Changing Covid coping

by S&M

We are nearly a year into the pandemic. Jokes and observations about how things are different now fall flat, because it’s been like this for a long time. Or has it? The following are some ways our methods of coping might be changing.

* on a different site, someone wrote “we’ve gone back to doing curbside pickup for things like groceries and Target runs, too. I’d rather spend my risk budget on other things!” A “risk budget” is a useful concept. Is yours large or small, and what do you spend it on?

* several people here commented recently on exercise routines taken up since shut-downs (of whatever sort) began. This is a strong contrast to “the Covid 19” pounds people joked about/were afraid of a few months ago. How are your exercise routines and fitness levels?

* also here, a few people commented that online learning is going well for their kids. My son’s school is meeting in person, with no shuttle service, sports, or clubs. They ventilate rooms frequently, wear masks all day, and take other safety measures. How is school settling out for your kids?

* how about work routines?

* clothing choices are supposedly also bouncing back. After a few months of sweats and yoga pants, it’s supposedly fancier stuff that’s moving off shelves now. Are you putting your big girl (or boy) pants on again, or still lounging about?

What other changes in your adjustments have you made?

28 thoughts on “Changing Covid coping

  1. I’m spending my “risk budget” on F2F meetings with clients. We wear masks, but we sit indoors less than six feet apart. I do run an air purifier in my office. Many clients still want F2F meetings, even though I offer video conferences, so I oblige them. To compensate, I am staying away from things like indoor exercise classes, even though I really miss them.

    Re. exercise, as I said above, I miss my in-person classes. I force myself to do a Zoom class (yoga or barre) once a week. I walk as much as I can. Pre-covid, I went to more classes more regularly, so my fitness level has probably gone down a bit.

    My kids did OK with school, which for them has been hybrid for the past few months (two full days a week live). They are neurotypical teenagers with no ADHD issues, so they have been able to manage their classes and workload on their own. DS is still working in the supermarket, and DD is still doing karate, which are the activities they were focused on pre-pandemic, so not much change there.

    My work routine has barely changed, except that I have been busier than ever since March.

    Re. clothes, I’ve mentioned before that I like dressing up, so I have continued to do so. Not full business attire (which I didn’t wear even pre-pandemic), but business casual most days M-F. I’ve continued to wear lipstick, even though no one outside my house sees it. Leggings, joggers, and hoodies have been reserved for weekends.

  2. Yeah, we talk about managed risk a lot. DH works in-person every day, and they have changed their setup quite significantly to minimize personal contact, and so far, they have had no documented cases relating to work contact — they’ve had people who were in “close contact” and so had to sit out of work for a while, but those guys all came back negative. For an organization their size, that’s pretty impressive IMO.

    For us, my managed risk is our favorite bar. They took out most of the tables and hung plastic curtains between the remaining ones, so it’s about as safe as you can make an indoor space, but it’s still a risk. But it’s one we’ve decided is worth it, both to get out a bit and because we really like the people there and want them to stay in business. Oh, and we have my one friend and her daughter in our bubble, and of course my mom. But none of them go out and do anything either.

    Otherwise, I don’t really go out, and that hasn’t changed much and doesn’t seem likely to change for another 6 months or so. And I’m generally ok with that; I actually miss vacation travel more than I miss the daily errands and just getting out and about. I will definitely enjoy the freedom to get out and do things spontaneously when things clear up, and just that sense of normalcy, but really, I don’t expect day-to-day live to change all that much.

    Probably the only thing that has changed is my willingness to spring for streaming services — we now have both Disney+ and HBOMax.

  3. My “risk budget” is spent on professional personal care, both medical and grooming, for myself. I am back to my pre Covid weight and am actively tweaking habits and routines to get by until summer, since it will be a long haul yet. On Dec 15 I realized that it was March 13 2020 when we dismissed the taxi that pulled up to take us on our cancelled trip and it will be Sept 16 2021 when I hope to take my solo hiking trip, moved closer to home from the Canadian Rockies to Quebec. So that was just the halfway point, although warm weather and expected vaccines for both of us by June will make the summer a bit closer to before times in the day to day.

  4. I watched the AJR livestream concert with some tweens a few days ago. Interesting experience. One had spent $35 of his money for a ticket, and 7 of us watched. I’m not much of a concert goer, but might be willing to spend money on that kind of experience again (with someone I actually liked more than AJR!). I wonder how that will evolve – if it works as a viable source of income, I imagine some groups will continue to have pay for play performances. I assume this has happened before, but the medium will grow and develop due to covid, I expect.

    Those of you looking for a little post-apocalyptic fiction to read, Song for a New Day, (published Sept 2019) is set in a near future where no one leaves there houses due to government regulation stemming from a distant pandemic and risks of street violence. The protagonist is part of a giant corporate machine making VR concerts. It’s a good read, and eerily prescient and won a Nebula.

  5. Is “risk budget” a thing and I just hadn’t heard of it before? Risk management is familiar, but that phrase was like sanding it off, refreshening the idea for me.

    The biggest thing that keeps changing for me is working out.

    At first I had no idea how long this would go on, so I just skipped swimming and lifting, even though I had only recently fallen in love with long course pools and found a weight room I liked. I focused on the at-home routines I was already doing, and when it got warm enough for pull-ups in the park, I did them. I also tagged along to my son’s PT appointments and used other equipment in the room. Once the PT saw I knew what I was doing, he was fine with it.

    When things started opening back up, I went with the flow at outdoor pools. I also tried going back to the gym, hated it, so I got serious about my upper body/pull-ups program. When they cut down the bars at the park, I slacked off. I wasn’t great about my lower body program either. It’s all body weight, some resistance bands, tons of reps, and I don’t have weights here to do the kind of lifting I like.

    I swam until pools closed a couple months ago, started working out at parks again, but then it got cold. My next big idea was that since PT for my broken foot has morphed into PT for bunions, which requires strengthening my legs, I could ask the PTs to juice our sessions. They agreed happily, always said that sure, at our next session we could do more, but never came in with any plan I could see. Felt like that couldn’t believe an old lady would actually want that. Arg!

    The current plan is to meet the PT my son worked with once a week for heavy leg/glute workouts, billed to insurance, and hope that pushes me to do the bodyweight workouts at home/in the park. Days are already getting longer and in a few weeks it’ll start getting warmer; that should help motivation. If pools don’t re-open by late spring, I’ll try open-water swimming. The lakes with guards will be closed if pools are closed, but there are other lakes with no guards where people often swim.

    With all this hopping around and all the Christmas cookies, I’m at the top end of the weight and size ranges I want to be in. Doesn’t feel great, but otoh, those upper limits were my goals when I started taking the weight off.

  6. The streaming version of the group fitness class I had been doing at the gym (BodyPump) is actually working better for me than I anticipated, once all the necessary equipment had been acquired. I won’t go back to the gym for this class (or any other exercise) until they lift the mask requirement, even though I really miss the people I met there. The biggest challenge in doing a home workout is doing it. When you don’t have the discipline of a class schedule, it’s very easy to find other things to do instead.
    The pools have been open since May, and with cases coming down in our area, they are very unlikely to close again as they did in March. The whirlpool is also open, so my swim workouts haven’t changed.
    And I was thinking of NoB’s DH the other day, when we got *just* enough snow on Christmas for my favorite county park to groom a xc ski trail. (Sadly, it’s mostly melted now, but Saturday was great while it lasted.) I hope he got in some skiing. December skiing is a rare treat here, and even though we get plenty of lake effect snow every winter, it doesn’t always fall in skiable increments. The grooming team worked on Christmas to get the trails ready for us on Saturday, which is above and beyond the call of duty for county employees.

  7. No swimming pools open here. So bummed. I’ve been doing a ton of Zoom yoga and Zoom sculpt classes. I’m not willing to spend my risk budget on in-person classes. For the last couple of months, my risk budget has been entirely spent on runs to the grocery store. The prospect of a vaccine has caused me to double down on safety measures. I feel like there is a possibility that I might get through the pandemic without catching the disease, so I’m being extra careful. If there were no vaccine on the horizon I might be more hopeless and therefore more sloppy.

  8. DH’s risk budget is basically zero (as you all know) so we had family here for Thanksgiving after they quarantined for 2 weeks, and no one here for or before Christmas (my parents had gone to the store so that started their 2-week count again). We get everything delivered. No play dates. #2 did do outdoor soccer, but that was the only time any of our kids have seen any friends in person since March. #1 will go to the orthodontist again in late January and I have to reschedule her well child appt (it was for right before Christmas but we moved it in case my parents were able to visit).

    NoB, I’m surprised your clients want to meet F2F! Mine are all excited to meet over Zoom and sign their documents over Zoom since they don’t have to travel (or have a meeting inside, I presume).

  9. Our risk budget has gotten stricter since the recent surge. DH is no longer allowed to go into work, DS has reduced his lunch takeout runs, and I’ve reduced my grocery store trips. However it may relax a little if we do buy a used RV from an acquaintance. We are assuming that we are in the last 8 months before DS goes off to college, and an RV would increase opportunities to have mini trips while he is still at home, and also allow a cross country adventure to take him to college.

    I try and go walking every day, bonus points if I can get DH and DS to go too. I also try to eat lunch outdoors every day to get some fresh air and sun. I’m doing the NY Times 7 minute workout every other day – I think I learned about that from Kim.

    Yesterday, I finished the second phase of re-arranging my home office. Next up, purchasing a sit-stand desk. I was going through some articles I saved, and realized I could throw out the ones with restaurant and event recommendations. I anticipate building my list of places to eat and things to do from scratch once we are post-pandemic. We will also be empty-nesters by that time, so we will be able to explore music and arts offerings once they start up again.

  10. Our risk budget is spent on routine medical attention for seniors, kids and ourselves. Also, F2F school which is a significant part of day to day. We have limited going to a variety of grocery stores. Lots of online ordering of other needs and wants. Outdoor tennis continues despite the cold. I have kept up my walking, DH continues to exercise. Bikes that were languishing got fixed. Since the beginning of this, I have tried to be outdoors as much as possible, weather permitting. We haven’t gone to any restaurants or spent a lot of time in indoor public places.
    We do what needs to get done to move forward and have nixed the nice to have. I see the tiniest drop in our numbers, that’s a hopeful sign.

  11. “Mine are all excited to meet over Zoom and sign their documents over Zoom since they don’t have to travel”

    L — That might be a difference between our practices — most of my clients are local, so they don’t have to travel very far to see me. Also, driving and parking are super easy around here. Your clients are probably more spread out geographically, and probably are happy to avoid the hassle/expense of driving into Boston.

    In addition, my office is right in the downtown of our very charming little town, so I think some clients make an event of it — they come see me, then go down the street for coffee or a snack or to do some shopping. I think they enjoy the excuse to get out of the house for an hour.

  12. I am having one of those days when I feel so done with all of it – I want to see my friends and hug them, I want to let my kids visit their grandparents, I want to shop and browse for fun in person and not zoom in and out of the grocery store as a survival exercise.

    On the current schedule we wouldn’t be vaccinated until next summer at the earliest, and the next three months indoors will feel very long. Lined up some workout apps and crafting projects, but still worried that won’t be enough.

    Online school for small boys does not work. The older two are fine, but my youngest is going to need years of tutoring to learn what he was supposed to learn in second grade. He hates doing schoolwork at home, and now every morning is a battle of wills while I try to work.

  13. “I have been busier than ever since March.”

    NoB, just curious, is the business directly due to the pandemic? E.g., are more people confronting their mortality and doing wills and trusts?

  14. In the summer and fall when all the metrics were better, and there were a lot more appealing low-ish risk activities to do – we were doing a lot more. Outdoor meetups with friends, outdoor restaurant dining, outdoor sports (especially baseball for DS with DH as a coach), etc. And of course we moved and sold our old house – so that put us in at least brief contact with a whole lot of people – real estate agent, movers, lawyer, delivery people, etc.

    Since mid-November, our “risk budget” is much lower. We are all remote working/schooling, and it’s pretty much fine. We exercise outdoors or inside our own house. We really only go shopping and once in a great while to get takeout – that’s about it. We’ve seen a few family members outside and/or masked – short visits, no eating/drinking. We had one relative over for Thanksgiving, but no other gatherings. I don’t really think twice about going to the store though – around here mask compliance is near 100% – there are a few noses sticking out here & there, but it is really jarring to see someone without one. It’s only happened a few times among the thousands of people I’ve seen in the stores.

    The things I really miss are high risk – sporting events, concerts, museums, eating inside at restaurants/bars, etc. I am really hopeful that we’ll be able to do those things this summer.

    I do see that half my Facebook and Instagram feed is on vacation this week, and that so many people had big holiday gatherings and just seem to be done. But we are more of the thought process that we’ve made it this far, we can make it 4 more months until we can get at least the first dose of vaccine and things start warming up again. (Everything I read says widespread vaccination will start around late March/early April.)

  15. “NoB, just curious, is the business directly due to the pandemic? E.g., are more people confronting their mortality and doing wills and trusts?”

    Finn — I think that’s part of it, but maybe an even bigger part is that people now have time to actually take action. They’re not commuting, and/or they’re working reduced hours, and/or they’re not going out for social events or volunteering, and/or their kids don’t have any activities, so they have time on their hands to attend to things that they’ve been meaning to do for years, like their estate planning.

  16. My kids went to in-person school until right before Thanksgiving and I have been going to in-person work, so we used up all of our risky activities on those two things. I think our area is going to peak in the next couple of weeks, so I am looking forward to rate starting to drop soon. Our hospital isn’t doing so great right now either. Lots of staffing issues. I hope they can muddle through for the next 6 weeks or so. I really hope we can get through without contracting Covid during this last big surge here. I know 2 more people who have died (ages 52 and 74), so I am more determined than ever to lay low as much as possible.

  17. “So many people had big holiday gatherings and just seem to be done.”

    I have been surprised by the number of friends posting pics at restaurants with groups made up of maybe three different unrelated families, including their young adult or college kids who do not live with them, plus significant others. In one pic where I knew several of the families I counted 11 different homes represented, with one of the young people working as a CNA and three living on campus prior to Christmas break. Obviously no masks and the restaurant was indoors. These were mostly from Oklahoma, which has the highest per capita case rate in the country right now, and where the majority of Covid deaths I am familiar with have occurred. My feeling is the opposite – we’ve made it this long, I can hang on just a little longer.

  18. I do see that half my Facebook and Instagram feed is on vacation this week, and that so many people had big holiday gatherings and just seem to be done.

    I haven’t seen any of that. At all. I’m not so surprised about people doing it but I’m surprised they’re posting about it. Personally, I’m nothing if not superstitious. Posting about your big family gathering and then post about nana being in the ICU is going to make you look like an idiot.

  19. Rhett, you’re assuming that people posting about the big family gathering recognize it as a threat to Nana’s health. I doubt they do.

  20. Hang in there Sky. We made it 10 months, just a bit longer now….I hear you on the tutoring. I’m still having face to face tutoring without mask, because guess what, it is really hard for student and teacher to read, hear, and say the sounds correctly. That is my risk budget.

    I’m super positive right now because I took a day off (finally!) And it was much needed. Spent then afternoon ice skating and sledding with the kids. A few of their friends where there. I got to talk to an adult in person. I’m so so happy we have snow so our long winter won’t feel so long.

  21. I am cynical about the once a year happy families pictures on social media. There are some in my extended family, who spend more of the visit clicking than talking with you. And if the camera catches you in a unflattering pose, the comments get back to you. I have had comments about my kids get back to me and as such I have stopped posting pictures of them. Everyone I want to talk to, I update individually or in a small group.
    There were only pictures of each family unit this year, no pictures of gatherings.

  22. One thing that seems to me to have changed for a lot of people is work schedules. There are still a couple people, including Louise, who just posted, who frequently post before 8 EST, but I think there used to be much more morning (by mainland US standards) traffic on this site, probably as part of people’s “arriving at office” routines. Am I correct in perceiving this shift?

  23. Since WFM began, I start work earlier, and log off earlier. I traditionally had an 8-5 schedule, and now it is more like 7:30-4. What hasn’t changed is that I still long on in the evening and weekends.

  24. I work the same hours – technically 9-5. I work later than more often then I work earlier although occasionally I will have to jump on a call before 9. I really just replaced my 45-minute morning commute – which I did on foot with a detour to walk DS to school – with an hour-long morning walk, which I do with my DH until he goes in for his morning stand up meeting at which point I listen to podcasts. I gained 15 minutes not having to wait around for DS to be ready to leave for school/nagging him to get his stuff together, etc.

    I am “at work” much faster though. Usually at work, I’d get in right around 9, but there would be 15-20 minutes of chatting with my coworkers, getting water, getting settled. Now it’s more like – sit at my desk and straight to work. Although I still avoid 9am meetings if I can at all help it.

  25. My schedule has shifted a couple of hours later. My “leave for work at 7, leave from work at 4” schedule was driven by traffic, daycare pickups/school schedules, and the need to cook dinner by a reasonable time. I am now 0-for-3; in addition to no commute, DS and DD both take care of their own school stuff, and DD makes dinner many nights (and when she doesn’t, I’m still 5 seconds away from the kitchen). So I now wake up around 7:30, have a leisurely breakfast and read the newspapers, and start actual work sometime between 9-10; then I log off any time between 3:30-7, depending on gym days, workload, and dinner plans (although there have been more late nights than I’d like this month).

    I forgot: my risk budget also includes my strongman training 2-3x/week. I am impressed with the gym setup — individual spaces that are like 12×12, gear wiped down and floors cleaned between classes, no one in until the last class has left, and two giant new air handling units. Nevertheless, I do keep my mask on, even though it is not required when you’re in your square working out. I think the gyms are a significant point of spread; I’ve seen a lot of post-workout pics of friends with arms around each other and such (luckily mostly at other gyms!). So I’d rather suck it up for a few more months. Just found out yesterday that my “cousin” (family of FIL’s best friend for 40 years) is in the ICU with COVID. He’s maybe mid 40s? Not at all overweight, and no underlying conditions that we know of, either — so much better odds than me, and there he is. A good reminder for me to hang tight for a few more months.

  26. My work schedule hasn’t changed, and I still have 6am meetings 2-3 days a week. I’m on a global team and need to meet with my counterparts in France and India, and occasionally Singapore, so timing is lousy. I’m happy I’m not on the West Coast. I have been posting more because I’m off for two weeks, but when I’m working I try to only log in during the evenings. If I read during the day, I get behind on what I need to get done.

    LFB – good luck to your cousin.

  27. “there are so many corporate jobs that need a small bit of quantitative classes to stand out and get in the door vs. a totally generic business major. Statistics, Economics and the like are good to have. “


    Seriously, for someone who’s going to be doing data analysis, I believe a working understanding of basic calculus– single variable derivatives and integrals– will be very helpful. It could also be a competitive edge in landing such a job.

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