The City of Carlsbad is full of amazing, every day people. We’re excited to launch a series of profiles of people in our community who call Carlsbad home and are finding ways of staying connected or inspired during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are their #Care4Carlsbad stories.
There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an emotional and mental toll on people of all ages. Learn how one local teen has embraced this pandemic to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health and self-care by making jewelry.
“Jewelry making, as well as crafting, have always been great stress-relievers for me since sixth grade and something so important for me and my mom. Jewelry making is extremely soothing and helps me focus and relax.
I just turned 17. I have bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression, so I personally have dealt with a lot. I was definitely very depressed [when the pandemic started]. With quarantine I had a lot of free time. I began making jewelry to cope. I showed my friends, and they said ‘I would buy that.’ So I said ‘Why not? Let’s do it’.
I decided to turn that into a business. Rose’s DIY and Design (Rose is my middle name, my mom’s middle name and my great grandmother’s name) is a handmade business specializing in jewelry and DIY-at-Home Kits with an emphasis on prioritizing self-care and mental health.
Mental health is important to me, so what I try to do is have my products emphasize mental health with words such as love, confidence, pride, relaxation. My bracelets are Morse code where the beads are different colors for dots and dashes, all to spell out love, faith and family.
There’s a stigma against mental health, so I’m passionate about it and try to do what I can.
My grandfather passed away from COVID and I know quite a few people who have had it. I’m missing my family, but one way I’ve tried to make up for that is to stay in touch through social media. I’m creating a different kind of community too and connecting to the small business online community.
I definitely have the belief that busy is better. I love being busy. I thrive on chaos to some extent. So when I had free time I figured I might as well do something that’s soothing for me and makes a difference.”
-- Daylyn, Carlsbad resident
Meet Rachel Hutman, who says her family has used this time to focus on teaching her son new things while connecting with family on the East Coast.
“During this time, we’ve been a lot more involved in my son, Cameron’s, schooling. He’s 9-years-old and was struggling with school work and with reading. But I give credit to my husband whose been working closely with him. He set up a reading session every day with his mom, so our son gets 30 minutes reading a day with Grammy back in Maryland. He’s getting to spend time with his grandma and to practice reading. He is doing so much better!
We also really leaned into nature and being outside. We renamed last summer as the summer of surfing. We try to get out there almost every day. Our favorite spot is Terramar Beach. It has a nice break and cliffs. Cameron was struggling to learn how to surf, but now he’s doing really well. He loves it. He’s having fun too, and now we can all go together as a family.
We’ve found different ways to exercise. We found new bike trails in Carlsbad. I texted friends and got recommendations about trails we didn’t even know about that were just around the corner. Carlsbad is a wonderful place to live. My heart goes out to people who live in the cold. We have family back in Maryland, and they couldn’t enjoy the outdoors like we could.
My brother had a stroke at the beginning of the pandemic and is still in a rehab facility. It has never been more real to me not to be able to touch your loved one. It was almost more painful to see him behind glass and know we can’t hug. The power of human touch – I will never take it for granted again.”
— Rachel, Carlsbad resident
Ariel and her son Fin have used the time at home this year to explore the city’s trails and connect with neighbors.
“As a family of four, we found that the quarantine was a good time to find trails that we’ve never been on before. It’s funny because we’d drive by them so many times but never stopped to check them out. Now it’s fun to be out with our family to hike and be in an open area. Our son is active so keeping him busy all day can be challenging. We’re so happy and stoked that parks reopened too, especially my 2-year-old and 7-month-old!
During the lockdown we connected with people in a new way. People were going through their garages and instead of throwing things away, they would think of us and ask if we needed it. Like some people had to upgrade their kid chairs and table to a big girl desk for distance learning so my family received the kid set for free. It’s the perfect size for my son to eat at, draw or play. We’ve also been going through our closets and giving stuff away for free.
We’re also grateful for opportunities to still be safe and have fun. When my son was 1, I always took him to the library for baby toddler time. With COVID, that had to stop, but my husband said the library is doing alternative activities like art kits to bring home for the kids. I like that people are still being creative and doing something that I would never think about.”
– Ariel, Carlsbad resident
Finding inspiration during COVID-19. For our next community profile highlighting Carlsbad residents and their stories, meet Kylie and her daughter Harper.
“The first week schools closed down and we were in quarantine, my family started Friday Family Movie Nights. My husband and I strung Christmas lights in the living room, popped popcorn, made cotton candy, printed out homemade movie tickets and even hung a curtain to walk through. We knew we wanted to make the best of our family time and also make this as fun as possible for our 7-year-old. As we started finding the positive in this uncertain time our Friday Family Movie Nights have become our event that we all look forward to every week.
I posted our movie nights on social media and my friends and I started sharing movie, snack and candy ideas. We also like helping our local Carlsbad restaurants so we’ll order take-out to go along with our movie nights. I started showing classic things from my childhood like ‘The Goonies’ and it’s been a hit!
Life has still been hard at times. I’m a local birth doula and childbirth educator and I attended my last hospital birth on March 14. Hours after I left that birth the hospitals stopped allowing doulas to support families in-person. Thankfully I was able to support two more home births virtually before my family moved to ‘plan B’ and I stopped working to begin homeschooling my daughter from March to September. We transformed my outside office into a mini school room and tried to mimic a day at school as close as possible. She’s now in a hybrid model and the support from teachers has been amazing.
Our family is continuing to find the happiness in the time of this pandemic. I personally realized I was ‘burning the candle at both ends’ and was not taking time for my own health and hobbies. But we are keeping our hopes strong for an end to this.”
– Kylie, Carlsbad resident
For our next community profile highlighting Carlsbad residents and their COVID stories, meet 15-year-old Sophia, who used this time to channel her creativity into a fantasy adventure book.
“I’ve always been interested in fantasy and adventure, and it’s most of the books that I read. The books are really good, but I felt like I needed to do more and create my own reality. I started writing my book a couple of years ago as my own way of escaping reality but stopped because I got busy with school.
Then when quarantine hit, I didn’t have in-person school anymore. I especially needed an escape so decided to finish my book and see where it goes. My main creative hours are from 11 p.m. to about 2 or 3 in the morning so without having to get ready for school, I could stay up without worrying about being super tired the next day.
My book is called ‘Ripple’ and it’s about 310 pages long. My main character is Rose Jasen whose twin brother dies in a freak accident. She starts having these visions of a world outside of Earth, and she must defeat the main villain, Yesterday. I feel really good about finishing it and have shared it with friends and family for feedback. I’m trying to find an agent to get it published. I’d love to include a map of the world at the beginning of the book.
My brother and I are two years apart, and during quarantine I totally expected us to fight more. But we’re getting along and like playing video games together or going on bike rides. But I definitely miss my friends. I am a very social person and just met new friends in my freshman year of high school. I look forward to getting through classes so I can finish the year on a good note and eventually reconnect with all my friends in person.”
– Sophia, Carlsbad resident
Finding inspiration during COVID-19. For our next community profile highlighting Carlsbad residents and their stories, meet Elizabeth, who was outside in her front yard in the Barrio.
“My front lawn has been a safe space for my family and I to be. My grandkids are learning about the trees, helping me clean the yard and pulling weeds. We’ll bring an umbrella or a big blanket outside and eat and play. I’m fortunate that I retired in 2019 so I don’t have to go to work. But I’ve been inspired to be more available for my family and help them get through this, too.
My own little word for inspiration during this time is “imua,” which means “forward” in Hawaiian. I lived in Hawai’i for many years and grew to have an affinity for their culture. My other son, daughter-in-law and grandson still live there. Even though I’ve lived in Carlsbad since 1990, there’s something about that word that has stuck with me – to encourage me to keep moving forward. We’ve all been through tough times. I have my own share of stories, but this is my go-to word in hard times. It reminds me to put one foot in front of the other. I can’t go back, but I can start again, if I keep going forward.
I love the connection and closeness we have as neighbors in the Barrio. If I’m going to the store, I’ll ask my neighbors and I ask each other if we need anything. As a community, regardless of how we feel about politics, we must stick together. We have to keep each other safe and do what that takes because we are all worth being respected and cared for.”
– Elizabeth, Carlsbad resident
Meet Jordan, who was shooting baskets by himself at Poinsettia Park and has found consistency in a healthy routine.
“I moved from Carlsbad to Tampa Bay and lived there until COVID hit. I lost two jobs in the service industry when this whole thing happened and had to move back in with my family here in Carlsbad. They’ve been extremely supportive and helping me get back on my feet. I was able to get my old job back at Jimbo’s too and it’s a good work environment. I believe in health, natural and local food and taking care of your body.
Before COVID, I didn’t play basketball consistently, even though basketball has been in my family and I played when I was younger. I wanted to go pro but I had some bad injuries in high school. Now I’m back to playing about an hour and a half, six days a week. Between eating healthy and playing basketball, I’m getting my mind and body right. It has helped me focus on my health and routine. It makes me feel consistent and I think it’s made me be a more efficient person.
Unfortunately, I’ve said had to say no to others who want to play a pick-up game. It’s definitely been hard and it’s not like I don’t want to, but it’s my way of making sure I don’t spread COVID.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been more engaged with the city. I called the city earlier in COVID when nobody could play basketball. I was like, ‘Hey I just need something to do in this pandemic and I'm losing my mind. Is there any way you could even put half the hoops back up?’ I got a call back from the city saying they’re looking into it and three days later, they put the hoops back up. It made me feel more like I’m a part of a community that cares. I’ve lived all over the country but interacting with Carlsbad has made me think about community government and engagement in a different way.”
– Jordan, Carlsbad resident
Meet Meghan and learn a little more about what’s kept her grounded during this time.
“I’ve been surfing for 11 years. I love the tranquility of it and the ability to connect with the water. I never get the same session twice, which I love. Carlsbad beaches are the best.
During COVID, every morning I’ve been taking walks through neighborhoods I’ve never been before. At this point, I’m up to walking 6-8 miles a day and listening to podcasts about what’s happening beyond Carlsbad. I’m still feeling connected to where I live being safe in my own community but still learning about what’s happening in the world. It’s been my sanity check for the last 8 months.
This week I’m feeling optimistic and thankful. I’ve been able to have my job during this time and am developing as a traffic engineer professional. I was intimidated by the idea of working and living at home and those blurred lines, but I’m really proud of myself. I can tackle challenges ahead. I’m realizing this isn’t forever and I’m trying to make the most of it.”
– Meghan, Carlsbad resident
Meet Nazila, who sees the value of finding support for herself so she can support others through her work.
“I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and am supporting a lot of people through the group practices that I’m a part of. There’s a great need for therapists right now and it’s been challenging. I’ve had to learn to say no. I’ve also recognized that I need more support than usual right now. As a therapist, I need to receive my own help and encouragement so I can continue to support others. I’m finding that through morning meditation, online groups, my own teachers I rely on and my partner is also a great support. He encourages me.
I’ve lived in many different cities and traveled a lot, but one of my favorite places is along Highway 101 where I can take my two dogs out. We live off Cannon and the wooded areas around us are beautiful. There’s always some kind of trail nearby. I feel safe here.
My partner and I both had COVID and both recovered well, but it was so scary. My partner had preexisting conditions and he took longer to recover. The mental struggle of it was not worth it. I know at some point, we got tired and weren’t wearing masks, but don’t let your guard down. Don’t have too much fear, but be concerned enough to take care of yourself. It was scary and not worth getting.
Right now I’m focusing on the positive and feel relaxed. This time has brought me and my partner closer and for us it’s been good. Having the right perspective is the most important.”
– Nazila, Carlsbad resident
Meet Larry and his two kids who are finding joy at local parks and cooking with each other during this time.
“I’ve lived here for 18 years and moved to Carlsbad from the Temecula area. My family and I were already spending so much time here at the beach so we decided to move closer. We go to all the parks in Carlsbad. It’s been a good opportunity to be outdoors and get exercise while having a sense of space and being safe. We can still see people while the kids are getting exercise and stay socially distanced vs being indoors. We’re at Holiday Park today because we just visited some shops and ate lunch.
I’m seeing a lot of our neighbors reaching out to each other in creative social distance ways. We’ll be outside in our cul-de-sac with neighbors and our masks so the kids can have fun together and be in a safe environment. My family had a random act of kindness upon us from a neighbor who sent a gift. It was a really sweet gift with a polite note. My wife was having a rough day and the gift made her cry! Our neighbor made her whole day. It’s things like that that make a difference. I’m seeing people just do their best to be supportive and safe.
Adjusting to life during COVID, our family has been cooking at home and looking up new recipes. We try to incorporate a few vegetarian dishes in during the week to balance it out. The kids really enjoy pizza so we’ve been making our own pizza at home. It’s fun to get the kids involved. My wife and kids like the more traditional toppings but my go-to toppings? Jalapeños, black olives and Canadian bacon.”