So, we’re living in interesting times I gather. If you’ve been living under a rock you may not get that joke but for the rest of us, I hope you pretend anyway. On Friday, schools across Montreal were closed, public events canceled and gatherings of 250 or more people were discouraged. There were people panic buying, I admit I was one of them, but luckily we don’t have a car so my ability to buy was limited, unlike others’. Geez, the things people buy when they think the end is near. Tons and tons of meat and toilet paper, I guess we know where their head’s at.
The one thing though that did make my anxiety flare was that what had seemed so far away and removed was now in our faces and undeniable. I’d been watching the news like others, on and off, I can only take so much negative input, but in only 3 months we know found ourselves with what the W.H.O. confirmed as being a worldwide outbreak.
This infamous John’s Hopkins Map can give you all the feels for an anxiety attack, but remember that while there are now over 150,000 cases in red the best number to focus on is the green, the over 70,000 people that have recovered. Currently in Canada, there are over 300 confirmed cases but I’m sure there will be more before this is “over”.
So what can we do in order to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and sane, because let’s be honest for the majority of us- it won’t be Covid-19 that gets us, it’ll be the stir-crazy. As a mom of a 21 month old it’ll be good to keep her busy, but it will also be good for myself, my mother-in-law and my husband, whose company is preparing for telecommuting as we speak.
The first and most important thing is to not obsess. Coronavirus is the number one trending topic on every news forum, Contagion is the trending search on Netflix, and everyone has run out of masks and hand sanitizers since forever. But regardless of Trevor Noah’s segment, This is How We Die, we probably won’t.
So here’s a few tips in order to make through to the other side:
Stay Informed, but Don’t Obsess
While it is good to keep up-to-date and apprised of the situation, it’s also important to not become obsessed. Watch the news if you want but just like constant email checking, it’s not going to be in your best interest. The worst thing if you’re feeling anxious would be to spend the entire day watching the news. That’s true today, just as it is every day.
Whether or not you have kids and need to keep them occupied, or yourself, it’s good to have things to do. Don’t just binge watch Netflix and other streaming services. Keep busy! I’m sure there’s a hobby or two you’ve been meaning to pick up, a book you’ve been meaning to read, and a space you’ve been meaning to get organized. Lots of us are staying at home these days and if possible, working from home, but if that’s the option- cabin fever can definitely set it. Depending how long you’ll be at home. So make sure you stay busy and keep a schedule, it’ll keep you sane.
Innovate Indoor/Outdoor Activities
Since it’s all about staying inside, we need to bring the outdoors indoors.
There’s tons of Youtube videos on home fitness routines to keep yourself active and even more on ways to kill boredom. If you’re lucky to be in a place with good weather, crack those windows open and learn how to bird whistle. If you have a balcony and good weather, there’s nothing wrong with a little sunbathing. There’s always balcony gardening, too! That’s my plan anyway.
Pinterest is chock-full of activities to do with kids indoors, usually for the winter months but I think the same can apply. We may not all be children, but we can be children at heart. Depending on your interests- there’s puzzles, board games, card games, the hubby and I are going to try drawing dates. My grandmother is a big fan of crosswords, even making her own.
Tips on how to make your own Abuela’s crossword:
Look at the objects around you and write down 20 words. From those words see how many more words you can create, without re-using any of the letters. Keep writing words until you can’t anymore. It’s a good way to stretch those brain muscles.
Learn a New Skill
With the advent of online learning, there is a plethora of micro-learning opportunities from Youtube, Udemy, and one of my favorites Edx, that have courses from educational institutions from all over the world. Whatever platform you use, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn. Maybe take a master class from a literary great like on Masterclass or learn a new language on any number of applications, one of my favorite flashcard apps Anki, is an open source platform where you can create your own or flip threw ones created by someone else. It’s great, if you want to keep your new learned vocabulary on hand.
But above all else, keep your family and friends safe, wherever you are, whomever you may be. If you find yourself alone, make friends online or with your neighbors. Make sure to keep an eye on those of us most vulnerable, for they are the ones that need us the most.