Nervous about normal?
Baptist team member shares how she is adapting to uncertainty due to COVID-19.
Carolyn Tillo Published: 5/28/2020
Emilie Pennington, a graphic designer at Baptist Health, loves staying active and being outdoors, so the initial month of quarantine left her feeling stir-crazy and longing for stay-at-home orders to lift.
Then, like many of us, she learned to adjust to her new normal, becoming comfortable with working from home.
When restrictions began to lift and workplaces and restaurants started to open their doors once again, Pennington found herself feeling apprehensive to do things like run errands or pick up a card for her mom’s birthday, things she was itching to do when the quarantine started.
She said, “I found myself thinking, ‘After weeks of semi-isolation, why do I feel paralyzed? I have to talk myself into going on a simple errand. Getting into a car to drive even a short distance makes me feel anxious.’”
Pennington is not alone. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our society has been faced with a great deal of uncertainty that has led to people feeling stressed and alone.
“The more you can decrease the feeling of not having control and decrease unpredictability, the less anxiety you’re going to have,” Dr. Benson said.
Dr. Benson said it’s important to remind yourself as you return to work or to public places that there are precautions in place, including social distancing and masking, designed to keep you safe. By following these precautions yourself, you can assert some control over your own health.
While it’s natural to worry during this time, he recommended focusing on problems you can solve rather than ruminating about things that are outside of your control.
Finding a hobby or interest to distract yourself is also helpful, Dr. Benson said.
Pennington has turned to video editing to help enhance her design skillset and keep her mind occupied. She took a big leap toward getting more comfortable in her new normal when she recently supervised a Baptist Heart Hospital video shoot with a videographer and his team.
While she was nervous about this, she was inspired by the calm attitudes and confidence of the healthcare workers around her. At the hospital and in general during COVID-19, she has noticed that, despite the fact that people are standing six feet away with masks covering half of their faces, she has begun to see them more clearly—as part of the team tackling this virus. It’s an example of the message we’ve been hearing so frequently these days: we’re all in this together.
“Prior to COVID-19, they were just people I walked by, noticing them enough so I didn’t run into them. But now, I have a deeper appreciation for them. I recognize them as my coworkers and neighbors moving about their day, focusing on what they can do, and not worrying about the things they can’t, just like me.”
At Baptist Health, we want to help keep our community informed about COVID-19. For more information, visit baptistjax.com/covid19 or wolfsonchildrens.com/covid19. For questions about COVID-19 symptoms, call 904.302.5050.
Baptist Health physicians are here for you during this time and can diagnose, treat and prescribe medications virtually. Request an online doctor appointment here.