Thankfulness during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Guest Post: Obioma (Obii) Akaigwe

Hello, I’m Obioma (Obii) Akaigwe, Manager of the Auxiliary Services department at USG. Day-to-day I manage several operations at USG that many of you enjoy on campus (in normal times!), including food service, vending, the campus rec center, the copy center, parking & transportation, Mobile Market Mondays and the bookstore. I enjoy enriching the campus experience for students, staff, faculty, and visitors.

Obioma (Obii) Akaigwe, Manager, USG Auxiliary Services

It has been seven months since the pandemic rocked our world – literally! By that, I mean switching from our usual way of life to adopting new ones, like Work-from-Home (WFH) and Virtual Learning (VL). It has been a struggle adjusting to the new norm of doing pretty much everything, from Zoom calls to mask wearing! But, it is what we must do to kick this virus far, far away. As I was thinking about my plans for the holidays under this new norm, I can’t visit or host friends or family (according to the CDC, social distancing helps slow the spread). Well, I did not want that to dampen my holiday plans or spirit, so I started thinking of the many things I am thankful for; I had a long list, but narrowed it down to these few:

• I am thankful for health and life (when many are sick from and have died of COVID-19)

• I am thankful for family and friends (even though we can’t see each other in person just yet)

• I am thankful to have a job (even during a time when many people are unemployed)

• I am thankful for hope (because it helps me look forward to the days ahead when we can once again stay close to one another, talk, smile, and laugh together)

What are you most thankful for? Make your own list and consider these tips for making this holiday season a memorable one.

After reviewing my thankfulness list, it inspired me to make the most of the coming holiday season, and I wanted to share my plans hoping that others may find it helpful. First, let’s adjust our mindset; you don’t need to feel bad and dampen the holiday spirit just because we are socially distancing! We may have made various plans for this time of the year, places to go, people to see – but we must make lemonade with the lemon life has given us! So, with that, I encourage you to try one or more of the following ways to celebrate and make this holiday season just as memorable as the past ones:

1. Turkey drop-off (or bird-drop off) – Instead of gathering, try cooking and dropping off the meals to your family/friends if possible. If you were supposed to host this year, consider cooking the meals, packaging them, and dropping them off on Thanksgiving Day, or the day before.

2. Curb-side or front door pick-up – Similarly, if you were intending to host this year, consider staying at home and letting your guests drive to you to pick up their meals by the curb or by your door as they arrive for pick up.

3. Break-bread virtually – Dine together on a video call – simply set a time, and everyone will gather to eat together just as if they typically would.

4. Reach out those near and far – In addition to our family and friends, it is equally important to reach out to classmates, co-workers, and neighbors to check in and see how they are doing – and maybe, surprise them with a meal, with a turkey drop-off or front door pick-up offer. It is the season to spread joy, love, and hope in the midst of what is happening in the world and we have the power to lift each other up in these difficult times.

5. Burn holiday calories virtually – If you’re looking to get ahead of burning those calories that have yet to be consumed during your big Thanksgiving meal and drinks – join our weekly virtual fitness classes hosted by the USG Rec Center! Classes are scheduled for Thanksgiving week, too!

I hope that sharing these tips bring joy to your hearts and hope in your souls. Consider trying any of the options above this holiday season and let me know how it went, or if you have any other ideas for safe, socially distant celebrations this year, comment below to share. I wish you all a very joyous, cheerful, laughter-filled, safe and healthy holiday!

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