Five days ago was Thursday, the day it became apparent to me that everything I had planned for the next two months was coming off the table. On Friday morning I spent two hours on the phone and Internet cancelling air travel, hotels, and union engagements I had booked, deleting events from my Google calendar one at a time. I felt relief once that was done, like I had started to wrap my head around what is really going on right now. And of course, it’s always illuminating to weigh out the actual essentials in life and realize how much of what we engage in is just noise.
I’ve been in the news spiral the last few days, but I managed to get out of it yesterday because I was so busy working out, then going to a presentation on the Salt Spring Island Farm Trust projects (where I sat far away from people and didn’t touch anything), then going for a walk with a friend before making dinner for some other friends. Being away from the phone and computer all day was really fantastic for my mental health. Now that it’s Monday, I’m back at my machine again (thankful that I’m a teleworker), and it’s so hard to stop myself refreshing Google News and Facebook every few minutes to see the “latest”.
The thing is, even without knowing the most recent announcement, it’s very clear to me where Canada is going with this. In a matter of a few days, we will be in shut down, as other countries have been, in order to “flatten the curve of infection” (did you even know that language two weeks ago? I didn’t).
For me, that won’t mean a drastic change except that I won’t be able to go to the gym and my social interactions will decrease. My partner and I are both fortunate enough to already work from home (he will move from part-time at home to full-time), and we’ve agreed to help keep each other to a fitness schedule even if we can’t access all the equipment we’re used to. Exercise, weight training in particular, has become very important to us in the last few months – and right now it feels imperative to keep up the daily activity (immune boosting and good for the brain). I’ve been doing a session at the gym with a trainer 3 x per week recently, and yesterday we discussed moving that training online. Not sure how they will do it, but I’ve signed up for Freeletics and am doubling down on my commitment to cycling as well.
Just like not touching my face, I am trying to control the screen refresh tic as I sit at my computer, and focus on my actual work. Besides my paid work, I have plans to develop a canning workshop series over the next few weeks, complete my “train the trainer” courses, write this month’s newsletter, sew some new clothes, warp the weaving loom, and finish crocheting a blanket for Brian’s niece who is due to have a baby in June. Also, yard work once the weather warms up which is it supposed to do this week. Additional to that, I’ll be offering an online meditation sit and reading on Tuesday nights to replace the in-person session I normally facilitate in my home. Basically, I’m going to use all this cancelled travel time to catch up with my life, and offer whatever service is useful to my community in the hopes it keeps me connected, sane, and mostly off social media.
This is day five, and there is going to be a six, seven, eight…. and who knows how many more. This is the time to create a daily schedule, a list of projects you’ve been putting off, and pick up the telephone to check in with family and friends. I feel for folks who have to keep kids entertained, or who don’t have access to good housing right now. I know that this suggestion will ring hollow if you are barely hanging in there. But for those of us who can stay healthy, we have a responsibility to keep it together so we can help those around us who are struggling mentally, financially, and physically.
We can do this. We will do it. We can help each other. But we do have realize now that this is just starting and prepare for what comes next.