NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

The new normal: An essential worker’s efforts to stay safe and sane

Cindy Mejia and her dog Coco

Cindy Mejia and her dog Coco

Courtesy photo

            Cindy Mejia, 32, is a Lawrence resident, former NECC student, fitness coach and essential employee during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a buyer for Asahi America.

“They are a plastic valves and pipe company, considered essential because we provide materials to hospitals,” she said.  
Mejia’s employer has taken several precautions to protect their employees during this pandemic. Asahi America closed their building for a week and a half to have it sanitized. Upon reopening the building, they staggered shifts and provided cleaning supplies and materials as well as masks to employees.
“We have all been placed on different floors in order to comply with social distancing,” Mejia said.  
Mejia has always been a social butterfly so having to physically isolate during the quarantine has been a struggle for her. 
“I am a foodie and love trying new restaurants or cafes and right now everything is closed. Also being a fitness coach and not being able to work out or help my clients has been hard,” she said.
Technology has been a helpful tool during this time for Mejia.
I’ve actually posted on my Instagram an at home workout they can follow. If not, we are using Zoom for video chats,” she said.  
As a fitness coach, Mejia understands how important it is to take care of her health and body from the inside out; especially now more than ever since most doctors are conducting virtual visits and seeing only emergencies in person if deemed absolutely necessary. “
I am taking more vitamin C… I’ve upped my zinc intake too,” she said. “My doctors have cancelled all my appointments. I had a dental cleaning scheduled for last weekend and he had to cancel. He said he can only see medical emergencies right now.” 
As has been the case for so many would be travelers, Mejia has had to also cancel several plans including a flight to Texas at the beginning of April. “My friend’s bachelorette was canceled which is next month and I am guessing the wedding will be rescheduled,” she said. 
Mejia and her husband will be celebrating their nine-year anniversary on April 30. Unfortunately, any special celebration for the occasion will have to wait.
“We were going to go to our favorite place in Maine but that also got rescheduled. I guess dinner date at home or bike ride,” she said with a chuckle, “We recently bought mountain bikes.”  
Mejia has noticed she has been spending less money during the quarantine and so is hoping she will be able to take advantage of this silver lining and go away for her birthday in Sept. Assuming things have returned to normal by then of course.  
“Routine” is something that everyone has had to redefine in their lives. “My routine before was work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., then come home, cook, feed Coco (the dog) and by 7 p.m. would go to the gym until 9 p.m. then come back to eat and shower,” Mejia said. “I was always on the go go go. Now I have to learn to take a breather, sit down do nothing. There’s been times I’ve been angry at home because I was so bored or wanted to cry because I miss being on the go.”  
Perhaps some of these new habits will remain long after the coronavirus becomes more manageable. People everywhere are hopefully being more cognizant of their surroundings and their own actions, potentially making them better human beings.
On the other end of the spectrum some might find themselves developing new neuroses.  
“I think Covid-19 is leaving us with PTSD and we are never being normal again. I believe everyone will always be on high alert and freaked out for years to come,” said Mejia, who has been doing her part by staying home other than going to work and to the supermarket.  
“…I make a list first before I buy. I make sure to only touch the items I am going to buy not just touch items and put them back. I have noticed everyone is scared to being next to each other when I am out grocery shopping.” she said.  
Mejia’s dog Coco has been doing his part as well. “…He is a house dog which helps right now. He goes outside as normal, but he is old and lazy, so he doesn’t like walks,” she said. 
How ever stressful and uncertain our current state may be, maintaining a positive mindset and taking care of ourselves as best we can, should prevail as a top priority. 
Mejia is a good example of someone practicing and promoting self-care during this challenging time. 
 “This is just one of those times when things get hard but remember what is down must come up. Take this moment to learn more about you in a deeper level. Learn what makes you happy, how to maintain happy and stay safe and healthy. Health is really wealth,” she said. 
Mejia has been training to compete in fitness competitions since July 2019. Although she will not be stepping on any stages anytime soon, she is undeterred and continuing her training through the COVID-19 pandemic. You can follow her fitness journey on her Instagram page @cindyivettefit.