Are You In COVerwhelm?

Home from college, the boys nest into the house. Snowing on and off, Christmas fills the air with the feeling of the holidays. But instead of cheer, a nervous energy envelopes us.

Are In COVerwhelm?

No one celebrates. Stockings are stuffed with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The world prepares for the plague, a mishandled flu that's now a pandemic.


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I am so happy to have my boys home with us. And feel terrible that we now treat them like first graders, not letting them out of our home. And this is the necessary reality we live in. They are troopers.

Adjustments Large + Small

It took a few days for all of us to adjust. We now seem to be in a good routine with everyone pitching in to cook, clean, and organize the homestead. That adjustment did not happen organically. Many negotiations and family meetings ensued before we effectuated our new normal.

Toasting Troubled Times

Last night we sat down to a huge dinner that Baby Pantry prepared from start to finish and I toasted our little clan, “Sometimes y'all drive me crazy. But there's no one in the world I'd rather be shut in with than the three of you.” It's my truth. Others are not so lucky. They are alone. They don't have enough to eat. This is the truth.


Still as someone with three autoimmune diseases (MS, Celiac Disease, and Hashimoto's) I'm in my own tricky spot. My neurologist is particularly concerned about the possibility of my getting COVID-19, and how it could exacerbate and accelerate my disease process. Regardless, we are all in the same boat, which I call Coronaphobia.

We're Not Socially Distancing

I seek solace in this strange time. Words from my high school buddy Michael Franti ring true, “We aren’t actually “socially distancing,” we are “physically distancing.”


Then I open an email from Baratunde. His newsletter is one I read faithfully. Every time I open it the words I need to see magically appear.

Let's Breathe, But Not On Each Other

Baratunde is a wicked combination of smart and funny. In this newsletter he says, “Let's breathe but not on each other.” Then there is the quote from Shaka Senghor, an absolutely towering American figure. Senghor sent me a signed copy of his memoir a couple of years ago when I was working with a non-profit he ran at that time.

This Is A Moment To Moment Thing

Senghor offers an idea of how we can live in this particular moment:

One of the things that has stuck with me to this day from my moments in solitary confinement is I realize that if I can get through the pain of the moment, I can come out on the other side. And so this is a moment to moment thing, there's gonna be moments when you're gonna feel so overwhelmed, especially parents who have children at home, parents who are caring for elderly, people with loved ones who have been sick, but if you can get through the moment, the pain of the moment, you can come out on the other side. And it's just a moment by moment thing, it's not a day thing. You can't get through the day if you can't get through the moment. Check in with yourself, “hey, how am I really feeling?”

Prolonged Stress Response

I need to hear those words of wisdom because right now, the collective faces tension and pressure. As one doctor said to me, “Even with our immediate loved ones and surroundings safe, everyone is dealing with a prolonged stress response” This is it in a nutshell.

My Corona A Covideo For You

Sometimes it takes a good laugh to make sense of things! Check out the video below, again, another great connect from Baratunde:

How Are Y'all Holding Up?

Oh dear! That video made me laugh out loud! Anyway, how are you holding up in your neck of the woods? What's on your mind today? Leave a comment and let me know. Y'all are my favorite virtual family and I am so grateful for the connection and comments of this amazing community!

Thank you for the good laugh . We all need that, and chocolate too.


44 responses to “Are You In COVerwhelm?”

  1. Hi Elana,
    Thank you so much for this blog. I like the term physical distancing vs social distancing.
    I loved the video – this is the kind of silly humour that will keep us uplifted and laughing as we need extra humour in this time of such seriousness.

    I wish you and your family good health. A term that they started to use at the beginning of the second world war was, Keep calm and carry on. It certainly applies to our situation these day. Kind regards, Chris from Canada

  2. Elana, Elana, we’re waiting and waiting…….. for our promised recipe of…HAND SANITIZER!!!! Cannot wait. The stores shelves art still empty. Thank Youuuuu.

  3. Haha, I just got my box of comfort keto chocolates I ordered last week! Choczero had a St. Patricks day free gift of White Chocolate mint squares free with an order. Any time is a good time for Chocolate and quarantine is an even better time for a large order. I’m in Washington State and in a high risk group like you and many of your followers. I have Diabetes, high blood pressure with mild heart disease and take Enbrel for Psoriatic Arthritis. I haven’t left my apartment for 3 1/2 weeks, although I like staying home so that isn’t difficult for me like it is for other people. My husband is working from home, he works on a highrise construction project in Seattle and there’s still a lot of meetings and other things he needs to do. He no longer works in the field but he manages those that do and also works a great deal in the office. He’s off for at least 2 weeks and his company has VERY generously offered to pay full wages and salaries for all their employees. I know so many others that are going to suffer great financial hardships in addition to the risk of infection or contracting the illness.

    Every day I pray for our country and all her citizens and those around the world that are suffering so much and might not have the resources we’re blessed with. I don’t really listen to mainstream media because they’re so terribly inaccurate and sensationalize everything. I do however read from medical websites like Medpage Today and reports from University of Washington where they’re studying this disease and Kaiser who has begun vaccine trials on volunteers. This is a SARS disease that is much worse than Influenza. It causes Pneumonia in the lowest portion of the lungs as opposed to Influenza which causes Pneumonia in the upper portion of the lung only. The deeper it goes the more difficult it is to treat and recover from. When a patient turns critical, often secondary bacterial and fungal infections can develop. Your body is completely overwhelmed so it kicks your immune system into hyperdrive, which can kill you. It also has the ability to suppress your immune response and turn parts of it off altogether. Once secondary infections start, Sepsis can set in, which has a high mortality rate for anyone, even up to 5 years after recovery. Covid19 also causes the heart muscle to harden either causing heart attack or failure and permanent damage if you survive. It can cause liver damage and wreak havoc on the digestive system as well. They have discovered it can be spread through the fecal oral route, even after a patient shows no sign of the virus from breathe, oral or nasal swabs. I have learned all of this directly from medical professionals that are dealing with it and those that are learning about it. Anyway, didn’t intend to write a mile long comment, but I see tons of misinformation out there and the media is quite clueless. I want actual facts, not hysteria and political stabbing points. Stay well.

    • Lisa, agree! Any time is a good time for chocolate. Thanks for your detailed medical description of COVID-19, appreciate all of the information you shared as well as your critical research. I hope you and your husband stay well and keep me posted :-)

  4. I so CO-mmend your husband and boys for playing by the rules and not trying to side-step them. Common sense and sensitivity (not just law or mandates) needs to guide all of us now, but not all of us have such cooperative friends family members. It is an ongoing battle in my home, with bare bone minimal compliance. Any specific advice, short of moving out or threats, is welcome and encouraged!

    • Susan, love your new word CO-mmend, and yes, I am very grateful to my husband and boys for taking my immune issues so seriously. Not sure how to give advice on this but you ask a fantastic question. Thanks for all of your comments and for being on this healing path with me :-)

  5. I LOVE your word, Overwhelm!! I may borrow it to use in one of my upcoming blog posts. And if I do, will most definitely give you credit!

  6. Elana, Take especially good care of yourself! Thanks for this newsletter of yours. We’re all in this together. The world has never been more united than we are now, and that in itself is extremely special. We have a lot to be grateful for – like the extra time we can take to cook and feed ourselves well, now that we don’t have a commute to work!
    Keep up the good vibes, we all need them now, and you too! xxx

  7. The video was a blast of fresh air!
    We are also in lock down here in Zürich, Switzerland, and my son and I haven’t left the house in almost a week. (we seem to have enough toilet paper hahahahaha). But thank goodness we no longer need to rely on ‘snail mail’ to keep in touch with friends and family. Half my family lives around the world. My older son lives 30 minutes away but is also quarantined.
    Homework (he’s 7) is tiresome…teachers are owed a lot of hugs once these trying times are over. :)
    From across the pond, one family to another, stay safe and strong.
    thank you for your ongoing efforts in helping others

    • Alana, thanks for checking in from Switzerland! We have a stay at home order here in Colorado. Thanks bunches for your kind words! Sending big hugs to you and yours and please keep me posted on how you are doing :-)

  8. Good morning Elana!

    Thank you for the post and laugh. I showed the song for my hubby who is busy in the office. It cheered him up.
    To a small degree we are used to this hand washing, no hand shaking, cause my husband had a heart transplant just over two years ago. When it all started part of me was a little bit glad that people get educated about not shaking hands, because before we would end up seeing all kinds of facial expressions or even comments. But unfortunately this virus is going much further than we would like it to go. There is worry, uncertainly, paranoia. Thankfully in our house just two of us and a dog. And we both are quite sensible. But there are stories out there, one lady recently had very strong chemo and surgery, so she is in the risk group. But her husband had to go to the pub when he heard that they would be shut soon. And he isn’t a bad man, maybe anxiety and stress or denial mixed together produce results like that.
    I’m at home now cause my work is at school. I have loads to do in the garden, trying to ring neighbors, other people I know, pray for them or with them (on the phone). But there would be days I feel very tired, must be a result of stress.
    When I get anxious I keep repeating a verse from psalm 46, verse 10 ” He says, ‘be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth’. After repeating it few times peace comes back quickly.
    Thank you Elana so much that you have heart for your readers. Thank you for all the posts here. I am visiting your pantry at the moment cause want to make sesame cookies, noticed you had new posts, that’s how I ended up writing this, hope didn’t write to much. Thanks again. Blessings from Ireland!

    • Giedre, greetings to you in Ireland and thanks for your amazing comment. My heart goes out to you and your husband. There are days when I don’t do all that much and like you, feel very tired. I think it is the stress, worry for others fate, and also the complete altering of our routines. And thank you for all of your words, each and every one means so much to me. I hope you’ll keep in touch and let me know how you’re doing. And thanks again for your thoughtful, heartfelt and inspiring comment :-)

  9. I have read your recent posts and been thinking of you and how having additional health issues will compound this virus. We have a relative that has similar health concerns. I’m going to share your story with her. My heart goes out to you and your family as I bake for the second time this week your Irish Soda Bread! What an amazing comfort food. Luckily, I was able to find a little more almond flour on-line and making your bread for our neighbors to try and spread the love!

    • Jennifer, thanks for your thoughtful and kind comment! I’m so grateful to be on this healing path with you. I hope you’ll keep me posted on how you’re doing and stay safe! Big hugs to you and yours :-)

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