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A Novel Concept

A Novel Concept

I’m still trying to process how the guidance went from basic germ prevention practices and stay at home when you’re feeling ill TO mandatory social distancing and stay-at-home orders. 2020 hasn’t exactly been a red-letter year, but I never imagined that a global pandemic would be on the docket for the new decade.

The first few weeks of quarantine were pretty good. I was given the opportunity to telework. My commute was completely eliminated. And, all dress code restrictions had been lifted. My gas tank and my bank account were nowhere near empty. I was cooking more, and eating out less. As a self-proclaimed germaphobe, I welcomed the idea of being “safe-at-home”. I enjoyed my remote life and all of the perks that came with it. The weather wasn’t the greatest, but I had nowhere to go so I wasn’t really concerned. Fast forward to week 5, and that’s when my mindset shifted from gratitude to attitude.

The groundhogs day doom was finally settling in. The monotony made getting out of bed a daunting task. The excitement of being able to connect via Zoom had lost its zeal. I wanted human interaction. I wanted to be able to see my family and friends face to face and not through an electronic device. I was sick of the “do this/don’t do that” rhetoric that changed from day today. I was scared to venture outside because I wasn’t convinced that the experts had a grasp on the situation. The routines I went through just to feel safe were absolutely exhausting. People thought I was doing the most, but I felt like I had to in order to compensate for those who were doing the least. I was saturated with statistics, and inundated with the lack of a silver lining. After my second mini-breakdown, it was evidently clear that I was no longer coping with, but had instead been conquered by COVID. Trying to have a normal conversation without mentioning coronavirus was like going to a baby shower and not saying the word baby. I wasn’t prepared for this to “go viral”. I wasn’t ready for the pivoting required to co-exist with COVID-19.
Fast forward to week 11, and we are now phasing back into civilization. I’m getting better with my approach to “the new normal”, but it’s not easy. I still find solace in being home, but I often feel “stuck-at-home” instead of safe. The good news is that this pandemic was not without epiphanies:

• Time, space and opportunity have been given back to me
• I’ve been able to work on restoring relationships with family, friends, and God
• The amount of “aha!” moments that have taken place are indescribable
• I’ve developed a greater sense of appreciation for people, places, things, and life
• I’ve been able to work on my spiritual and physical wellbeing
• I’ve learned that letting go is often times the best, and the only option in order to maintain your sanity
• I’ve learned the importance of enjoying my own company

I’m not sure why COVID-19 is here, but I know that I [we] are forever changed because of it. To go through this experience and not get something from it makes the experience pointless. I’m not sure where we go from here, I just know that we have to keep going. We are living in very uncertain times with a lot of unknowns. And for some, this is nothing new. Life hasn’t stopped because of our current state, if anything, it’s been compounded by it.

If you or someone you know is struggling, set aside some of this time we’ve been given and seek help. If you’re a therapist, counselor, social worker, life coach, or someone who specializes in helping Black women and girls work towards better mental health and well-being, please consider becoming a BGH partner:


Valerie Pogue
Valerie Pogue

Valerie N. Pogue, RN, MPH, CCWS - Valerie has been working in the health promotion field for over 15 years. She is a 3-time graduate of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where she studied Public Health and Nursing. Valerie is currently employed as a Wellness Program Coordinator where she develops programs and offers services that will positively impact organizational health. She is a firm believer that with the right tools and resources, YOU can unlock the door to your health and wellbeing.

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