A Pause on Life As We Know It

What a rollercoaster of a week it has been. A mixed bag of anxiety, an amplified sense of self-awareness, and sheer disconnection from the normalcy of everyday life that we have now realized how much we have taken for granted.

In the midst of this crisis though, never have I felt, such an intense sense of global community. You can literally feel it everywhere. The engagement on social media has been exponential – and having to self-isolate has obviously contributed to this. The influx of COVID memes and gifs circulating the internet has been reflective of this too. All of it has only helped amplify the sense of community and togetherness.

It’s also been heart-warming to feel so closely connected with family and friends who are all sharing the same deep personal feelings and emotions as we go through this life-changing ordeal.

However, the personal mental toll that all of this has caused is real. The rapid economic downturn that has taken place over the last week and the affect it has had on so many people has just been overwhelming. Just the constant stress and paranoia itself can be crippling. Being forced into isolation, having to grossly limit any outdoor activity and just generally having to adapt to an abnormal situation can have a lasting impact on your overall mental health. And of course the frequent news bulletins with the latest dire update does not help either.

Also, for me personally, the widespread panic buying has completely thrown a wrench into my normal routine. I know I’m not alone. Much of what we need is unexpectedly unavailable (we are all well aware of the toilet paper fiasco) and many of the major grocery stores have just been stripped bare by the mass hoarding. This was the scene at the local grocery store earlier this week. This is where all the produce is normally displayed.

Produce aisle at local grocery store.

As you can see, there was virtually nothing. They might as well have sold the cardboard! Luckily the situation seemed better today as everything was fully stocked, but still. Come on, people! We ALL need the stuff that you’re purchasing mountains of at a time! Sharing is caring – especially during these times!

Speaking of, I would like to give a warm shout out to the kind gentlman at the local Shoppers Drug Mart who went out of his way today to find some paper towel for me. Initially there was nothing on the shelves (big surprise) and so I asked if there was anymore and he initially said no, and I didn’t even bother asking if there was any in the back, and went to cash out.

Side note: the lineup for cash was hilariously long because people were actually respecting the 6-foot distance from each other, which was humbling.

Anyways, as I was waiting, the same guy came back and said, “If you give me a minute, I think we do have some extra paper towel.” So I was like, “oh wow, thanks” and sure enough he came out with a pack. I guess that’s how things need to be done right now to avoid shortages. But I really appreciated his willingness to go and check.

So as we enter another week in our battle against COVID-19, trying to find that fine balance between being ‘normal’ and adapting to what is going on around us can be difficult, but sustaining our sense of inner peace is crucial at a time like this.

Here are just a few things we can do to maintain our sanity:

Watch the News in Moderation – I know this one is hard considering every media (and social media) outlet is talking about this right now, but for your mental health, try and limit how much you watch everyday. I cringe every time a CP24 alert comes to my phone. Yes, we need to stay informed, but have it be in moderation so that you aren’t being inundated with one negative update after another.

Stay Active – It can be easy to become a couch potato and Netflix addict during these times, so finding alternate ways to stay active is critical since all public gyms remain closed at the moment. Being confined within the walls of your home can eventually get to anyone, and some fresh air is a necessity to recharge your brain. So if you’re able to, take a brisk walk outside, or maybe go for a light jog. I guarantee that being in close proximity of anyone will not be an issue right now as the streets are virtually deserted. But of course, do so at your own discretion – depending on where you live.

You can also get those endorphins flowing by doing what you can to stay active at home. There are tons of great workout videos on YouTube. Below is a video that I exercised to recently. It’s a 40-minute super fun, upbeat cardio dance routine that will surely get your mind off everything for at least a little while.

Read More Books – So I need to take my own advice here. I have a book that I started a long time ago that I have struggled with finishing – or even getting half way through. Now could be a good time to try and make a dent in it.

Reflect – If there’s one thing this entire ordeal has taught us, it is to be beyond grateful for the finer things in life. Your level of self-awareness may make you feel like you’re in a haze of some sort. You’re almost too present, but you have to be. We find ourselves missing the sheer mundaneness of everyday life; of seeing shelves fully stocked with toilet paper and Lysol wipes, of being able to just go out to eat, or go to the movies. We are living a reality of excessive but much-needed precautions. This is probably the only time where the feeling of dry and gritty hands might be welcomed since that lack of moisture means you’re washing them a lot.

Life, as we know it, has really hit the pause button right now.

Let’s collectively do our part to flatten the curve by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing when you do need to go out. Make an extra effort to check in with your elderly relatives. The warnings are truly in our best interest and should not be taken lightly. The more we minimize our risk of exposure, the faster we can contain any further spread of the virus.

I have such a deep appreciation for all the frontline workers who are putting their own health at risk everyday to protect us. I view each and every one of them, including my darling sister, who is an ER nurse, as my personal hero and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Before I end this post, as we go through a sanitizing frenzy, here are just a few things you might want to clean that may not immediately come to mind:

Your Handbag – Ladies, your handbag is a haven for germs – especially those metal clasps and zippers. The virus can live up to five days on metal, so lysol all those metal areas on your bag including the metal zipper lining. This also goes for any metal areas on your wallet, coin purses, etc.

Your Keys – You’re always touching these so give them a good wipe.

Your Car Interior – Anything you readily touch while driving: the steering wheel, the consoles, the gear shift, the door handles – disinfect it all

Your Kitchen Handles – We are often focused on the main door handles and light switches – as we should be, but let’s also remember to lysol the kitchen cabinet handles, the oven handle, and countertops, etc.

Your Laundry Hamper – With your dirty, potentially-contaminated clothes sifting amongst each other in your hamper, giving the lid and the outer corners that you’re likely to touch a good disinfecting would not be such a bad idea.

All is ask is for is 2020 to slow down please. We are only in March and it feels like so much has already happened. Some mundane sense of normalcy would be highly welcome at this point.

God Bless and please stay safe and healthy.


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