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Open For Business (Taking Care of Yourself First)

Posted by Melissa for PetTest on Jun 18th 2020

Open For Business (Taking Care of Yourself First)

Things are opening again – bars, restaurants, and retailers are operating with social distancing guidelines. Others are just open. I am no economist, politician, or expert on disease transmission, so I have to rely on my own observations and the observations of others. Some of us are getting complacent – not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing. It is so tempting to think that with things open again, this is over finally and totally okay. As exciting as it might be to finally get that dinner out or get together with a big group of friends, taking care of Kitty requires that we stay healthy. I can tell you first hand that COVID-19, even when not severe, can really pack a punch. Since it is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics and has to “run its course”. The symptoms can be treated, but the exhaustion can be profound making it very difficult to get to the next room let alone keep Kitty stable and in their usual routine. This virus can be a bit more difficult to work around than the typical cold or flu viruses we are used to. So, sugar moms and dads, you HAVE to take care of yourself first!

I know, the whole idea seems selfish. Many of us are used to putting others’ needs ahead of our own at least some of the time (okay – probably way more than we actually need to). Taking care of you first in this new age of COVID-19 is not really about how to work around being sick: It is PREVENTION that is important here. This includes masks, social distancing, and keeping your outings to only what is necessary where possible. It is actually very easy and kind of nice in some ways.

MASKS: Sick or not, get some. House rule: Car turns off: Mask goes on. Make it a habit. You can order them almost anywhere, and some vendors give them away at the door if you don’t have one. There are some gorgeous masks being made out there and a lot of different materials; so it is possible to find a really great-looking mask that is also comfortable (Linen and linen blends are great for summer, as linen is a bit cooler.) I knitted and crocheted one, each in under an hour. I could not find the site I was on, but there is a scarf that can transform immediately into a face covering and even into a pretty headband for when this is all over. The masks are becoming a fashion trend with custom designs, a variety of materials, and even coordinated sets!

SOCIAL DISTANCING: This can be tough on you social butterflies out there. We humans are social creatures, hence the customary shaking of hands, light hug, or cheek kissing. All that is out except for household members (I know, you want the house to yourself again, but that is the next paragraph).

  1. An actual phone call can do wonders. It is not meeting at your favorite place for dinner and drinks, but those rituals are the setting for conversation – not a requirement for the conversation itself.
  2. Try a pen pal – seriously. There is even an app for that here. You write actual letters, and it takes time to send and receive – though still faster than snail mail. I have at least one person on each continent with whom I regularly exchange letters. I am learning about new cultures and the state of things around the world from at least one person living it. I have been in isolation for a long while now, and those letters have helped me feel connected to the world again.
  3. Video chat. This is widely available and very popular. It is as close as you can get to an in-person get together. We humans are wired to look for facial expressions and body language, and this technology helps fulfill that. (Also it is a chance to show off Kitty – you’ve at least thought about it).

OUTINGS:Yes, we need to get groceries, go to the doctor, gas up the car, go to the vet, and myriad of other necessary things. We also may need to get away from our children or spouses for just ONE hour (or day or week – maybe a month). Minimizing outings does not mean stay home indoors and be locked away.

  1. Go for a walk or even a drive. My best solitary time is in the car with the radio blaring all by myself with no one to complain about my music. Walking is good exercise, and the act of leaving the house, however you choose to do so, makes a difference.
  2. When eating out, have a backup plan. Some restaurants are following limited capacity guidelines. Others are not. If your first choice is packed in like sardines, go to choice two. Keeping a decent social distance is almost impossible in a crowded restaurant or bar.
  3. Use off hours to shop if possible. The grocery store at noon on Sunday is not the best time to shop if you can avoid it. As well, I have found that when stores are less busy, it is very easy to strike up a good conversation with people who work there and other shoppers. This is a nice way to get our needed social stimulation and get something else done at the same time.
  4. Sit outside if possible. Even if you are not feeling well and have to be home, sitting outside when the weather is nice can make you feel better. I have watched the sun rise when I could not sleep. I have sat out at night listening to the crickets. I was able to get outside, get fresh air, and, even when I felt my worst physically, the change of scenery definitely helped mentally.

It seems like this does not have much to do with our sugar babies, but it does. These are unprecedented times, and we have to make a lot of adjustments that may feel like a real pain, but are actually pretty easy and definitely necessary. Keeping your stress level managed will keep Kitty a lot more stable. I have never had a cat that did not acutely respond in some way to stress in the household. For a sugar Kitty, this can throw off their numbers, make you more stressed, and on and on we go down the spiral. We need to be vigilant about COVID-19 to avoid physical illness, but we must also meet our social and mental health needs. In order for Kitty to thrive and have their best possible life, we need to be able to provide it by staying healthy all around.

I highly recommend joining the Feline Diabetes Support Group on FB. Their chat function may also lead to friendships and some of that much-needed social stimulation.

*Shipping Update: Things are moving! Some vendors are practicing social distancing so it may take a little longer to get items shipped, but things are showing up, even international mail.