As the coronavirus crisis deepens and many people are retreating to their homes, the Beacon is pleased to announce the rollout of digital subscriptions that will allow readers to access a user-friendly electronic version of the print edition each week. Check The BVI Beacon Facebook page for more information. For now, the print edition will also continue to be distributed as transportation permits. Beaconites urge everyone to stay safe and follow the rules designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Self-care and COVID-19
Stress gets the best of us all sometimes. A Beaconite takes pride in the dedication of her coworkers to deliver timely and informative news of the COVID-19 outbreak and appreciates being able to contribute to that effort. She has to admit though that the personal emotional toll of keeping up with the pandemic is getting high. In one day, she learned that a close friend from Washington State who falls in a high-risk category was running a temperature and being tested; former coworkers have been laid off at United States-based newspapers; and a number of publications at her alma mater have ceased print production or stopped functioning entirely for the foreseeable future. What really left a knot in her stomach was learning that the first case was diagnosed in northern Wisconsin — only a 15-minute drive from where her family lives. The reporter had maintained a false sense of security that they lived far enough inland and in a remote-enough area that this pandemic wouldn’t reach her hometown. But it looks like she might be proved wrong. Times are tough, especially for someone who was just starting to find her groove in a new place. But based on personal experience, the best advice this Beaconite can offer is to not neglect one’s mental health. She found it productive to read several articles about what actions are being taken to fight the spread, offer what comfort she could to her friend through social media, and then watch a movie. Even things as simple as kicking around a soccer ball for a bit or treating herself to a favourite juice lifted her spirits tremendously. The reporter encourages others to similarly make time for such mood-boosting measures — they’re important. Stay smart, stay safe and stay strong.
Over the weekend, as part of his efforts to practise responsible social distancing, a Beaconite rented a car. The idea was to stock up on groceries for about a week — currently, the Beaconite, who does not have a car, stops by the store about once a day to purchase supplies for his next meal — so that he can limit his time in the territory’s crowded stores. And then, with a car at his disposal, he figured he would be able to manoeuvre around Tortola without hitchhiking or taking a bus — his usual modes of transport — which present a greater risk of catching or possibly transmitting the virus. His first time driving in the Virgin Islands was not without incident, as he drove up and doubled back down a partially closed road, and then got briefly lost while navigating from the west side of the island to Sage Mountain National Park. His hike at Sage Mountain, too, had its quirks. For some reason, he decided to wear flip-flops. His left flop broke almost immediately, but given that the trail was mostly soft and squishy, he decided to trudge on barefoot. He did not reach his destination — the peak of the park — but still enjoyed a lovely, isolated walk. He then cooled off in a deserted Lambert Bay, and felt ready to take on another week of covering the economy-shuttering, life-ending, globe-spanning pandemic.
A Beaconite who has self-isolated for several days has realised it isn’t as easy as it seems. Social interaction is very natural, and to deprive oneself of that on a day-to-day basis can have adverse effects. The reporter has had to get creative with her free time: Reading, writing, drawing, yoga, meditation, gardening, home improvement, cooking, and long phone conversations with friends and family have kept her occupied. But being in Nature’s Little Secret, getting outdoors and enjoying what the island has to offer is easy enough. She sees many people doing the same: getting out to the deserted beaches and basking in the sun. What better way to de-stress than listening to the ocean waves, or, better yet, jumping in them?