Title

Summer 2020 Escape

COVID coping mechanisms.

July 22, 2020
 
 

How is life in the middle of a global pandemic? How have you managed to take care of yourself this summer? Are you finding ways to escape?

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

When all of this started, I wrote on my blog almost daily. It was my way of trying to process everything that was going on. I baked bread. I started to sew. As time wore on, I found other projects to keep me busy, like The Data-Sitters Club. Nothing like nerding out over YA books from my youth with friends to keep you both busy but also connected. I work in faculty development and online learning, so you can imagine, my job has been really demanding since this all started. But the most important thing that has happened to help get through all this is being able to coach swimming again. Being outside, on deck, coaching the kids, has done wonders for my mental health, not to mention my kids’ mental health. For two and a half hours every morning, life feels a little more normal for all of us.

Niya Bond, University of Maine, Orono, Me.

Even though lately, it often feels like the world is falling apart around me -- socially, politically, economically, virally --  being home the last few months has provided me with some kind of self-care superpower, allowing me to more fully engage my personal interests, to compartmentalize constructively, to make more out of all the moments in my day. Perhaps this is a biologically induced self-defense mechanism, my own magical gift to myself while I’m living in this wonky world, and a necessary counterpart to some of the continued panic I’m experiencing about all of these problems. Regardless, however it has happened, something has shifted. For the first time in three years, I’ve planted my window boxes. I designed and built my own backyard oasis, taking something from Pinterest to my patio. I regularly complete family fun runs on my work breaks, not really caring if I come back to the home office a little sweaty -- my productivity doesn’t stop with perspiration. I’ve devoted some of my lunch hours to being a virtual volunteer for a dog rescue, finally taking service from my to-do to my to-done. For me, being at home has been a form of escape in and of itself -- one that has been incredibly empowering. This is not to say things have been perfect -- we are in a pandemic, after all, and one that has exacerbated already-existing problems in the U.S. at the same time that it has established new ones. But somehow, during these seeming worst of times, I’ve become my best self.

Meg Palladino, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

As director of summer session, I haven’t had much of a summer escape. Workwise, the summer has been relentless. Enrollment is up, courses had to quickly pivot to online format, and managing a remote team has been tough. Outside of work, my summer escapes have been going to the beach at odd hours, taking my son to soccer classes and endlessly playing with Legos. I am looking forward to my downtime, the fall.

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