I’m writing this to help me think about how I’ll cope during this coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. I hope these thoughts are somehow helpful to you, too.
Here are some of the ways I plan to seek peace during this uncertain time.
I have so much to be thankful for – my dear husband (who, thankfully, doesn't require me to social distance from him), my dog (an 11.5-year-old Cavoodle who is still loving life after being diagnosed with a lung tumour 6 months ago), my parents, my siblings and their families, my extended family, my friends, my home, my health. I’ll take a moment each day to give thanks for each of these tremendous blessings (and pray for the good health of everyone I love).
As someone who works from home and is social distancing otherwise, one of my main risks of potential exposure to this virus is when I go to our local grocery store for necessities. But what about all the people who work there, who see so many of us day in and day out? The fear of exposure – plus dealing with any unhappy or agitated customers – must be awful. I’ll make a point to thank these people for being there and for serving us during this trying time.
I think it’s important to keep up with the news right now (even if much of it is dark), as things are changing so quickly. Just one example: our Prime Minister announced today that we should avoid all non-essential domestic travel … which is very good to know.
But I probably check the news too often, and I need some light when I go online as well. Last week, a friend invited me to join a Facebook group called The Kindness Pandemic. The group is devoted to sharing acts of kindness during this time, and the stories its members have shared have inspired me.
I’ve also been heartened by musicians who are live streaming to their fans. This morning, around 5.30am my time, I stumbled upon the end of a live stream by Scottish songwriter, composer, and musician Dougie MacLean, via his Facebook page. He was performing from his studio in Butterstone and singing ‘This Love Will Carry’, a song with a hopeful, reassuring chorus. He said he’ll probably live stream a performance every couple days, so I’ll set my alarm and hopefully catch the next one in its entirety. I hope to hear about other artists who are doing similar things – this will be something to look forward to when spending so much time at home.
I’m going to make a point to go outside in time to witness the sunrise ... at least some of the time. I’m almost always awake then anyway, and watching the sun once again peek over the ocean and steadily rise above it is a reminder that the universe is going about its business, that, in spite of the uncertainty concerning our immediate futures and the changes to our usual routines, there’s an element of constancy and reliability in nature.
Social distancing is imperative to minimise and slow the spread of this virus, but we can remain connected from afar. In addition to ringing my parents regularly (which I already do), I’ll be reaching out to other close family members and friends via phone, Messenger, etc. even more than I have in the past. I plan to ring my phone provider tomorrow and increase my plan … most likely to unlimited minutes.
I cherish my sweet dog every day. Dogs provide so much love and comfort, and mine barely leaves my side right now. He doesn’t seem anxious, but I think he knows we are, and having him there to pat and hold is both relaxing and reassuring. Given his lung condition, I haven’t been leaving him much anyway (which I know he finds absolutely wonderful). I’m so grateful he’s still with us and happy.
A walk, run, or paddle board session puts me in a better frame of mind no matter what’s happening, and I need the good vibes that result from moving outdoors in the sunshine (or rain) now more than ever. And if I get stuck in the house because of a required self-isolation/quarantine? There will be SO many dance parties.
Recording and touring artist James Taylor shared a Songs of Comfort Spotify playlist via his Facebook page the other day, and these mellow, soothing songs definitely helped me chill out for a spell. Since this crisis began, I’ve found peace listening to musicians such as Van Morrison and Andrea Bocelli as well; music that helps ease my mind will be played often around here.
And I expect I’ll be spending some time playing the piano, too – I love hearing a song that gives me comfort, sourcing the sheet music online, and getting lost in that song for a while.
I know I’m going to be watching tv at least some evenings, as it can be a great distraction. But I’m going to spend time gazing up at the stars first … and doing #7.
(The celestial view from my backyard isn't quite as spectacular as the photo below, but it's still beautiful.)
Watching the events of the last couple months, and especially the past couple weeks, unfold has been stressful. I know I’m breathing, but not as deeply as I should. I resolve to pause and take some deep breaths regularly, be grateful I’m able to do this, remind myself that we’ll get through this temporary phase in our lives … and repeat #1.