Our New Normal, For Now At Least
So we are basically a week into the more serious measures to contain COVID-19 including staying at home, distancing ourselves from others, restricted access to restaurants, etc. I already work from home, so that part of it hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for me, but the other stuff is already making me a little squirrelly. And while I have a lot to be thankful for and really have very few complaints so far, today I felt like I needed to organize some thoughts and make a list of things to keep in mind since we could all be living like this for several weeks to come.
Once I started putting it on paper, I thought that it might be helpful for others as well, so here are my thoughts:
Move! Thankfully, my workout routine has not been disrupted at all, since for the past 2 years, I have been working with Martin of M’agine Fitness via Messenger 3 times per week. If your gym has been closed, or you are self-isolating and not able to get to your gym, contact Martin about working out at home. He has some great ideas even for those of you with very little space and/or no equipment. What I DO have to work on is moving on those non-workout days, as I would normally do a lot more walking than I have this past week. As long as we stay 2 metres/6 feet away from others, there is no reason we can’t get outside.
Fresh air. Somewhat connected to my point above, we need to get some fresh air on a daily basis. If you can’t go for a walk, consider sitting outside on your front step, back patio or balcony and breathe deeply. Let the sunlight hit your face.
Sleep. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, and these past few weeks I have found myself staying up later and later, and then sleeping in. It’s not a good pattern. For those of you now working from home, you may find yourself doing the same, since maybe you don’t have to be “in the office” at any particular time. I think it’s important to stick to a regular sleep schedule so that once life gets back to normal (whenever that may be) it won’t be another big adjustment for us. And make sure you are getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. It is important for the health of your immune system.
Eating. Try not to exist on junk food, caffeine and alcohol. I realize these are anxious times and these things make us feel good in the moment, but long term, they will do us no good. As we could be in this situation for several weeks, we need to be fuelling our bodies with nutritious food, not refined sugars and empty calories. And since the refrigerator is always “right there”, we are probably snacking more than usual. So when you do make that visit to the grocery store, hit the produce section for fresh fruits and vegetables. Try some new recipes. Cook with your kids. Have a relaxing, sit-down dinner with the whole family.
Personal contact. If you live alone, make sure you are reaching out daily to friends and family. Even if you don’t live alone, keep in touch with those you aren’t able to visit, especially those who live alone. And rather than just a text, give them a call so they can hear your voice. Or even better, a video call so they can see your face!
Boredom. This is a big one, but this is time where we can tackle all those things we always say we don’t have time for. Clean out the closets, kitchen cupboards and storage areas – it is spring now, so get going on that spring cleaning. Start up or finish that arts & crafts project that you put down months (or years) ago. If your kids are at home, maybe you can teach them something about your hobbies and hidden talents. Read that book you’ve been wanting to read. Take an online course. If you are an artist or creator, use this time to hone your craft or start creating something new. Clean up your computer files and emails, update all your phone apps, delete the ones you don’t need, and organize your paper files, shredding the old stuff. Work on your tax return. Work on stress management techniques such as meditation or deep breathing – this will help you now with the anxiety of the unknown, and later when you get back to the normal day-to-day busyness of your life.
Keep yourself, loved ones and neighbours safe and healthy by following the guidelines issued by the health authorities. Avail yourself of the various sources of assistance being offered if you need it. If this helps at least one other person, it was worth sharing. I am determined to come out of this “situation” organized, focused on what I want out of life, rested, nourished, energized and having learned something – about myself and about the world.