Coming Up For Air - The Rude Awakening of a Pandemic

Wash your hands. Stay inside. Go for Walks. Repeat.

It's been just over a month since Canada started shutting down its provinces, in order to stop the spread of the infamous Covid-19 virus that has taken 141, 195 lives globally, to date.

Within a matter of weeks, life changed dramatically and will never be the same. Even when things do get back to "normal", it's hard (for me, at least) to imagine not having this fear in the back of my mind, every time someone coughs nearby, or when we're back in groups or on public transportation again (which frankly, was pretty gross to begin with). History tells us that pandemics can occur in waves, sometimes months apart, so....are we ever really safe? 

People are anywhere from extremely overwhelmed (hello medical staff!), to grieving and devastated, to absolutely hysterical about their toilet paper inventory, to "fine, just bored". And everything you can imagine in between. Oh, and let's not forget the oblivious, what-does-your-little-pea-brain-not-understand-about-distance-yourself "covidiots" who are still gathering and socializing like it's 1999 out there.

Since everyone is experiencing this so differently, it's hard to know what angle to come from when attempting to write a semi-uplifting blog post. Recognizing that I am very blessed in this situation, it doesn't feel right to give advice. There are too many people suffering and struggling in ways I can't begin to understand. The burnt-out medical staff. The busy and stressed-out parents with young kids at home. The over one million workers who were laid-off. The broken-hearted people who can't visit their confused or dying loved ones in nursing homes right now. Should I tell them to focus on inner peace and encourage them to think positive thoughts? I think not!

Regardless of our varying circumstances right now, we all have this one thing in common: our world, as we knew it, is changing. We are all forced to look at things or deal with things or simply do things we don't want to. And to make matters worse, I noticed (and am guilty of!) a serious lack of self-compassion as we adapt to a time when we could all use it most!

So I won't give advice, but I will give reminders.

Reminder: a Sniper is at Large

I spoke to my uncle the other day and he made the perfect analogy: this germ warfare is comparable to a sniper being at large. It is a fight against an invisible enemy, and we must do everything in our power to stay safe.

If there was a sniper out there, killing as many people as this virus has, would we still feel as bad about not doing X-Y-Z properly and perfectly? Would we give ourselves a hard time for not adjusting to our new normals? Would people complain as much about feeling bored? My sense is no, because danger would feel imminent and it would be very clear that it is a serious matter of life or death. The same should apply to this pandemic. It's just hard to remember because a sneeze or a cough feels nowhere near as threatening or scary (it almost sounds like a joke, a-la Jim Gaffigan). The truth is, they can be just as deadly.

In any case, we all have ONE job during a global crisis and that is to SURVIVE. That's it! It is literally a matter of life or death, which means that everything else is secondary.

So, as a friendly reminder:

-if you are stuffing your face with everything in sight while bored/anxious at home, you're doing your job

-if your work performance is shit because you're home schooling your children at the same time, you're doing your job

-if your kids are bored out of their minds at home, are having excessive screen time, are running behind on their school lessons, you're doing your job

-if your hair is a mess and you're also turning into a weird-looking swamp creature like me, you're doing your job

-if you were forced to close down your business because there was no way to operate safely right now, although it must feel terrible, you're doing your job

-if you are indulging in self-pity, feeling depressed, having trouble getting through the days, as long as you are doing all this from home, you're doing your job

Do not underestimate the impact of staying at home. You could be saving someone's life right now, including your own, which is no small deed.

So, instead of feeling guilty for not exercising, for gaining weight, for not accomplishing as much as we feel we should, or for doing a crappy job at several things, etc., let's all take a deep breath, say "to hell" with all that and clap for our damn selves 👏👏👏 for doing the one and only thing that matters right now- surviving.



This global crisis has forced us out of our comfort zones and, quite mercilessly, pushed us into the unknown. And although most of us can't wait to come up for air from the long and challenging new normal that is life in quarantine, this pandemic has inadvertently caused us to come up for air from our daily routines and from living on autopilot. And that can't be all bad. Not everything was working before.

Nevertheless, one day, we shall exhale.

When all this is over, each and every one of us will retain something from this experience. Whether it's as superficial as washing your hands the right way (which, who knew, could save your life!) or as meaningful as not taking freedom/employment/loved ones for granted or deciding to finally seek help for mental health, we will each have been changed in some way or form. And I truly believe we will be better for it, despite how difficult it may be right now.

I will end this by expressing an enormous THANK YOU to all essential workers out there **including my hard-working hubby**😊

Stay safe and healthy everyone.



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