Every day after work, Ameneh Moghaddam heads out into nature with her husband and teenage son.
"Walking and hiking for our family, that's our biggest joy," she told KQED in a video interview.
Lately, she’s started bringing a camera along on these walks down by the water near her home in Benicia, a town about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco. Moghaddam snaps pictures of whatever captures her interest — birds, waves, flowers. She admits she’s not much of a photographer.
"When I see the actual nature, I feel like it's going to be that beautiful in the picture," she said. "But then I look at the picture, it's like, 'Oh, my God, this is nothing like what is actually outside!'"
Snapping and then posting her favorite photos on social media is one thing that’s helping this nurse practitioner get through her day.
"Since this COVID thing, I'm paying more attention to the beauty of the nature," Moghaddam said. "I feel like the sky is more blue."
As if risking exposure to the coronavirus weren’t stressful enough, frontline health care workers have also been facing high burnout rates from the pressures of taking care of patients in overloaded hospitals and clinics.
Moghaddam is one California nurse who’s figured out creative ways to stay grounded in these challenging times.
Her newfound photography habit stands in stark contrast to her working life. Right now, she’s spending a lot of it in a sweaty tent, sticking swabs up people’s noses.
“So I'm going to put this swab inside your nose for 20 seconds, so put your head back and relax," she said, gently coaxing a nervous patient during one of her recent shifts testing people for the COVID-19 virus. "You can do this."