“I hardly slept for four days due to wedding stress. I was thinking of the likelihood of me going back to work in May, I was thinking of my healthy 93 year-old grandmother that I really want in attendance, and I was just thinking of the safety of our guests.”
Erin Delaney’s life has been largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She works in the hospitality and travel industry in Phoenix, Arizona, and was temporarily furloughed the last week of March as a result of the pandemic with an anticipated return date around Memorial Day Weekend.
The United States’ Spring break season in March, April, and May is when Erin primarily makes the extra money in tips and overtime to help financially support her through a slower business period in the fall.
She was supposed to be getting married in August, but has been forced to postpone the wedding until a hopeful date of January 2021, since many of her guests were traveling to Arizona from out of town–including her elderly grandmother.
Erin shares her thoughts on Arizona’s relatively relaxed response to the pandemic compared to neighboring California, as well as tips from her resort property’s health and wellness coach on how to maintain a steady routine and keep spirits up during quarantine, below:
How has this pandemic impacted your livelihood?
“I had a decent amount of PTO that I was able to cash in at first to get me through the first weeks of this. Unfortunately now, I am one of the 200,000 Arizonans that are stuck waiting in the backup of unemployment and not receiving anything yet. Lucky for me, I’m living with my fiancee, Bennett, who is a Civil Engineer and is still considered essential so still gets to go to work every day! We are still very fortunate about his work, so we are not stressed about bills yet… I do know this isn’t the case for everyone. Our apartment complex is rewarding residents who are able to pay rent on time by entering them in raffles, but I am not sure if residents are getting evicted due to not being able to afford rent during this time.”
Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future?
“This summer, Bennett and I were supposed to get married in August. The first thing that got canceled was our honeymoon to Aruba. Aruba closed their airport, with the exception for citizens and freight, for an extended period of time to protect the island, which I understand. A week after our honeymoon got canceled, we had our big planning appointment with our wedding venue over the phone. I felt relieved because they told me that if we needed to postpone our wedding, we could transfer to any date of our choosing, at any of the properties they own nationwide, and just pay the difference in date and location.
At that time, our venue was still set on us planning our August wedding. I was so relieved for a few days. Our wedding is local for Bennett and myself, and a handful of our guests. But for most, our wedding is a destination wedding. At first we were thinking we would wait and see if I was going to return to work at the end of May. Our thoughts were if enough people are back to traveling in May, our August wedding should be fine.
About a week later, I hardly slept for four days due to wedding stress. I was thinking of the likelihood of me going back to work in May, I was thinking of my healthy 93 year-old grandmother that I really want in attendance, and I was just thinking of the safety of our guests. That week, Bennett and I took it upon ourselves to postpone to January 2021 with the hopes of that new date working. We don’t know when we will be safe to honeymoon in Aruba, but we are thinking right now of not honeymooning until we can go back. It feels like a giant weight off my chest. I do have a wedding dress hanging in my closet, that is supposed to fit me when quarantine is over…but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. :)”
“Also, my sister is a senior in high school and the second half of her year was canceled. She didn’t to have her senior prom, her last track season as a captain, senior tea, her graduation will be on zoom if anything, and her college orientation is postponed to July, but isn’t signing up yet.”
What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission? Is this how you think the situation is best handled?
“It is really interesting to see how our state is handling everything compared to Washington and California, where our families live. Arizona was late to the game of implementing “Stay at Home” orders, but I’m glad Gov. Doug Ducey hasn’t given in to protesting citizens and is threatening to take away liquor licenses from restaurants that plan to disobey his orders by opening early. Just the other day, he extended our stay at home order through May 15.
Since I’m following the rules of staying home, I like to think that everyone else is as well. There is a mountain park right behind my apartment, and every time I drive past the trailheads, they are overflowing! Cars are parked on shoulders and packed in like sardines. When I go to the store, plenty of people are going in mask-less, and not trying to keep the six-foot rule. When I go for my evening walks around the neighborhood, all of us walkers are doing a good job of distancing with some of us going in the street and giving right of way on the sidewalks.”
What has been your daily routine so far during the pandemic?
“My daily routine is completely out the window. Throughout the first few weeks, I was productive. I was doing a different kind of workout daily and meal prepping and trying to keep the same wake-up and go to bed hours as when I was working. As time has passed, I’ve started staying up later and waking up later. Some days I barely eat, other days I don’t stop eating. Some days I cook great meals, other days I just heat up leftovers. Some days are easy, other days are really hard to find purpose…”
What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?
“To try to keep spirits up, on my good days I try to make TikTok videos. Obviously TikTok can’t solve all mental obstacles through this time. My job has a health coach on property, and she has set up a Facebook page to be able to keep in contact with all associates since we can’t see one another and she does weekly challenges to try to keep healthy. This week’s challenge is all based on our mental wellbeing:
- Do this Daily:
- Take Medications/Vitamins
- Drink 8 Glasses of Water
- Eat at Least 1 Veggie/Fruit Per Day
- Do this 3 Times Per Week:
- Exercise for at least 30 Minutes
- Call/Text/Facetime a Friend
- Do This All The Time
- Give Thanks for Your Life & Your Health
- Be Mindfully Present to….
- A Sound or Song
- A Sensory Feeling
- Something You See
- A Spiritual Practice
Having something like this to hold me accountable makes it much easier to focus on my mental health. And some days, I just get dressed in normal clothes and do my hair just to feel good.”
Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration for everyone going through this together?
“My closing thoughts are that everyone is going through this, but it is impacting lives so differently that it is hard to go through this together. Also I firmly believe that we are not okay as a society until science is proving that we are okay.”
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