Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic
It is a frightening time. Not for 100+ years have we witnessed mass closures due to a virus circulating through society. Events across Canada have been cancelled indefinitely. Also, travel is restricted; schools are closed; daycares are closed; attractions are closed; libraries are closed; community centres are closed; sports complexes are closed; and theatres are closed – indefinitely. So, not only is this a precarious time for individual health and safety, it is also a precarious time for our economy. Never have any of us witnessed such a global pandemic.
How does one cope? How does one ease overwhelming feelings of anxiety? How does one alleviate feelings of loneliness due to social isolation?
Breathe. Take deep steady breaths and think not of the days looming ahead and the uncertainty of what is to come, but of the moments that you can fill with memorable activities, and indulge in self-care. Here are some of my ideas – just a few – if you don’t know how or where to begin:
Establish a Morning Ritual. Consider starting your day a little bit differently. Upon waking in the morning, instead of immediately getting out of bed, why not lie still, and pause? Place a hand on your diaphragm and breathe two – three – four slow, down-reaching breaths. Deep breathing increases calm, detoxifies the body, and increases energy. What better way to begin your day?
Create a Daily Routine. We all thrive on routine, whether we are cognizant of this or not. Routines keep us grounded, feeling safe, and feeling in control of our personal lives. And in this time of global pandemic and chaos, having a sense of control is imperative to many of us, so that we may calm our increased anxiety. So, if you have suddenly found yourself unemployed due to COVID-19 (like me), or have had to take time off work to care for your children (due to daycare or school closure), consider creating a daily routine. If you are a parent at home with your children, know that there are a lot of free resources available online (one e.g., Scholastic Learn at Home) to keep your children active and learning. With these resources in mind, I devised a Home-Schooling Routine for my son – a day filled with productive activities and grade-level learning assignments. It is working – so far – and this structure is providing us with a sense of normalcy.
Take Time to Create in the Kitchen. You are told to remain at home, whether you wish to or not. Staying at home is the temporary reality of COVID-19. Instead of begrudging this recommended isolation, why not take some time to get creative in the kitchen? You know that you need to make at least three meals a day, and since things could get repetitive, now is the time to be bold! Create culinary masterpieces to enjoy. There are a lot of fantastic blogs online that offer an array of recipes and step-by-step video instruction, allowing you to create delicious meals to enjoy. I like Damn Delicious. I plan to create some of Chungah’s recipes in my little kitchen. And since my little one is home with me, I’ll have little helper hands to assist me!
Indulge in Your Hobbies. Since COVID-19 has landed many of us at home – day and night – you will definitely need to fill-up your hours with things to do! Being stuck at home with nowhere to go makes for a perfect scenario to indulge in the things you actually enjoy, without the added guilt! Some simple hobbies to enjoy could be needlework, arts & crafts, gaming, or binge-watching Netflix. Since my enforced time off I have been indulging in colouring, jigsaw puzzles, reading, movies, and [of course] writing. Usually things enjoyed during my son’s sleeping hours.
Document Your Memories. You know all those digital photographs? The thousands that live either on your phone, your iCloud, or your hard drive? Why not take this opportunity to create photo albums of your most memorable moments. It can all be done from your computer using Shutterfly, Picaboo, or Blacks, to name some of the online services available. It is a great way to keep you busy and allow your thoughts to traverse down memory lane. And, the end result is a beautiful picture book album of special moments from your life.
Socializing with Social Distance. We are all being encouraged to stay at home – but – we can still socialize! Take advantage of modern-day society and make use of FaceTime, Mesenger, Skype, social media, text messaging, or old-school phone calls and reach out to the ones you love. You can virtually have conversations with your friends and family over coffee and/or tea – virtually!! All while never leaving your home.
Get Outside for a Walk. Seriously. As much as we are being encouraged to remain at home, it is important to get outside for sunshine, fresh air, and that wonderful feeling of freedom. If you are not in quarantine or in isolation for monitoring then I encourage you to get outside! I don’t know about you, but I find it impossible to remain indoors; it is also impossible for me to keep my active 6 year old shut up indoors. But – we are being mindful. We are taking our walks in big open spaces, and keeping away from busy corridors and places. These quiet but lovely excursions outside lift the spirits, clear the mind, and make everything feel a little bit more normal.
It is important to take care of yourself [and your loved ones] during this precarious time. It is also equally important to take care of each other. So whatever you choose to do, do so with respect to yourself and to others, and remember to be mindful, kind, and careful.
Keep well, my friends.
Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Published by Crystal Joy Hall
Featured Image by Anna Shvets