Honestly, the first nine days if quarantine were an emotional roller coaster. There I am, standing in the middle of the living room scanning the room, a confused look on my face, completely forgetting what I was looking for. Day three, lying in bed, heart racing as I wonder if the world was really ending, if my kids were safe, what I could say to talk my 83-year-old dad out of going to get his own groceries. Day seven, denial, it will be over soon, it won’t be so bad if I get it, maybe we will flatten the curve. All along I was working, giving advice around holding a schedule, fielding calls from loved ones, and posting advice about how to calm the nervous system. Although each day I woke up at the same time and followed a rigorous daily program of exercise, work, meditation, yoga, work, food preparation and writing, inside I could feel myself sinking.
What I wasn’t doing was managing my exposure to social media and media alerts. Every time a new COVID measure was announced, or an update on the new numbers in Canada, I would be drawn in, my heart would start racing and I would go into fix it mode. What did I need to do, who did I need to take care of? It took me ten days but yesterday it finally revealed itself clearly; get off the constant COVID news stream. Yes, read the important information daily and then put the phone down. What I needed to know is that I am doing everything I can be doing in this moment in time. Period. I am checking in with loved ones regularly, I am protecting myself and my family to the best of my ability, I am thinking through measures to protect our home when things come in from the grocery store, or the courier. I am feeding my family healthy food and looking after my own health.
Knowing that I am doing everything I can be doing right now; I need to relax and get off the non-stop adrenaline producing media feed. That is going to negatively influence my health. I also have to protect my optimism. My mental approach to life has always been my biggest asset. No matter what is happening in my world, I seem to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and focus on it. For a few days last week, this optimism dwindled and with this, my spirit sank.
Yesterday, I spent an entire day off my phone. I worked out, walked my dog, cooked good food, painted a terrible painting that looks like a blue blob, but whatever! I had a dance party first alone and then with my dog, and eventually with my husband. I had a bath and read a book and fell into the first great deep sleep I have had since the COVID news started coming out fast and strong. Today I have been more immersed in work, but my tank has been refilled, and other than Trudeau’s daily address, I have put my phone down.
As I drive the social change channel of Unsinkable, I, along with a handful of people that work or volunteer with Unsinkable, need to be there to help create content that truly helps people and supports them through the toughest of times. The stories we share about love and loss, about physical adversity and mental tenacity are real stories that are meant to fill our tanks and give us insights that help us be better. I can only do this if I can work through the lens of hope and help, which means honouring my own need to build a positive mindset through self-care and guarding against individuals who seem to want to create a frenzy of fear.
These are times to be alert to danger and take smart action to protect ourselves. They are also times to guard our vitality and optimism, to choose love and kindness, to decide that we want to celebrate and honour all the good news stories in the toughest of times.
Be well my friends,