude a positive boost. Next, I have discovered putting on something other than sweats gets me in work mode. I am adhering to work hours and scheduling a few ZOOM calls each day too. Seeing the ladies I work with (Debra and Nicole) along with other groups of people really helps. It is good to connect. It helps to hear how others are managing their new way of doing life. It normalizes that this really isn’t “normal”, and I am not in this alone. Limiting my amount of news consumption also helps. Structuring my day has been making a difference. I am also maintaining my sense of humor. There are some humorous aspects of this. Like my recent shopping trip to Walmart at 6:00 am for their special “senior shopping hours” only to discover the store looked as if a horde of locusts had arrived before the doors opened and wiped it out. I mean, was that a joke? Enticing old people to get up early…… for that? Partially filled bins of bedraggled vegetables and empty shelves where the canned goods used to reside. I only knew that because the little signs were still in place announcing what used to be there. I really wanted some tomato sauce, oh well! And toilet paper, you can forget about that. I discovered that even with these shortages, no one seems to want sauerkraut except for me. Yes, I bought two jars. You never know when you might get a craving for pickled cabbage. It could happen, right? I had to laugh at the situation. I am not a morning person and for me to be out the door at 5:45 am was both ridiculous and disorienting. It felt like a scene from a movie of years gone by, stories my mother had told me about the depression, except now, I am living it. But, I am an optimist and I feel that this will be over relatively soon so I am looking at this as a kind of adventure. A good attitude makes all the difference in life. I have also discovered people are friendlier, as long as we weren’t vying for the same box of pasta. I am saying God Bless You to everyone I meet, from a distance of course, and most everyone is saying it back to me. It is a helpful reminder that God is in control. I am thankful that I know that for sure. We will survive this. So, in the meantime, try some structure and humor. I think it’s a good combination. God Bless You! Stay healthy. Maureen Price

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