Social Distancing Encourages A New Way of Life

By Undria Wilson | Special To Corridor News

As the country begins to gradually transition back to a sense of normalcy, the things we accommodated in our lives will change forever. Since March, Texas, along with the rest of the world, has entered a new way of “normalcy.”

As of April 2020, the unemployment rate for Texas is 12.8%, the state’s worst-ever monthly unemployment rate was 9.2% in November 1986, as Texas reeled from the last big oil bust.

With income uncertainty, many Americans have filed for unemployment and rely on the stimulus check to pay bills and purchase essentials. But what happens when that still may not be enough?

As Texas continues to reopen, Gov. Abbott wants to encourage all Texans to do their part to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by following best practices like social distancing in public, wearing a face covering, and washing hands regularly.

“Texans always get the job done, especially when we work together. As we safely open up our state, we need to unite as one Texas to contain COVID-19 and to get Texans back to work,” said Abbott.

Another 134,381 Texans filed for unemployment during the week of May 21, according to the Texas Tribune.

“Since the week ending March 14, just shy of 2.1 million Texans have filed for benefits. This week’s claims are down 5.1% from the week ending May 9, when just over 140,000 Texans filed for unemployment. Across the nation, 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week,” the Tribune’s staff reported.

Others have used this time to practice or create hobbies that have developed into small business ventures to generate extra income until quarantine restrictions have subdued.

While most consider quarantine and social distancing a major inconvenience to large retail chains, businesses, and restaurants, the perspective of not having outside ventures has allowed some people to utilize social distancing to a better advantage.

For Americans that were able to work from home, the social distancing aspect brings on another complicated dynamic of work-life for those who were able to still work.

“My husband and I have been working from home since March and we had a hard time at first. It’s hard to separate home and work life and for the first few weeks, I would work from the time I woke up until it was time to go to sleep. We ended up taking work emails off of our phone and only keeping our work laptops open during “normal business hours”, said business owner Kaylei Mendenhall, “this helped separate work time from “us” time.”

“I’ve launched a business that I’ve put off for almost two years. I was idle, walked into my home office, and just went for it! I’ve been busy and smiling ever since,” states self-employed business owner, Felicia Hickman, who is launching a brand that is still in the making.

“Working from home, I have been able to write more and build on my craft as well as thinking about my next venture. Applying for my Ph. D. program and working on finally getting my book published,” said educator Sean Hembrick.

In addition to creating new hobbies, another way creatives in media have continued to stay on trend and refresh their skillset is by taking free online courses via media-based companies such as HubSpot Academy, Harvard edX learning platform, LinkedIn, and, just to name a few.

“I’m using HubSpot Academy to get a certification in the ins and outs of content marketing,” said Jaleigha Jones, a recent college graduate.

Although the pandemic has caused a disruption in everyday life, it can be viewed as a distraction to the things we take for granted in life.

We are used to working long hours of work to make ends meet and provide ourselves and our loved ones with luxuries; sacrificing valuable quality time that could never be replaced.

Perhaps quarantine has affected our economy and does carry a negative stigma, but how has it helped other areas of our lives?

Within American culture, we are taught to strive for the American dream — whatever that may mean in terms of personal views on success and luxury.

But we have not evolved to accommodate our work life and personal life with a perfect balance.

Since the opening of the state, the guidelines of social distancing are still being implemented and enforced. Major outlets and retailers have strict orders for face masks and sanitization upon entering and exiting the store.

Despite Texas and the rest of the country slowly reopening, it is important that we follow instructions not just for the safety of ourselves but for the love and care of our fellow Texans during this crucial time.

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