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Coping to get through this year

I was browsing WRAL’s website recently, and saw an article about a food blogger in Durham who’s been sharing restaurants that have helped her “get through” the pandemic.

Even though I’m obviously nowhere close to Durham right now or in the foreseeable future, I clicked on the article anyway. It detailed several different restaurants with takeout options, highlighting some of their best dishes and spotlighting new restaurants in particular for some publicity. If I ever do end up in Durham sometime, maybe I’ll check them out.

But the article got me thinking (as I tend to do when reading anything) about what’s been helping me “get through” the pandemic so far. Let’s face it: this year hasn’t been great. No one rang in the New Year back in January expecting to live through a global pandemic just a few months later. And yet, here we are. We’re making it through the best we can, even if life has continued to throw plenty of other curveballs at us along the way.

The sun still rises in the morning and sets in the evening each day even if this virus has turned the whole world upside down, even if it’s brought major changes—sometimes absolutely devastating ones—to people’s lives.

It’s been five months of this pandemic, and frankly, it doesn’t look like we’re getting to the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon.

So, personally, what’s getting me through this year is focusing on good things, no matter how big or small. What’s getting me through this year is celebrating happy things. What’s getting me through this year is discovering new things. Maybe this doesn’t work for everyone because everyone has their own ways of dealing with struggles, but this is how I cope.

Here’s a good thing, for example: I’ve done more walking this year than I’ve probably ever done in my life. Exercise has never been my strong suit, but I starting making an effort to walk more this past winter. I’d bundle up in my coat and pace outside during my lunch break (much to the amusement of my coworkers I’m sure). But when the weather got warmer, I was able to increase my time and do more in the evenings. I’ve discovered the walks have been a good way to calm down when life gets stressful and they’re also a good way to brainstorm ideas when I’m working on something. I’m going to keep doing it as much as I can even when life returns to some semblance of normal.

Another good thing: I used to like to doodle in high school even though I’m not exactly full of artistic talent. But I’ve discovered these past few months that when I want to take a break, pulling out paper and pencil to try to draw something is a good idea. I’m still not an amazing artist, but it’s been fun to explore a skill I’ve neglected for a long time. Plus, it’s a great way to kill time when I’m bored!

Another good thing: regular readers of this column may remember my extremely silly “Sweet Tea Saga” column from a couple months ago. Well, I’m happy to report I’ve had a lot better luck finding my favorite beverage lately. Sweet tea has probably been my best coping method so far. It gives me a boost of energy to make it through the day, and in turn, I get to show a little bit of support to plenty of our local restaurants. I think I’m familiar with the tea offerings at almost every restaurant in Ahoskie by now. They’re all great, and I encourage everyone to get some tea any chance they get!

There have been other things too, like an increased amount of phone calls to my friends and getting to write several interesting feature stories for this newspaper (such as the fun “teddy bear hunts” in local towns back in April).

I’m not saying this pandemic has been a good thing because it provided me the opportunity for these good things along the way. This pandemic has been nothing but a terrible tragedy, even if it hasn’t hit our community as hard as others so far.

But I will say I’m glad I’ve developed my own way to be able to cope through it all. We all have different methods. What has everyone else been doing to “get through” the pandemic?

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.