Food for Thought

Everything we do or once did has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Things we took for granted—whether a quick stop at the grocery store, having friends over for coffee, meeting with our book group, traveling to see family, or having large celebration gatherings—none of these are easy or natural now.  As older women, many of us have more concerns than some of our younger family members and friends. Whether our issue is an underlying health condition, living with an extremely vulnerable partner, or our own anxiety about who would be there to take care of us if we became extremely ill, every one of us feels the weight of our decisions about where to go, what we can or shouldn’t do, and whether to socialize and with whom.

Each of us must make our own decisions about what risks to take and which to avoid.  For example, some families decide to keep all social time virtual, even with children and grandchildren. Some women feel that the pain of complete social and physical isolation is greater than the risk of spending time with others. We may choose to get together with family members or friends outdoors wearing masks and social distancing.  Others choose to create a social “bubble” that includes certain friends or family members, even though the people within that bubble may be engaging in different levels of socializing and fewer safety measures. There are no right or wrong answers to these dilemmas.  Working out your own choices is a matter of trial and error.

When going to stores, getting exercise, having maintenance done in the home, or eating out, different women have different levels of concern and anxiety, especially when close to people who are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.  It can be difficult to know whether, when, and how to address someone whose lack of safe behavior is happening in your home or in public settings.  In situations like this, when others’ behavioral choices put us at significant risk, we may be called upon to speak up in situations that we would not have even considered in the past.

Questions to Consider:

  • How have your personal boundaries changed because of COVID-19?
  • What are your primary considerations as you make decisions about socializing and other activities? What boundaries have you established for yourself and with others?
  • What situations make you most uncomfortable and what boundaries have you set?
  • Share a current dilemma you are confronting. How do you think you will handle it?

All rights reserved © 2020 Beth Firestein, Ph.D.                    Wise Women Group