March 22, 2020

Rachel Strella

Ten Observations in the Thick of COVID-19


The coronavirus outbreak continues to get scarier by the minute. At the time of writing this post, there are 27,000 confirmed cases in the United States and that number is expected to grow to 70,000 by the end of the week.

It’s hard to believe the amount of change we’ve experienced in just one week. And, I am certain the world will look completely different in another week.

Here’s what I’ve observed, so far.

General observations

It will get worse before it gets better. There is no expiration date on this virus. We do not know when we will arrive to safety, so we need to brace for that reality. It goes without saying that we should do everything possible to prevent further impact - so please limit unnecessary interaction with other people.

There is no such thing as security. Whether it’s a job, health, family or money – no one is immune to loss. This may be the scariest realization of all. A lot of people are frightened, but remember, we are all facing the same thing (see next point).

We need to stick together. I’m positively overwhelmed at the amount of support I’ve witnessed in both physical and virtual communities. I haven’t seen people come together like this since 9/11. We need to continue to help each other out during this time. (And, remember to help those who won’t ask for help!)

We must remain nimble. Flexibility is crucial to surviving this war. Whatever we have planned for the day, prepare to pivot and even overhaul that plan. We, as humans, crave stability and routine, but I think the best thing we can do is adapt to this new normal.

This is a wake-up call. No one should be placing blame. Instead, we should realize that this is the slap in the face that we needed to wake-up as a society and as individuals. Once the dust settles, we will all have a different outlook on life. What changes will you make as a result of this crisis?

Personal observations

Teledoc is a great alternative. This past week, I was sick. I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor on Tuesday, however on Monday, I received an email from my insurance company informing me of a safer option using Teledoc. I scheduled a call with a doctor that day, which prevented me from making the trip to the office and potentially infect others. (Bonus: Teledocs can also send prescriptions to your pharmacy. Another bonus: I am feeling much better).

I’ve been in the wrong business. Rather, I’ve been labeling it incorrectly. For the past 10 years, I’ve considered our social media management company a marketing service; it’s really a communications service. The number of requests we’ve received from our clients has tripled this week. They realize the importance of social media as a vehicle for communication. Moreover, those who did this the right way by providing value to their audience (instead of selling), can now cash in on that community.

I missed working with my husband. Most of us were quarantined the past week, which was an adjustment period. I’m fortunate to run a virtual company because that minimized the impact of the sudden at-home working arrangements. It’s been a while since I worked alongside my husband, Nathan.  He’s been employed by the Commonwealth for several years, which was a decision we made when it became too challenging to afford to live as two entrepreneurs. On Monday, he started working virtually – and while he has been extremely busy with his job, it’s nice just having him around again!

There’s a lot I can do without. As much as I love the gym, 24/7 grocery delivery and a nice dinner out,  I can go without these things and be alright. I’ve been creative with my workout, I’ve enjoyed the simple act of making a meal with limited ingredients, and I’ve found that maybe a nice dinner at home is just the ticket. 

Many are dealing with worse. If my biggest complaint is the inability to go to the gym, I’ve got it good. I recognize this and while I have not been without struggles with what’s happening, a lot of folks have it worse. Many have to work with their kids at home. I can’t imagine. There are people in my community who have lost their only source of income with no notice. There are people around the country who are at high-risk for the virus and they are terrified for their life. I think it’s my responsibility to offer as much help to others as I can.

A final word

We will be OK. As I said in my post last week, there’s no way to prepare for every possible thing that could happen. Instead, we have to be ready to embrace and overcome the obstacles as they occur, no matter how unexpected. We will be OK and we will come back from it.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge with it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

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