Yes, we are all stressed, worried, scared, unsure, and under duress. We are all in uncharted waters here, and the future is so unknown, as it always has been (let's keep that in mind), but we must remain hopeful.
Spring has finally arrived, mostly...I think. But, it WILL truly arrive, and the sun will shine brighter and stronger, and the earth will warm, and new life will begin. New life will begin, and we will all begin with it. That's what I like about this picture..that even under intense pressure, you can actually still smile. There are many things to smile about. When you're out there picking up supplies for yourself, or a neighbour that can't leave the house, or might be too frightened to do so, smile at the people you see. A smile really is a form of communication. It tells others that you are friendly, and approachable (but only as close a 3 meters for now), and that you are sharing their experience. We are all sharing this experience together right now. A smile can alleviate so much fear, can express that you care, you understand and that even though you can't get close right now, you can bridge that space between you and a stranger with the most universal greeting there is - a smile.
Social distancing is still the best method to prevent transmission and staying at home unless you absolutely need to go out can really help stop the transmission of this virus. But, staying at home is stressful because that means we can't go to work, we can't go to the gym to get exercise that will help alleviate some stress, and we can't visit with friends to vent our fears and frustrations...there are so many things we just can't do right now, and along with financial fears, health fears and the fear of what is waiting for us down the road, can really increase the pressure and strain we are all feeling, and create even more stress. So, how can we all reduce our stress?
Get plenty of rest. 8 hours, minimum a night. I know, personally how hard that is when your brains won't shut up and you're fill with anxiety...but on the bright side..if you don't get a good night's sleep, you now have the opportunity to nap throughout the day..like when you're kids are napping. Put on a really boring documentary or one of those tv channels that sell crap..I can't remember what that channel is called but it ALWAYS put me to sleep.
Eat healthy. Even though we need to have non-perishables in our pantry, they don't all have to been canned. Rice, noodles, peanut butter, dried beans and legumes (which are high in fiber so BONUS), nuts, dried berries and fruits, quinoa and other whole grains and many other dried goods that are healthier options for your pantry. But the best food right now is lots of fresh fruits and veggies, raw, as well as anything home made from scratch. There are a number of local businesses that offer healthy premade meals, @macrofoods being only one of them. If you need to order in, then try alternatives to regular pizza by getting a cauliflower pizza, with a side salad :)
With the gyms closed, now is a great time to get outside..nowhere crowded of course, but we there are many city trails available to the public that are safe, clean, and a nice break from the confines of your house. If you really can't get out there, try online workouts. Plenty of gyms are offering online training and coaching, and social media is stuffed with all kinds of trainers offering classes via facetime, zoom, and other social media platforms. Or, you and your besties could host a Facebook live, or IG live, and everyone work out together. Personally? I follow Psyche Truth on YouTube and do the yoga workouts I find there. Erica is my absolute favourite!
Talk to someone you love and trust. You might need to text, or message, or even do some face time on your phone, but talk to someone. Sharing your burdens of fear and anxiety will lighten the load, and and allow you to vent your fears and frustrations. But, you'll find yourself chatting before long, laughing, sharing experiences, news, helpful tips, but mostly you'll be sharing hope. We are all in this together. We are all experiencing stress, fear, uncertainty, anxiety and so much more, but by sharing this, we can help each other work through these things. So, talk to someone, and listen to someone, and share you experiences, and share news about where to find the staples that are needed. Try not to share too much about the negative impact this is having, but rather the good things that are happening like communities coming together to help each other, like trading goods for services or goods for goods ( this was the beginning of human trade and economy - the barter system). Share cooking or baking tips, or what you are doing to keep from going stir-crazy while being at home.
Being at home for 2 weeks with little ones is quite daunting. They have great energy and will need all kinds of stimulation, but remember bed time stories? I used to read to my kids every night before bed. It was our last connection of the day, and it was the best part of the day. Sure, they would be in bed soon and I would get a much needed break, but as we snuggled together and I read "Fox in Socks" while the kids laughed at me twisting my tongue over the words, the bond of family was solidified. No matter what had happened during the day, this was our time to reconnect and reaffirm our bond as a family. My kids are adults now so I don't have the same problem parents are facing right now, but if I did have small kids at home, we'd be busy with crafts, reading, and lots of play. Since I wouldn't have to rush to work, or try to do much in a single day, I'd have that chance to play games with them, read a lot, watch some programs with them, teach them a skill or two, and talk. I miss my kids being young because we did have so much fun together, and they kept my mind fresh and open. I'm sure the parents out there are doing all they can to keep the kids busy and happy, and most importantly safe and healthy, and now is a good time to share your tips with other parents who are at home, desperately trying to find fun and interesting things for the kids to do. Share your fun, and your struggles with other parents right now. Grown up talk is just as important right now, so please reach out to each other and help keep each other sane.
This is definitely going to be one helluva storm that we are all weathering. But, as the saying loosely goes "smooth seas don't make a good sailor". As we all head into this storm together, keep in mind, we are all heading in this together. We are all adrift out there, feeling very alone, very scared, afraid of drowning, being lost, or being forgotten, and fearful of what is waiting for us down the road. How long will this storm last? What will happen after the storm has passed? No one really knows how long this will last but what happens after can be determined right now. Now is the time to find each other, and hang onto each other. To pull together as a whole and support each other. Do you see someone floundering? Reach out to them and let them know that if you can help in any way, you will. This is not the time to let others flounder or drown. We must absolutely be reaching out our hands (metaphorically) and grabbing onto each other and hanging on. Now is the time to be the best human being you can possibly be. Now is the time for other big companies to offer help, as Facebook has done, and I applaud them for doing this, and hope other big companies will show their altruism at this time when it is so greatly needed. Now is the time to share what little you have to move the entire world forward, away from selfishness to selflessness. If you have something that can help someone out, please share it. Knowledge, skill, basic supplies, wealth..all of these things can be shared and shared so easily. Even if you don't have a lot of money, you probably have a lot of other things you can share, and in doing so, we, as humans, can move forward to a better future. One that is less hectic, less stressful, less crazy.
I'm going to end this blog by asking each and every one of you to reach out to someone today and see what you can do to help ease their fears, frustrations, or concerns. Let's all be the humans we have been trying to be, and make a difference in someone else's life.
Be safe. Be healthy. Be kind.