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                           STEP BY STEP

 

 

By Cherie Langlois   
       4/14/20

 


………… “Take one step and then another. Repeat until done.” 

This is what I kept telling myself while training for my first marathon last year. It’s what I told myself when a hip bursitis flare-up forced me to hobble the last few marathon miles at a snail’s pace. And this is exactly what I did—took one step and then another, and repeated until done. 

Cherie Langlois – Marathoner

As runners and walkers, as Silver Striders, this is what we do. It’s also what we’re doing now as Washington state enters another interminable, lonely, economy-crashing month of “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” isolation. As the coronavirus-caused infections and heart-breaking deaths in our country and the world continue to soar. Take one step and then another. Repeat until done.

Because this hellish race will be done. We just don’t know exactly when.  

In the meantime, though, I wanted to share how my husband Brett and I are navigating this strange new world while trying to keep ourselves and our loved ones—plus everyone else we encounter—healthy and safe. I hope it will help you feel less alone, because you’re not alone. We’re all walking and running through this together, step by step. 

  

Brett Langlois – Running near home      

We’re staying informed, but trying not to overdo it.   This has been a tough one for me personally. It’s all to easy to become a coronavirus news addict—after all, I want to stay informed enough to take appropriate action as well as strengthen my resolve to keep doing what must be done. But ingesting too many statistics and horror stories is a sure way to feel even more depressed and frightened, so I’m trying to cut down drastically. Brett and I also take care not to pass on or encourage any virus-related misinformation circulating on social media and elsewhere. For information and guidance, we’ve turned primarily to organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, and our own Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

We’re keeping in mind that information and guidance about this virus is subject to change.   Yes, this can be frustrating, but the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) is exactly what its name says it is: an entirely new virus. Health researchers around the world are still scrambling to learn everything they can about it, from how the virus spreads to how best to combat it. New information means we may need to change our behavior accordingly. If ever there was a time to be flexible and adaptable, this is it. 

We’re washing our hands a lot with soap and water.   I’m sure you’ve heard this advice a million times by now (our poor hands!), and for good reason. This virus can survive on surfaces for widely-varying lengths of time, and when we touch these surfaces and then our face we risk transferring it to our eyes, nose, and mouth membranes. The good news? Proper hand washing with soap and water disintegrates Covid-19’s lipid/protein envelope. Hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol works in a pinch, too (if you can find it!). Brett and I are also attempting to break the face-touching habit—especially when we’re out in public. 

We’re abiding by our state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.   Covid-19 transmission is happening in most of our communities. What’s more, this terrible respiratory virus is highly infectious and stealthy—an estimated 25 to 50 percent of infected people show no obvious symptoms initially yet can still transmit it. I realize it’s not a happy thought, but to flatten the transmission curve and keep our hospitals from being inundated, each of us must act as if we might already be infected. This means staying isolated at home if we’re able to, going out only when necessary (we’ve even started ordering groceries), and keeping a distance of at least six feet from others when we must venture out. New guidance from the CDC also recommends people wear non-medical masks while doing essential public tasks to protect each other. You can bet we’re doing this now, too. 

We’re staying active.   Exercise has for years been my go-to for controlling anxiety and insomnia and getting through tough times. Since our world turned upside-down, I’ve needed it more than ever. Happily, even with stay at home mandates in place, many localities allow people to go outside for exercise and fresh air as long as they distance themselves. Brett and I are incredibly fortunate to live in a rural area with relatively quiet roads where we can walk, run, and bike close to home—no social distancing required. If inclement weather keeps us indoors, we have a bicycle trainer to pedal, weights to lift, and yoga to practice. 

“Brett and I are incredibly fortunate to live in a rural area with relatively quiet roads .”

We’re staying connected.   It’s the continuing loss of personal connections—hugs, chats over coffee or wine, visits with our daughter—that I struggle with the most these days. Like many others riding out this pandemic in isolation, I’ve prioritized staying connected to people even when we can’t be together in person. I make more phone calls now and spend more time connecting with friends on Facebook and Messenger. Google Hangouts has kept us close to our daughter in Seattle and we’ve even enjoyed some virtual Happy Hours. We also reach out regularly to neighbors to see if they need any groceries picked up—or simply to talk.       

We’re telling ourselves it’s okay … to grieve the losses, to be scared about all of the unknowns, to be less than constructive, to feel what we feel. As I write this, more than fourteen thousand people in our country have died from this disease—nearly four times the number of people who died on 9/11. By the time you read this it will certainly be more. The entire world is going through a collective trauma, but it’s okay if we go through it in different ways. We’re trying to be especially kind to others—and to ourselves. I hope you will, too. 

                 Stay strong, stay well, and keep taking those steps, Striders!

 

 

 

 

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