A Day in the Life of an Essential Worker

It’s 5am.  Ugh, how did that happen?  It was literally just 9pm, and I closed my eyes for a minute…..whatever, I’m up.   I open my bedroom door and my roommate has the morning news on, and right away I hear the news guy announcing, “CORONAVIRUS DEATHS SPIKE AT LOCAL NURSING HOME!”  Crap.  I put my ear buds in to some pleasant 70’s mellow gold, divert my eyes from the TV, grab a cup of coffee and jump in the shower.

Here we go, another day to get through.  My job as an essential worker at a veterinary hospital has morphed into days filled with stress and anxiety.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to have a job.  I know many people who have lost their jobs due to this virus.  People I care about, that didn’t deserve to have their livelihood ripped from them.  Which leaves me with feelings of guilt, for having a job when they don’t, and for resenting it at the same time because of what it’s become.  Something I used to enjoy has become something I do my best to just get through each day.

So how do I cope?  With a whole lot of effort!  I know how important it is for me to feel joy, it’s like my life depends on it.  So I make sure I do things, little things, each day that bring me some joy.  A major player here is Starbucks.  My mood can improve significantly when I’m holding a hot mocha.  And because I know that my coworkers may also be somewhat struggling, I have appointed myself “coffee ambassador” and bring everyone Starbucks, every Saturday.

What else?  Since I have an hour commute to work and back home, I use the time to talk (on Bluetooth) to family that I don’t get to see because of Covid.  I find playlists of old 80’s bands with obscure music on Amazon and sing loudly and drink my bubble water.  I found Audible!  I listen to awesome self-development authors as well as cool fiction.

At the end of the day, after dinner and dishes, I head to my room and turn on Netflix.  To complete my self-care-while dealing-with-Covid routine, I watch my next episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  That’s right, I didn’t watch it back in the day, and have now found it at the exact time I need it.  I find myself looking forward to 8pm, when I can climb into bed and know that I’ve gotten through another day, and get to indulge my Netflix craving for an hour.  Asleep by 9pm, because, you know, 5am comes too damn quick!

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