People globally are facing new day to day challenges in the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, people are taking on personal growth and staying connected from unexpected places. Originally published June 2020.
The COVID-19 outbreak has been a significant concern across all demographics around the world. Besides being cautious about health and spreading the disease, people all over the country have had to adjust to having extra time to themselves because of school and jobs shutting down. Coronavirus, as well as racial tension, have made this year a very stressful time for American citizens.
With the country being under quarantine for almost three months, many people are finding creative ways to occupy their time. Whether starting a garden, taking care of their families, or working on art, many people turn the negativity of restriction into positive progression.
For Ashley Olivo, quarantine has allowed her more time to become more personable with her garden. She is starting with various selections like lavender, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and sage. Olivo's journey with gardening was planted at a young age. She would watch her grandmother tend to her garden.
"I would see her talk to them (plants) and would see how much they would flourish because of the love that she gave them," Olivo said as she displayed her sage drying on her patio.
"I've been lucky that the "green thumb" has been working for me."
Sage is commonly used for its medicinal properties of cleansing both the human body and energies in a space.
For Olivo, it's almost symbolic of how gardening has played a role in her life since the outbreak. She also has been growing her vegetables and herbs for her cooking.
"Gardening feeds you spiritually and brings you a peace of mind...you can transmute negative energy that you're feeling to the plants," Olivo said.
"Food from planting also tastes fresher...the potency of the herbs are more profound."
Olivo also has short-term plans to sell plates of food using her grown foods, sell her sage sticks, and make skin products. Although many people have seen quarantine as a burden, Olivo has been using the extra time to better herself.
"I've definitely learned that I have a lot of things to work on...we all do," Olivo explained.
"It's a never-ending process to strive to become a better person."
Explaining the world to a toddler is not an easy task for any mother. But, with the uncertainty of an outbreak and being under quarantine, the task could prove to be even more difficult. Besides the endless amount of questions, you have to do everything within yourself to provide a better life for your offspring. For Domenica Rosero, that was the responsibility that was given to her.
Living with her boyfriend, Darius, the young couple had to adjust to being under quarantine with their two-year-old son, Dario, who was unprepared for a task.
"I was mostly concerned about not having food or toiletries," Rosero explained. "It was tough explaining why we couldn't see other family members or play with other kids."
To keep spirits up at home, Rosero had to stay creative with staying preoccupied during quarantine.
"I've been trying to get better at cooking...with restaurants being shut down; I wanted to try bringing restaurant food to my home cooking," Rosero said. "We've (Darius and I) been getting more toys for Dario and watching TikToks," shares Rosero
"It's good having something to laugh at during quarantine."
Rosero has been taking extra steps to ensure that her family stays healthy during quarantine with the virus flying around.
This includes using elderberry syrup and sea moss to strengthen the immune system and give her toddler iron, calcium, and protein for his health. Mental health-wise, she has been staying in contact with friends and family during these times to keep her mood up.
"Whenever I feel bored or lonely, I've been talking to family and reaching out to friends," Rosero explained.
"We're all going through the same experience, so it's been a little bit easier to relate to others."
Throughout the quarantining, Rosero has a greater appreciation for the little things in life.
"Things are getting a lot better now," Rosero said. "I took Dario grocery shopping for the first time in months, and he really enjoyed the trip...it was good having him outside again around people even with social distancing."
With COVID-19, quarantine has been the perfect opportunity to make corrections to one's personal life. For Jazmine Morales she has been using the extra time to adjust her goals and daily routine.
"I learned that I owed myself a lot more alone time...I now have peace with myself," Morales explained.
"My focus is a lot different since not seeing everyone every day. I care less about what people think about me."
Before quarantine, the South El Monte native currently living in San Francisco hosted art shows for District Productions. Celebrating the unique human capacity of artistic expression, District Productions (@district.productions) also hosts concerts and pop-up shops in the San Francisco area.
"We're trying to do more (social media) live shows and other things to keep it [events] going," Morales said. "Trying to keep things going however we can."
Besides working on her art, Morales has also been using quarantine to cleanse daily aspects of her daily routine.
"The first month (or quarantine), I did a social media cleanse...it took a lot," Morales said. "I also did a juice cleanse...a mind and body thing."
Morales also has been adjusting to quarantine by working out and making healthy lifestyle changes.
"I do not like running. A friend told me about Chloe Ting. She does short workout videos that I'll do once a week, which has been good so far," said Morales.
"When the "munchies" hit, I've been buying healthy snacks."
Morales has also been taking advantage of quiet time while under quarantine, as well. Living with her partner, Esteban, the couple has been taking measures to give each other space when it is needed.
"We respect that one of us may need alone time. Let each other know when we need that," Morales explained. "I'll go to my room and take naps, painting, drawing. Also journaling again."
Although COVID-19 has been an inconvenience that has affected everyone around the world, taking advantage of the time to become a better version of oneself is the best remedy at this point.
With states starting to open up more from quarantine, strides that are being made will help ensure that we can come back to school and jobs stronger than before.
With a healthy mindset and a plan of achieving personal goals, we all have the ability to become an improved version of ourselves once the world reopens again.
You can find Ashley Olivo on Instagram @Ashleolivo.
You can find Jazmine Morales on Instagram @Jaz_Moralez.
You can find Domenica Rosero on Instagram @Sol_infinto.
Photo credit Curtis Gaines III and Jazmine Morales