VOICES OF CORONA--Kristen's story

May 28, 2020

VOICES OF CORONA--Kristen's story

Kristen Sheft
photographer, Kristen Sheft Photography
Nashville, TN

Stay-at-home status:
I’ve been quarantining with my immediate family since March 16. Last week, our safer-at-home order was lifted, so the city is starting to reopen in stages.
What are the hardest challenges you’ve experienced during lockdown?
Honestly, I’ve experienced every possible emotion over the last two months. As soon as lockdown began, I started experiencing twitching in my legs, which quickly evolved into muscle cramping, insomnia, and joint pain. After a few hospital stints, multiple neurologist and rheumatologist appointments, and several anxiety attacks, I was officially diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect your kidneys, joints, and lungs. That was hard, especially given how isolating quarantine can be.

On the photography side, all of my spring and summer weddings got postponed or canceled, so I quickly had to pivot and come up with a new business model. After taking a month-long break, I started doing socially-distant “porch-traits.” Safely taking photos of families at their homes allowed me to do what I love while providing people with quarantine memories. It was actually a lot of fun, and I got to work with so many loving families.

Any blessings, glass-half-full moments? 
Honestly, I’m weirdly grateful for these quiet moments at home. During the everyday rat race, I don’t get to see my family a lot, as I’m usually working or traveling. Over the last few months, I’ve found peace in the new routine of going on walks with my sister, not wearing makeup, and watching old 90s movies with my mom. If anything, corona virus has taught me to slow down, take a deep breath, and express gratitude.

What are you watching?
Prior to quarantine, I had never seen The Office. For the last two months, Jim and Pam’s love story has consumed my life, and I finally understand all of the Michael Scott memes, too. I am also obsessed with true crime and just finished Making a Murderer and The Mind of Aaron Hernandez on Netflix.

What are you learning?
I am obsessed with everything on MasterClass. There are so many great design and photography resources on there. I also love Muench Workshops for Photoshop and post-processing tips.

Any new habits you’ve picked up?
I started drinking coffee every morning. I hate coffee, and I hate how much I rely on it to get me through a long day of editing. I also am eating a lot of takeout.

Any random life hacks you’ve discovered? 
Taking time for yourself is not selfish [insert clapping hands]. There is no shame in putting your phone away, taking a break from social media, or driving around a Tennessee back road to decompress. Mental health should always take priority over everything else, and sometimes we all just need a break.

Favorite quarantine snack?
I can’t stop ordering chocolate molten cake from Chili’s on Postmates. I also love their broccoli. (They don’t pay me to say this.) It’s a weird combination, so please don’t judge.

Favorite way to move your body?
Running! It’s easily the most therapeutic part of my day (and the only time I can listen to a podcast, jam to some 80s Bruce Springsteen, or people watch without interruption.) When lockdown is over, I’m also looking forward to playing in my softball and volleyball leagues.

Any favorite scripture or quote you’re loving?
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”

Teddy Roosevelt was obviously shaking off the haters in 1910.

You can find connect with Kristen on Instagram at: @kristensheftphotography + @kristensheft

Janel’s Disclaimer: We know that the current global pandemic, COVID-19, has brought devastating and irreparable loss. This blog series in no way attempts to capture the scale and scope of this tragedy, but instead aims to share individual stories of everyday women living under various stages of stay-at-home orders across the country.

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