As More People Are Vaccinated, I’m Sticking With My Routine at Home

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by Halsey Blocher |

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As COVID-19 vaccinations continue here in the U.S., I’m noticing that more people are venturing back out into the world and returning to a “new normal.” While I’m glad to see that we’re taking some steps in the right direction, I’m not in a hurry to get back to my pre-pandemic lifestyle — or fully establish my own “new normal” — just yet.

I recently received both doses of the vaccine, but I’m still among the population that’s most vulnerable to the virus. Protecting my health and the health of others is always one of my top priorities, and I’m willing to continue taking precautions to accomplish that. I don’t think most people would say this extended period of isolation is an ideal situation, but I’m content with my decision to err on the side of caution.

Isolation hasn’t really been too hard on me. It hasn’t negatively affected my mental or emotional well-being, and I’m still staying active by completing my at-home physical therapy routine with assistance from a caregiver or a family member.

Understandably, this isn’t the case for everyone. For many, isolation has caused stress and anxiety, among other emotions. Each of those emotions is valid. We are all experiencing this differently, and that’s OK. Isolation doesn’t have to look the same for you as it does for me. Regardless of what the pandemic has been like for you, I want you to know that I see you, and I support you.

I’m blessed to live with a wonderful family that keeps me company and supports me. They are a big part of what makes this easier for me. There’s always someone around to chat, play games, and watch movies with.

This isn’t the first time my family has needed to hunker down to ward off illness. Like many SMA families, we also opt to spend more time at home whenever there’s an increase in yearly cold or flu cases. We’ve been mindful of my health and the well-being of others my entire life, so adapting our lives to the current situation hasn’t seemed as unusual to us.

In addition to spending time with my family, easy access to video chatting platforms allows me to stay connected with friends and co-workers.

I’ve been taking full advantage of the webinars and virtual young adult programs being offered by Cure SMA. I regularly spend evenings playing trivia games or enjoying conversations with my SMA friends from across the country.

The local disability center, Turnstone, has also been offering virtual programs. Joining weekly activity hours always makes me laugh and leaves me smiling. I even have the ability to continue my volunteer work with Turnstone’s fundraising department. I’m participating remotely in fundraiser committee meetings, and I’ll soon be making many phone calls to help prepare for an upcoming event.

And if all of that socializing isn’t enough, I also have regular video calls with co-workers. We don’t just have formal work meetings, either. Even before the pandemic, we were scheduling times for casual get-togethers and holiday parties. This is now a beloved part of our company culture. I believe an inclusive work environment like ours is something that can benefit any organization.

While I sometimes go out for drive-thru coffee and socially distanced fun, I’ve found that you can maintain a fully booked social calendar from home, too. I might not attend as many in-person activities these days, but my social butterfly status is still intact. My social life is actually thriving.

Family time and virtual social engagements are great ways to remain joyful and involved with the community, but there’s still one more thing I try to keep in mind on my constant quest for contentment. In Philippians 4:12, the Apostle Paul says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Paul’s ultimate secret to contentment — and mine — is faith. Regardless of his current situation, Paul relied on God as his source of joy, and he trusted that God would meet all of his needs. That mentality helped Paul to be content during both good and bad times. I try to approach this pandemic, life with SMA, and everything else with the same mindset.

My full return to society will be gradual, and I’m OK with that. I’m content where I’m at. Not only am I content, I’m genuinely happy. And I’m thankful to have my family, friends, and faith to get me through everything life throws at me.

How are you doing at this point in the pandemic? What helps make it easier for you? Please share in the comments below.

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Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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