July 21, 2024
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The Three M’s of Corona

One of the sentiments I’ve been hearing from certain people these days is that they are trying to savor this rare moment in time where some of the pressures of life have dissipated. Ten weeks have past since schools have closed. We haven’t been to the gym or the mall (or the dentist) in 10 weeks, and some people are actually enjoying this reprieve.

I’ve given this notion some thought and have come up with the three M’s of coronavirus. The three M’s represent ways we usually spend our time (or waste our time, depending on how you look at it) when we aren’t living in a pandemic. These are things that many of us are busy with during non-coronavirus times that take up a lot of time (and money) and keep us in a busy state.

Malls (and shopping): How often do we catch ourselves turning off Route 4 into one mall or another, and meandering aimlessly up and down the aisles, not even sure of what we’re looking for but inevitably finding something to buy? Many people buy things they don’t actually need, but for what purpose exactly?

This time in our lives has allowed us to slow down and enjoy the truly valuable aspects of life, such as a bike ride, a walk on a beautiful spring day, a time to learn Torah, a meaningful conversation or a game of catch with our children.

Movies (and entertainment): Many children are not happy unless their Sunday involves something that costs a lot of money or involves being indoors in a loud place with electronics (Chuck E Cheese, Dave and Busters and Indoor Trampoline Parks are all fair game). Ice skating, bowling, the movies, amusement parks and sports events are also good examples.

Needless to say, the pressure on parents to always come up with something fun and adventurous to do every Sunday can be overwhelming. For other families, Sundays are spent shuttling to and from sports practice, bar or bat mitzvot, birthday parties and playdates, which leaves everyone over-scheduled and exhausted by the end of the day. Might I remind everyone that Sundays are supposed to be a chance for bonding with our families and mentally preparing for the week ahead.

Now that the family walk or bike-ride has replaced the bells and whistles of an over-packed day, many people feel more refreshed and less rushed. If there’s one thing we take with us when this pandemic is a distant memory is perhaps our ability to embrace a more simple and less structured way of spending our time.

Maintenance: A patient of mine today said something that had us both laughing. She said her boss told her that when they finally re-open the office, in addition to everyone having to wear masks for a period of time, she will insist they also wear hats until they can all get their haircut appointments scheduled.

Miraculously, the last two months have turned many people into barbers and hair stylists. People have become very industrious and are realizing they don’t have to rely on someone else for so many aspects of their self care. Many people are getting a true sense of self fulfillment from performing their own selfcare and even enjoying the process. Four weeks ago my husband needed a haircut and he asked me to do it for him. He still seems pretty happy with the results so I may get another chance this month.

This pandemic has definitely been a very challenging time, but there have been some bright spots. My children are definitely happier seeing their parents more, and we are all loving the extra fresh air, magnificent cherry blossoms that are exploding all around us and the easing of pressure in our lives. As we move forward in the months ahead and start to relax the restraints that have been placed upon us, I hope we can take some of the positive aspects of the quarantine with us and use it to enhance our lives and our relationships.


Shani Stein, MD maintains a private practice in Teaneck, New Jersey where she treats individuals 16 years old and over. She can be reached at 201-591-5230.

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