• Sarah Joy Cook

Connection, Contagion and the Coronavirus

It will come as no surprise that my mind has been consumed with thoughts of COVID-19. Even though I don’t watch much television or otherwise consume much news media, I am hyper aware of the virus. How could anyone not be? I legit received about 100 emails yesterday from every organization I have ever had an interaction with. And, when I traveled this week, the airports and planes were desert lands. People were wearing masks. No one wanted to sit beside anyone. What is this dystopia?

The virus is contagious, but I think the panic may be even more contagious. We have enough toilet paper to last a few months and yet, I start taking shallow breaths in fear of running out. I read an article about this phenomenon. It’s called herd mentality. If you stock up, I must stock up. I am afraid that you will take it all so I must protect myself. Something like that anyway. Putting words to it actually helps. I refuse to drive all over town looking for the last stash of toilet paper (or sanitizer or pita chips). Instead, I am appreciating that we have a year’s supply of hot tea and downtime to enjoy it.

We’ve been in Greenville for 6 weeks now. This week all the change and feeling lonely finally came to a head. In TN, I had plans with girlfriends a few times a week, I had a gym and classes that I absolutely loved, I had a church community. I had a comfortable routine.

I don’t have those things here yet, and it’s taken a bigger emotional toll than I imagined. I’m not in Nashville to support friends and family who were hit by the tornado. I haven’t found a class at the neighborhood Y (though I did try Beast Mode today and that just might be a winner). I’ve spent more time working than plugging in.

But, it DID come to a head. So, we took charge and began filling up our social calendar. We went to a game night a few nights ago. We planned to go to a St Patrick’s Day celebration today (cancelled), salsa lessons last night (cancelled) and church tomorrow (cancelled). I get it. Coronavirus is here. It is contagious. The solution is social distancing. I’m on board.

However, it was just THIS WEEK that I realized how much I need to foster connection in my new home town. I will honor the guidelines, but I will also honor my heart. I will find ways. Here’s how I will stay connected:

  1. Schedule video calls with friends and family. My sister texted today and asked if I wanted to talk. I was in the middle of something, but this is my year of “yes,” I miss her, and it was a connection opportunity. I got to catch up with her, and get giggles from the kiddos. Perfect.

  2. Have extra physical contact with Colin. Really! I tend to hug and shake hands and have physical contact when I’m out socially. That won’t be the case for awhile, so I’m going to hold his hand, curl up on the couch, take longer hugs, touch more.

  3. Write this blog!

  4. Spend time in nature every day. We are 10 minutes from the waterfalls. I will breathe the fresh air and listen to the rushing water. This helps me to feel connected to something much bigger than me.

  5. Listen to church on a podcast or live stream.

  6. Connect with me: For me that means carving out time for a bath and a book. I usually think I’m “too busy” for those little luxuries.

  7. Go out to dinner like we normally would. We aren’t sick. We can choose uncrowded places. We can use caution. With the economy taking such a hit, I see this as one small way I can contribute to normalcy and support local businesses.

  8. Sign up now for meet-ups starting in April. It will give me something to look forward to once the social distancing guidelines begin to lift.

I want connection to be my contagion. Tell me how you are staying connected...or better yet, connect with me!


Sarah Joy

#ProjectRestoreJoy #Connection #SocialDistance #SelfCare #MeetUp

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