Coping, Cleaning and Cooking During Quarantine


Wow, what a difference a week can make. One day I’m writing about a beautiful pigeon in the Key Food parking lot, the next I’m frantically refreshing Katie Honan’s* twitter feed, stockpiling garlic and Sclafani tomatoes and using Lysol with bleach as Amazon packages arriving at my door.

New York state is on “PAUSE”. A very necessary measure by our government, trying to play catch-up to flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic. The hope is to alleviate some of the burden on our medical system, first responders and all necessary service workers, so we can stay afloat at the most basic level and prevent our most vulnerable from infection.

Heavy stuff.

It feels surreal, like we’re living in a Black Mirror episode. I’ve been generally coping well, despite a few mini panic moments over my mother. She has advanced COPD. I’m also concerned about my sister. She’s a doctor on Long Island, testing people for Covid-19 in a pop-up camping tent, I kid you not (insert cringe emoji here).

We all have loved ones we are worried about, understandably. And on top of that, there is fear, uncertainty and financial problems. We are stuck in the house alone or with our families. The latter can be a good or bad thing! We can’t relieve stress at the gym or at the yoga studio, or get a massage. We can’t go to churches, synagogues or other places of worship to find peace and healing. We can’t get a haircut, go on a date or meet friends at the bar. We can’t go anywhere. This is our new normal folks.

Over the weekend to get my mind off impending doom, I limited my social media. I organized my house and cooked. It helped tremendously.

Choose an organizational project to keep your mind focused
Choose an organizational project to keep your mind focused

I’ve been meaning to clean out my hall closet for the longest time. It was a big task. How does music equipment, cat food, and art supplies all end up in the same place? Taking everything out was easy but organizing and putting it back took some thought. For those several hours, I didn’t think about “the virus” once.

Cooking has always relaxed me. This is the perfect opportunity with extra time on our hands to experiment and try a recipe that is out of our comfort zones. Research the ingredients and their origins. Put some music on in the background and enjoy the moment and aromas. There’s so much joy to be had in the kitchen!

Cook comfort foods to cope
Cook comfort foods to cope

Do you have a creative coping activity? I would love to hear about it. Email me here.

We got this!

*Katie Honan is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a Rockaway native. Her reporting on the coronavirus is excellent. She also delivered St. Joseph’s pastries to my porch last week despite her exhaustion from working around the clock to inform us New Yorkers. Shout out!  Follow Katie on Twitter: @katie_honan