It's crazy to think that it has only been one week since my last blog post warning of what was to come with this virus. I knew that people needed to start taking the situation very seriously, and in just 7 days so much has happened. The government of Ontario declared a state of emergency as did our own little town of Paris. The restaurants, gyms, salons, and even the local parks are now closed. They are doing everything they can to ensure that people stay inside to stop the spread of this virus.
We have not left our house in nearly 14 days. Chauncey has gone to the grocery store once and we have done curb side take out once, but other than that, we haven't gone anywhere or seen anyone. As I mentioned last week both Mckenna and I had the flu, which very well could have been COVID-19 but we will never know as we were not tested. Due to that horrible flu we have not left our house to ensure we don’t get anyone else sick and also that we don’t get sick again while our immunity is down. I know a lot of people have just started their isolation in the last week, and I want to say welcome to the party! In all seriousness it really does suck, but I am doing everything I can to stay positive and find gratitude in our new daily routine, or lack thereof.
I have a feeling that this social distancing or self-isolation is going to last a minimum of 2 more months. I don’t think we will be back to our normal routines (if we ever really are) until closer to June. When I think about that, I would be lying if I said it didn’t make my chest tighten up with anxiety. I mean 8 weeks? TWO MONTHS? It’s crazy to fathom and we are only on day 14 over here!
Once again I’m not writing this blog to terrify anyone, I mean I’m sure if you are like me you are already scared. Scared for our friends and families and scared for the front line healthcare workers. I look at Italy and my heart breaks and I’m scared that their present is going to be our future. What I’m going to share with you below is what I suggest you do if you too are feeling this anxiety. You can’t control what happens in the world you can only control how you react.
This alone is an act of courage. By staying home you are helping to flatten the curve and limit the amount of people that will need to seek care in our hospitals. You can control your movements, so don’t visit with friends or have them visit you, no play dates for your kids, and only essential outings to the grocery store (order online if you can). I know not everyone can work from home, so if you do have to go to work, please do everything you can to protect yourself and others. Even though we are going a bit stir crazy in our house, we know that by staying home we are protecting ourselves and others. This isolation might be hard but it definitely eases my anxiety.
Face Time or Facebook Video Calls
We Face Time with my parents every day to feel connected with them and to ensure Mckenna gets to “see” her Grandparents who she misses so much. We also Face Time with our sisters and our nieces and nephew. Chauncey had a video call with all his buddies and they shared a beer together. I had a video call with my girls and our baby girls so they could have a virtual “play date”. Is it the same as hugging them and spending time physically together? No. But it’s something, and after every call we feel better. I think the video portion here is key, you want to see their faces. Once again, my anxiety dissipates after I feel connected to my people. I suggest at minimum one video call a day.
This is my favourite thing I learnt from the RISE conference I attended. “Same You New Mood” is what Rachel Hollis calls it. When you are feeling annoyed/angry/full of anxiety put on a fun song you love and get up and dance! Jump up and down and yes look like a fool doing it. Who cares what you look like, literally no one is watching you are stuck at home! We have done this nearly every morning together to start out day, and I have done this every time I’m feeling anxiety creeping in. There is scientific evidence that moving your body physically can change your mood/mindset. Where is the evidence? Google it you have time!
This has been the best part of our daily routine! We either do a big walk around the neighbourhood or we pick a hiking trail and drive to it and explore. We are a hiking family so this isn’t anything new, we just have more time to dedicate to it and more time to plan where we will go. You need fresh air! Spend as much time as you can outside. The weather in Ontario is finally getting warmer and the sun is shining. On the bright side our quarantine happened at a much better time, spring versus the dead of winter!
Home Cooking and Baking
Chauncey loves to bake and it is an activity he shares with Mckenna a lot. They have made something together every few days. It occupies her for a good hour and she loves participating and helping. We have also been spending more time meal planning and cooking new recipes (when we can get the supplies we need from the grocery store!) A cupcake brings my racing thoughts and nervousness way down!
We have made a list of what we’d like to accomplish while we are home. Even though I’m still working, I have a lot more free time being physically at home. Coupled with the fact that many of my customers are working at half capacity or less, I’m not as busy as I was a few weeks ago. So when I’m not answering emails or calls, I’m trying to tackle our list! It gives me a feeling of accomplishment in a day to cross another thing of the big “To Do” list we created together.
There you have it! The six things that are helping me to calm my racing mind and allow me to breathe deeply. Another thing that makes me feel better is this thought, we are all in this together. The entire world has stopped. Maybe we will come out of this more kind to each other? More grateful for our friendships and our families? More grateful for the banter with the random strangers at the checkout line? Just maybe our world will be a more beautiful place when this is all over. We will hustle less and spend more time outside. We will find love and beauty in our everyday activities that used to be so mundane. That’s what I hold on to. I hold out hope that we are going through this difficult time to grow and be better. Growth is never easy.