As a high-risk graduate student who's been remote since March, I'm no stranger to the COVID isolation fatigue that many of us have been experiencing. It’s been a challenge to work, attend classes, take care of my health, and balance daily life without the usual in-person interactions I’m used to. The days can feel like a blur when we do everything from home - setting boundaries and creating some semblance of ‘normalcy’ has been tricky, to say the least.

A few of the things I’ve noticed help me cope right now:

  • staying virtually connected to friends and community (having game nights via zoom, PAC chats, phone calls, facetime, support groups, discussing readings/projects with classmates...)
  • writing down lists, so I remember to balance what I need to do and what I want to do!
  • finding something to nurture - I don’t have pets, but I love gardening and taking care of plants! I adopted a little caterpillar I found in the yard and watched it turn into a moth! :-)
  • trying to be kind to myself when I don’t get everything done, or when I need to rest.

Everyone copes with tough situations differently, and this has been a LONG year. I know that the urge to see friends and family is strong right now; we all want to feel a sense of normalcy again, and are sick of staying home. None of us want to be isolated right now - but it’s so important to remember that every time you risk exposure (through close contact, gatherings, not taking proper mask/hand washing precautions, etc.), it doesn't just put YOU at risk. 

I want to ask the healthy/able-bodied folks who are reading this to consider how scary it is to be a high-risk patient right now. I’m asking you to PLEASE consider those around you, especially those who may not have the same luxury/privilege of good health as you do. 

Your actions right now speak volumes. Seeing healthy community members disregard OUR safety makes this experience feel even more isolating. Risky decisions can have disastrous effects that reach far beyond just you and your own health.

Show us you care through your actions. Your choice to stay home while cases of COVID are surging is what makes it safer for high-risk patients to go to appointments, get the treatments we need, and stay healthy.

Right now, more than ever, community care is crucial. And that means thinking beyond ourselves, to keep each other safe.


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