How to Survive Yet Another Month of Social Distancing

How to Survive Yet Another Month of Social Distancing

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The sun is shining; we want to run outside, put on the sprinklers, light up the BBQ, and invite our besties over for supper. But, instead, we are masked and gloved, walking at a carefully measured distance from our fellow shoppers, trying to find something to cook for our cranky kids, and, just as cranky spouse.

Physical distancing was, perhaps tolerable, when it was cold and raining and we stayed indoors, ate pizza, and watched movies, but now that the sun is out we want to get back to normal, to go out, party, or stay in, and party. Just about now, we’re all feeling like we’d like to let our hair down a bit. But, we are still living in the strange reality that has become the new normal.

Here are a few tips to keep you going:

Accept

Most of what is going on right now is out of your control. You can’t control when the kids will go back to school, when you will go back to work, and when it will be safe to move around normally again. Take a deep breath, and remind yourself, that this is the way things just are now, it sucks a little, it isn’t great, but it’s going to be okay – you are going to be okay, and the best thing you can do for yourself, and for those you love, is to relax, accept, and enjoy what you can of this new normal with all its unusual challenges, and small pleasant surprises.

It reminds me of a little kid locked in their room. They begin by throwing themselves against the door and screaming, they rage and shout, and bang, until they are completely worn out. Eventually, they give up (accept the situation), and set off to see what they can find in their room; there’s a stick of gum that got stuck under the toy truck, and a selection of brightly coloured marbles had rolled under the bed. Before long, they are so busy playing, that they completely forget that they are locked in their very own bedroom.

Distract

Turn the TV off. Turn the news off. Turn it off, and turn something else on, anything, but please not the news. We are living in a time of uncertainty, breeding feelings of anxiety, and fear. The news is like gasoline to that fear. If you haven’t already, I challenge you to turn the news off for 24 hours and see how you feel. Instead of watching the news, bake a cake, take the kids to the woods – rules permitting, play hide and seek, anything you like, just not the news.

Rather than watching the flames burn down the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, and weep and mourn as it burns, look away, and walk away. The cathedral is still burning, and the virus is still spreading – slowly, but when you look away, when you move away, you allow yourself to detach, distract and refocus somewhere else, and that will reduce the painful emotions that are troubling you.

Refocus

While we are banging against the door, and obsessively checking every last statistic on the development of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, our focus is restricted to the ‘pandemic,’ and our emotions range from moderate stress to acute anxiety, to fear and panic. We feel like we’re going to throw up and can’t go on another day.

Refocusing means turning away from the door, and looking for hidden treasures in the room, it means turning off the news, and tuning in to the other sounds, sights, smells that surround us; the aroma of garlic basting on the stove, the cool spring breeze blowing in the window, and the Canadian geese flying in to climb their small breeding spot, or their favourite lake.

There is a lot to refocus on just now, you can refocus on what gives you pleasure, you can refocus on a hobby or a task that you have been waiting to attend to, or you can refocus on how you can help those in need in your community and go some way to meet the need at this time.

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