The Upside of Isolation: COVID-19
We here at Everything Jersey City like to look at the bright side of things and focus on the positive, even during a global pandemic. While so much is uncertain, the faint glimmer of a silver lining is that with self-isolation and social distancing comes the opportunity to reconnect with those in our inner circles and ourselves in a new, more meaningful way. Being forced to spend more time alone, with partners, or with family shouldn’t sound like a nightmare, so I asked how our Jersey City neighbors are managing to keep calm and carry on together during week one. Let’s settle into the new normal and explore the upside to our time inside … because we’re going to be here for awhile.
The Only Person I’m Committed to is Myself
For those of us going into self-isolation single, focusing on spending more productive time with the person you’re with the most: yourself. That household project you’ve been meaning to start? Do it. That stack of books you have marked as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads? Pour some tea and get through it. This is a time of reinvention, catching up on to-do lists, and binge-watching everything you’ve been meaning to watch on streaming channels all year. Nothing needs to be done alone, either, thanks to our phones and computers keeping our friends and family just a click away from keeping us company.
“This doesn’t change much for me besides missing being with my friends and going out together,” said Morgan Gross. “But we’ve been having virtual happy hours and watching movies together through Zoom. It’s an easy way to stay connected and not feel so lonely.”
But we’re human and only can spend so much time alone. It’s time to get creative with flirting in a post-face-to-face dating reality. In-person dates are on pause now, so that means actually talking and getting to know the backlog of people on the apps you’ve matched with (can you imagine?). Bring back old-school romance. Talk on the phone. Write them a poem. Come out the other side of this with a full schedule of inventive dates around Jersey City and a lot of fun to look forward to in a few weeks.
I Got You, Babe
For couples, take this time to learn more about your partner. No matter how long you’ve been together, there’s always something new to discover, especially now when there’s nothing to hide when you’re together 24/7. Schedule “date nights” and order dinner from restaurants offering delivery or no-contact pick-up around the city and break out a board game while you eat. It’s also the perfect time to explore each other’s hobbies and try tackling a new project together.
“My boyfriend plays video games with his friends every night so I asked him if there was something we could play together instead,” said Siobhan Sanders. “So now we’re on Stardew Valley farming cauliflower and raising chickens. It’s silly, but it’s fun and different for us.”
But while it’s important to find things to do together to pass the time, it’s also crucial to give each other space and find ways to have alone time. Especially for remote workers, having a partner around you while taking calls and getting work done can be distracting, so set boundaries and try to keep up a similar routine to what you had a month ago.
“We’re both working from home now so we try to stay out of each other’s way during work hours, more or less,” said Brittany Kowalzyzk. “Then when we have dinner together, I ask how his day went. My favorite part of coming home from work was getting to catch up after a long day, so I don’t want to lose that.”
All in the Family
Work-life balance has tipped way over into “life” now that work for many of us is remote or on hold. The obvious benefit here is that those of us with families are getting to spend more time with loved ones, especially children who are used to just seeing Mom or Dad after work and weekends.
“I have never watched so much Peppa Pig in my life, but I’m happy to be home during the day with my kids, so I’m not going to complain,” said Mario Economos.
Being together all day means a lot more family bonding time and getting inventive with how you spend that time together effectively. For older kids and teens, give them space to do their online schoolwork and maintain a similar routine for when they’re normally in school to not disrupt their day too much. But that doesn’t mean you can’t inject some fun into the day. Ask them about Tik Tok. They’ll love the chance to embarrass their parents for a shot at going viral. For young kids, bring them back to a time before screens and load them up with art supplies, puzzles, and anything else tactile and fun for adults to jump in on, too.
“I bought $100 worth of stickers, coloring books, markers, candy, and books from Family Dollar to entertain my daughter,” said Prashant Bedi. “Right now, the game for her is running up to my laptop and slapping the keys every time I get up from working, so we’re trying to distract her with coloring.”
The Secret Life of Pets Revealed
The real winners of this whole ordeal are our pets. Their favorite person/people are home all day and they couldn’t care less about what’s going on in the world. All they know is they get to have you all to themselves all day long.
“Enzo hates when I leave the house even to take the trash out,” said Chris Bauer. “He couldn’t be happier that I have no excuse to leave the house and have nothing to do besides give him attention.”
This is a great time to curl up on the couch for hours with our furry kids and shower them with affection – stay tuned next week for our article on activity recommendations, tips, and concerns about pet ownership during quarantine. However, sometimes we need a break from our pets. Services like Tails on Trails Doggy Day Camp and other dog walking services are still open (at the time of writing this article) and available to relieve a little pressure from dog owners balancing work, family, and stress while home.
The unfortunate reality for many of us is that the option for working at home doesn’t exist, so dog-walking services, restaurants, and retail need as much help as we can give during this time. So, order in when you can, have your normal dog walker still come by to give Fido a lap around the block, and shop local online when available.
In the end, we’ll all get through this together with a little help from each other. A little positivity can go a long way. Check out #OutbreakofKindness on Instagram to see how your neighbors are helping each other through positive community efforts, like food drives, donations, good deeds, etc., and submit your own to be shared on @everythingjerseycity.