The first is how grateful I am to the medical personnel working on the front lines. Thank you is not enough.
The governor of Ohio, where I live, has issued a stay-at-home order. Most shops are closed. The kids’ schools will be closed for a while, and there is no clear goal for when they will reopen.
Luckily, the stay-at-home order still permits people to go out to buy essential supplies or walk their dogs—but there are still some strange sights even in a place like this, where there are very few cases. For example, they are limiting the number of people who can go into grocery stores and everyone must maintain a distance of six feet apart.
And even Americans are regularly wearing face masks—something I’ve never seen here before.
Most countries aren’t allowing anyone in, and I’m seeing articles about people who are having a hard time returning home.
I had actually planned to go to Japan this spring—it would have been my first time back in two years—but naturally I had to cancel my trip. I had worked hard for it in a lot of ways and was looking forward to it, so I was pretty down about it for a while.
Honestly, I never imagined there would come a day when I couldn’t go back to my home country.
It’s the first time it really hit me how far away I am.
When I go out to the grocery store to buy essentials, it makes me feel sad because everyone looks so gloomy and depressed—even though the cold winter days are finally lifting and the warmth of spring should make this a happy time for people. The beautiful sounds of birds’ chirping fill the air.
I feel crushed by the anxiety of this thing with no end in sight, but I do not want to be overcome by the virus.
I tell myself that all I can do is focus on what can be done now, and my answer to that is staying home. I’m trying to spend the time in ways that will allow me to look back and see how necessary this period was for my life.
That said, it was hard to stay positive in the first week after the stay-at-home order, no matter how much I tried. But I later confronted myself with the question of how I could most effectively use this time.
First, the most important thing is to stay in the house.
I can read books and magazines that have been piling up.
I can study or start on things that I’ll need in the future.
I can get to some of the recipes I’ve been wanting to try.
I can tidy up parts of the house I usually neglect and declutter.
I can take exercise that can be done indoors.
Exercise is something we want to make a priority, not least because it helps boost the immune system. We live in such a convenient age, with so many videos available on workout sites.
Yoga studios and gyms are closed, but more and more fitness instructors are offering online classes.
This means you can work out as much as you like at home, so I’m grateful for that.
(Here are some of the ones I recommend!
・yoga with Adriene
・THE STUDIO BY JAMIE KINKEADE
Note: All of these are available for free on YouTube. Some are short and some are about an hour, and they focus on all kinds of things—so you’re sure to find one that suits you. The workout music for Madfit is particularly great!)
If I can keep doing things that I could not spare time for being pressed for time every day, I’m hoping I’ll come out of this with a bit more self-confidence. It also seems like a great time to think objectively about what I truly want to do, given that I now have so much time on my hands.
I also have a better appreciation for the things in life I used to take for granted.
It’s really tough not to be able to hang out with the people I want to see.
I’m hoping that by the time this is posted, things will have improved somewhat. In the meantime, I’m constantly praying that it will all be over soon.