Many of us here in Canada are into week two of the practice of self-isolation as we try to flatten the curve here and around the globe. These are surreal times for all of us and the media coverage, news headlines and non-stop COVID19 updates keep coming our way. It’s 24/7. Honestly, the information is overwhelming, disturbing, anxiety-provoking and ever-changing. Most of us could probably repeat the health advice and phrases from the CDC and infectious disease specialists in our sleep by now. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Disinfect surfaces. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Practice social distancing if you must go out, otherwise stay at home. Self-quarantine if you are symptomatic or returning from abroad. Protect those most at risk. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good advice that we need to adhere to, but WOW! Is this really happening? Sadly, the answer is yes.
Many predicted that the world would be faced with some type of catastrophic event sooner rather later. There are even conspiracy theories floating around as to how this all came about, which I care not to get into now. Nonetheless, the reality that we are all dealing with is mind-blowing, especially for the younger than war-time generations. Life as we once knew it has pretty much halted. For some people, the start of this health crisis was months ago and for us in North America, it’s really only been on our immediate radar over the past couple of weeks. The truth is that it already feels like our new way of restricted living has gone on for an eternity and unfortunately, things are just ramping up in our part of the globe. The statistics of those who have been infected or will be is skyrocketing daily. Somehow though, the earth is still in tact and just as it continues to rotate on its axis bringing us day & night, we have no choice but to continue ahead and face the pandemic head-on. The hope is that there will be an end to all of this madness sometime in the near future whenever that may be, which is the probably the most unsettling part. We will see the light of day again as history has shown us. Until then, let’s hope and pray for prompt testing results, better treatments, suffice equipment and most of all, a vaccine. It won’t hurt for us to also put a collective call-out to Mother Nature to bring us some unusually warm temperatures for spring to possibly help slow the spread of the coronavirus which is predicted to peak here in mid-May. We could sure use the healing rays of the sun physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Now more than ever before.
Obviously, for the plethora of workers who are forced to deal directly or indirectly with the effects of this sweeping pandemic, our thoughts are with you and our hearts ache. We know that you would like nothing more than to be ‘stuck at home’ with your families. Thank you to those of you who are putting yourselves at risk while continuing to provide necessary services for the rest of us. For those who have been laid off or unable to work, these are trying times and asking for assistance is tough if you can even access it in a timely manner or at all. School-aged children through young adults have found themselves suddenly displaced from school with government officials shutting down classrooms, Universities and the like leaving all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, aides, administration) scrambling in its wake to figure out next steps. The stock market and unemployment rates have impacted economies in unprecedented drops comparable to that of the Great Depression in the 1920’s. Investors, corporations, businesses, and retired individuals all worry if they will be able to recover from their losses. Families and friends who are under quarantine are missing each other greatly. Those who had special events planned, i.e. vacations, birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc., are understandably disappointed, frustrated and even heartbroken. Elderly people and those most at risk are scared and they are counting on the rest of us to do our part in reducing the possibility of transmission. Worst of all, patients with severe symptoms are literally fighting for their lives and the death toll numbers rise each day leaving behind shocked and grieving loved ones–some of whom didn’t even get to say good-bye or provide comfort or care because of risk and/or travel restrictions. I mean, how awful can it get. Downright ugly it seems.
So, how do we all cope? How do we move forward while trying to stay healthy? What will happen? When will this settle or will it? Many questions fill our minds and experts’ advice changes by the minute. While it is important to stay informed, constant exposure to news and media outlets is not good for us. Fear and anxiety are normal under the circumstances, but we needn’t bathe ourselves in it around the clock. I personally have limited my daily intake of COVID-related information with the underlying knowledge that I do not have control over the virus and its fury. However, I am still in the fortunate position of having control over how I operate on a day-to-day basis unlike others who are on the frontlines or who may be sick. If you are at home like me and you are healthy (God-willing) and self-isolating be it on your own or with family, turn off the TV for awhile. Walk away from your device(s). Find fresh air. Do something ‘normal’. Discover something new. Connect with others in unique ways whether that is within your four walls with your kids or with friends/family outside of your house, i.e. over the phone, email, Skype, or through a glass partition. May I suggest that this is also a great time to put together an old-fashioned letter or a card or a small gift and send it in the mail. You’d be surprised at how well-received this gesture is–just ask the 160-billion dollar Amazon company who specialize in deliveries. Keep in mind, however, that the intended recipient will need to follow measures to disinfect or let their delivery sit for awhile before handling.
In the coming days, weeks and months, try to stay positive and follow the guidelines set out to protect us and those around us. See if you can fit in time to truly rest–many of us have forgotten what that really is. Sleep is a proven healer. Exercise. Eat healthy. Meditate or pray if you like. Whatever you choose to do, focus on being. Be present in the moment as only we can. If we are to learn anything from this world-wide pandemic, it is exactly that. Our time right now, right this minute, is all that we have. Make the most of it, and remember that as human beings, we are a collective ‘we’ despite social distancing and we are a highly adaptable, intelligent species. WE. GOT. THIS. :-).