Image credit: Jim Linwood / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)   

There's simply no way for me to continue writing my blog ignoring the fact that we are currently in a pandemic.

For the rational side, the first recommendation is the CDC web site where you can doublecheck the nonsense often on social media and sometimes even in mainstream media. I also recommend following Peter Attia's COVID-19 page, which explains a lot of the science in detail that is accessible to non-scientists.

I also follow worldometer for daily stats, as well as my state's (PA) COVID-19 page for local updates.

But my intention here is not to discuss the rational so much as the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of dealing with the reality of COVID-19 while continuing to reverse diabetes and Eat Like a Bear.

From my perspective, having been the big sister all my life until I became a mother, my natural inclination is to be reassuring. Unfortunately, there isn't any way to do that: this really is that bad. Some of you reading this will get sick; some of those who get sick will die; nearly all of us will lose people we love and care for. That is simply the fact of living in "interesting times."

I realize many people are having various reactions to our current situation, and since I can't be reassuring, all that remains is sharing how I am dealing with it.

Having accepted the basic facts, it isn't helpful to spend my life focused on it. I did spend a day lost in the research and numbers, and at the end of that day when I went to bed, my entire body was tense with multiple knots and I had bizarre nightmares all night. I decided to go on a COVID-19 diet, and only spend a limited amount of time each day paying attention to it.

I considered all the worst case scenarios, what to do if Steve gets sick, what to do if I get sick, what to do if we both get sick, what to do if any of those occurs with no hospital beds available, what I will do if he dies, what he needs to know if I die, etc. I made decisions about each of those catastrophic scenarios and having done so, there is no sense worrying over them any more, as I know what to do. I'm not implying I won't completely freak out in any of those situations, but I'm armed with knowledge about what I'll do, so there's no need to worry over them now.

I'm aware there are scenarios I have not considered; no one knows what the world will be like when this pandemic is over. I can't plan for everything. What I can do is know who I am, a capable, competent, confident woman. I have good values. I will make the best decisions possible into the future.

Having dealt with my worries and chosen to not focus on the pandemic, I next had to choose what to focus on instead. Deciding to not think about something doesn't mean you won't think about it. I have to fill my brain with other thoughts to crowd the scary ones out. I spend copious amounts of time on the Eat Like a Bear Facebook group, much time both planning and accomplishing gardening, too little time working on this blog, some time binge watching shows I enjoy, some listening to music, etc.

I keep a semi-regular schedule, trying to accomplish a number of things each day. And I walk with kitties.

I start each day with a cup of coffee and a brief meditation. I tried several, but eventually settled on the Serenity app, a mindfulness meditation (GooglePlay or App store). I'm not always able to focus real well, sometimes my mind is full of my to-do's for the day or such, but I think my day starts better with it than without.

I end most days listening to Charles Dowding's Youtube channel, a proponent of no-dig gardening with a particularly soothing voice. On days when I'm more stressed, I fall asleep listening to Tibetan Bells.

It requires a certain amount of my attention and planning to accomplish reducing anxiety now, but given I can see no future where being upset now would be helpful, it's worthwhile. If these are my last days on earth, I will not waste them being panicked.

Similarly, I can see no future in which it would not be helpful to be trimmer, stronger and healthier.

I've been asked if I knew I were sick and might die, would I just go eat everything I want, and honestly, the answer is no. In all the worst case scenarios I have considered, none of them would be better if I were fatter, weaker and sicker.

8 months ago, I could barely wobble a few steps to my car on my stump-like feet, ride to a handicapped parking space, and wobble to a motorized cart to shop. I do not see any way that returning to that level of incapacity could be helpful.

If SARS-CoV-2 gets me, I'm going down fighting.