FQW Carrie Allen

Carrie Allen, of Rutland, explains how she has been coping with self-isolation and what she hopes will come from it after the pandemic is over.

How are you handling self-isolation?As an employee at Heritage Family Credit Union, I am still going into work each day to serve our member. It helps to make my days seem more normal, although many of my teammates are working from home. It’s kind of lonely at times. At the beginning of the “stay at home” order, having so many things I’d been looking forward to that I had to cancel was challenging, and I found my moods fluctuating. But six weeks in, and sunny spring weather visiting my windowsills, I find I have found a rhythm and this has become my new normal.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?I have a very social job and am often out at dinners or networking in the community and every day is unique. I have heard this time referenced like that movie “Groundhog Day,” there doesn’t seem to be much that differentiates the days besides the weather, and I have found that to be a bit challenging. And I miss spending time with people, connecting and sharing our lives. Thank goodness for the digital options like Facetime, Zoom, web meetings, because we wouldn’t be able to function at such a high level professionally or personally for long without them, but it’s not really the same as feeling someone’s smile fill the spaces in your heart, touching someone’s arm in support, and the spontaneous laughter that comes with shared experiences.

What has been the most pleasant surprise?Finding ways to entertain ourselves, I expected to be bored after a while, and to be honest after all the binge watching I was getting bored … which has led back to “old” ways to entertain. We’ve pulled out all the old school games, and enjoyed heated competitions around a deck of cards or reminisced over decades past with Trivial Pursuit. Lots of walking in the neighborhood and seeing neighbors that we never made time to chat with. Laughter over lingering dinners, because we have nothing up next on our agenda. This unexpected slowdown that could have seemed like a nuisance, seems like a holy blessing.

How much of what you’re doing do you think will you carry forward after the pandemic?Obviously, dining out isn’t what it was in the past, and I expect that’s changed in the future, as well. More nights in connecting over games, exercise and laughter. I also think making sure to check on friends and neighbors frequently, even when they may be miles apart will be something that we will continue.

And what do you feel the lessons will be that come out of all of this?This has been a tremendous reminder of what’s really important in our lives, and how little is “essential.” I have focused more energy on family, friends, faith and fitness and the rest has just fallen away. My hope is that when the busy-ness of life gets going again, that these new muscles have been strengthened enough to hold onto that focus.

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