Getting through the Pandemic

Ask Dr. Natalie

Getting through the Pandemic

Dr. Natalie Gelman

We have gone through changes in the past 16 months. We begin to move forward, and then we are pulled back.

This article describes surviving the most conservative time because many are anxious about returning to it again.

I have been asked many times how I am handling the pandemic. I am a working person, but things changed. I was no longer able to see people in my office. And work was only a portion of my life. Like everyone else, contact with people and going places were not long accessible as I had known them to be.

My gym closed, so I began walking every morning. I created four different routes. I knew that the exercise was important, physically and emotionally, and I needed a way to get out of the house. I continue to do this daily. There are not many people I come in contact with very early in the morning, but, when I do and we are on the same sidewalk, there is the moment of deciding who will walk out into the street, so we respect distance. If there is a dog involved, I always take the street. Seems minor, but it is an interaction with someone.

I talk to people on the phone. I speak with family often. I make calls to friends I, pre-pandemic, did not reach out to as often. There is not a lot to say, but it is worth the contact. In a couple of cases, I spoke to people I have not talked to in years.

I watch movies. We all do. Now I do research on some of them afterward, just to participate in some enhancement of the film and a different activity. Learning continues to be a good thing.

I do little tasks. I have wiped some wood furniture with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove marks I typically would not notice. I got down on the floor in the bathroom and used a toothbrush with bleach to get all corners by the walls. I washed the curtains. I reorganized kitchen cupboards.

I made candy. I had a great recipe that I made two years ago and lost it. I found one online that was similar and tried it. It did not work. I threw out the whole thing. Being unrelenting, and eager to find something to do, I bought the ingredients again and tried a variant recipe. I threw that one out too, but I did occupy what could have been a boring time.

I have begun roasting vegetables very regularly. I eat a lot of veggies and now I have a way of preparing them (it takes a bit of time) and keeping them in the refrigerator.

Routine has become very important to keep track of the day passing. Lunch outside with a friend every two weeks, walking in the morning, phone calls to my kids, shopping, meal times, bed time, seeing clients in my garage or talking to them on the phone. Each day is predictable and has some variety to keep me interested.

I look forward to my other life too.

Dr. Natalie Gelman is an Alameda-based therapist. Submit questions to or through her website, www.