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How I am Dealing During COVID-19

Written on Monday, March 16th, 2020

In trying my best to think about a topic I am passionate about that has nothing to do with COVID-19, I failed.

I decided to break and write about how I am feeling, because it is what has been on my mind this week. To be honest, I am feeling home sick. I have found it hard to concentrate on my school work because of the worries I have for the vulnerable, my friends, and my family. What all this means in the long term, and how this will affect our future day-to-day lives. It is so easy to think of the 'what ifs' instead of the thinking about what we have control over.

Prior to Friday, March 13th, I think we could all sense something was in the air. With new cases popping up everyday, the stories of human reaction, and the way the media has decided to handle their theatrics, it is hard not to question one's own thoughts and behaviors.

For me, it was self deliberating the pros and cons of going to class. Whether I was being over dramatic by not buying a latte as I do every other Friday as a treat, or it was fighting with the idea that I am washing my hands because it is what I would do anyways, not just me being paranoid.

Friday, I could handle the news of class cancellations and courses moving online. America declaring a state of emergency was a shaker, but it was relieving to know North American governments had finally given the public some 'solid' facts and actions (following Trudeau's announcements). It was slightly upsetting to hear my classes would be going digital. I have yet to hear about the direct actions my university will be taking but I am someone who learns way better by discussion and debate, rather than boring textbooks. We shall see, silver lining: I dodged a Psychology midterm I definitely could use the extra week to study for.

UPDATE: I will be finishing my semester via take home final exams. Minimal online learning besides recommended readings.

The weekend was fine, honestly quite similar to another weekend during midterm/assignment season. Home, computer, textbooks. The only difference, is I found myself every hour or so refreshing my emails to see if my school had any news. I found myself on news outlets, reading all I could. I found myself turning the TV on more for constant 'breaking news'. Today I am paying for it.

Before Monday, I felt extra anxiety with knowing my mother-in-law (to be) was struggling to figure out how she was getting home from Portugal. She had arrived the day before the outbreak was considered a pandemic. She was lucky enough to find a route home for herself but to add, it was not clear if borders would be closed before she would be returning Tuesday evening to Halifax. Once it was confirmed she had a chance to come home, it is now the knowing that she still has to pass the screening process. I can not help but wonder what it would be like to be alone in a foreign place if she was showing symptoms and not allowed to leave the country.

UPDATE: She has returned home safe and sound on Tuesday evening, showing no symptoms to date. She is in day five of self quarantine.

To add, it has bugged me seeing the reactions of some citizens regarding those returning from outside of Canada. I have seen a lot of people saying "shut the borders, it is their fault they left", a kind of 'screw them' mentality without knowing people's situations. I totally understand, and would probably be more likely to sympathize with some people's views if I was not as emotionally invested in keeping the borders open for Canadians to return home. However, the second we start objectifying others' existence in these situations, the more likely we are to lack humanity in a time it is needed most.

During this time, I plead people to remember we are all human, we all want to be surrounded by what is familiar, with the people we love and to remain healthy. We must continue to put our faith in the precautions being made for us, although not perfect, it maintains a sense of order.

So, after a quick tear shed this morning, I decided to change my thought script to a positive one. I thought about what I would be doing right now if I were going about my normal day.

For the last 8 months, I have been going to yoga 5 days a week. So, I turned the news off, and found a yoga class online instead. I will continue to do this until I can return to my studio.

After, I normally would grab a snack on my way to class. So, I made a snack and started working on a paper with an upcoming deadline. I will continue to use my in-class scheduled times to work on assignments, study and read for those classes until my term is over.

I walk/run an average of 5 km per day, and I will continue to do this until I can get these steps in naturally from my day-to-day or in-gym schedule.

I will continue to have dinner when I normally would, maybe even experimenting with some recipes I've been meaning to try.

What I will try to do differently though, with the extra time, is to do things for myself and the people I love.

I might try to organize that junk drawer that has been on the back of my mind for a million months and clean out my clothes.

I might start painting again.

I might give some old friends a call to see how they're doing.

I might shave my legs for the first time in... I won't mention.

I think if we can change our thought scripts regarding this pandemic, it could be a productive time for us. Taking some time to reflect, I have realized there are some people in the world that have never taken a sick day. Families that do not get to spend time together because of their schedules. Some really happy cats and dogs that get to have more cuddle time with their families. Some people who genuinely cannot afford to have time to themselves and their families beyond this experience. I think Mother Nature is getting a break too, with all the lowered emissions. It is a humbling experience to remind humans that Mother Nature is truly in control and you cannot put a price on that.

I will be thinking of you all, and hope you can find a system that works for you during this stressful time. Stay home if you CAN but remember, nature is not canceled. Take care of yourself, your body and your mind. Take care of your families, your neighbors and I think we will be okay.

Ingonish, Cape Breton, 2019

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