COVID Check-In: One Year Since a Pandemic Was Declared

set of medical protective face masks

I’m sure that I am not the only one who never imagined living through a pandemic. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. On that day, many in the United States were still going about their daily lives, with few understanding the lifestyle changes that were about to take place.

The realization that our lives would drastically change was sudden for some, and gradual for others. Looking back for myself, I honestly thought we would shut down briefly, get this “under control” and be back to our normal lives in due course. I remember sitting in a Health Equities meeting at my internship on March 12 where we began the discussions of how to continue to provide services to our most disadvantaged clients IF we were to “go virtual.” Little did we know it would come faster than we thought. On March 16, I took my children to daycare, only to be told that I would have to keep them home. “Just for two weeks,” they said. They would never go back to that daycare because we PCS’d before daycares opened back up.

Within the military community, this time has been unique. We are a community that is used to a certain level of uncertainty. The pandemic was no different, but some of the challenges of being submarine families changed. Some of us got stuck in PCS limbo, others had orders extended or changed. Some spouses faced difficult decisions regarding work, some had increased pressures to stay home with children. Deployments and patrols were extended. There were some new vocabulary words to get used to: “HPCON”, “ROM”, “Stop-move orders”. Traditional spousal support networks had to get creative, with Zoom meetings, porch drops, virtual races and staggered homecoming pickups.

Our community has shown a year worth of resiliency and strength in the face of the challenges brought about by the pandemic. We will continue to adapt to these uncertain times and we can use what we have learned over the past year to thrive.

Today, on the one-year anniversary of the WHO declaring a pandemic, let’s do a mental health check in.

How are you doing today?

Do you need a reminder to participate in some self-care?

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