We hear everywhere how COVID19 has had a massive impact on people’s mental health. There are long waiting lists to see therapists, anxiety and depression prescriptions have significantly increased and survey data show there is a surge in people experiencing depression, loneliness, isolation, stress and anxiety. Not to mention economic devastation and job anxiety. My heart goes out to young and old, and especially to those who because of their circumstances are particularly vulnerable.
I am one of the more fortunate people. My challenges are limited mostly to inconveniences, namely missing social and family interactions. I too am tired of the same old, day in and day out. I haven’t seen my out- of -province daughter for over a year. I am more afraid of potential complications of COVID19 than I am from dying.
Unfortunately, the news, social media platforms and channels and data leaves out the people who are thriving or coping. And this brings me me to the dead man's float.
The dead man's float is a survival swimming technique I was taught as a young camper in the open waters of Lake of the Woods, (Kenora, Ontario). It was drilled into me that if I should ever be stranded in a lake, river or ocean, the dead man’s float will keep me alive until rescued. I whole-heartedly believed in this survival strategy and to this day, practice it every summer when I go into a lake.
The technique is designed to quiet and calm your nervous system so much so that you can conserve your strength for hours, while waiting to be rescued. Those of you who are not familiar with this float, you are taught to hang in a prone floating position, face down, arms stretched forward and legs dangling down. You hang for as long as you can, taking on the limpness of a ‘dead-man’. When you need to breathe, you lift your head and take a breath while you simultaneously do a simple breaststroke. Then, you hang your head again. The float needs to be done with minimal exertion.
In calm or rough waters, you float it out somewhat like a jellyfish. We can all adopt this technique to get through the coming months. We will be rescued – and in the meantime, we can practice being calm, conserving our energy and increasing our stamina and endurance in order to survive in unsettled waters.
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It started with making homemade granola. And freezing it. Then, I tried for the first time to make cabbage rolls in honor of my late mother. She made them for holiday dinners. What followed, was homemade sauerkraut made from leftover cabbage.
Against the backdrop of these DIY projects (which I never do), I watched a documentary about Canadians living off the grid – without public utilities (water/electricity), at a distance from neighbours, and having to figure out everything on their own.
They are 24/7 do-it yourselfers.
These people are ingenious and creative, with homes running on renewable energy. They produce most of their own food. They carefully manage and monitor their consumption of essentials like fresh water. Days center on solving problems. And they do all this sustainability, in harmony with the environment, while wasting little.
While I am not about to go off the grid, I appreciate their hard work and commitment to be resourceful, happy with less, and self-sufficient.
It struck me that, with this locked-down socially-distanced covid-lifestyle, we are metaphorically living off the grid.
Like the self-reliant people in the film, we covid homesteaders have to solve new work and life problems constantly. Beyond Netflix, we have to create our own amusements. We need to find outlets for our creative energies. Find meaning and fulfillment without depending on our friends and family (who live in other households).
While living off the grid isn’t for me, putting in the daily effort to ward off negativity, being resilient and resourceful and enjoying a more frugal Covid lifestyle, feels good to me.
Wishing for brighter days ahead, peace within and extending to all.
This global pandemic has created massive upheaval. Surges in poverty, job losses and domestic abuse. Heartbreaking stories of sickness, isolation and loneliness. And I am scratching the surface.
Since late March, we have been learning to live one day at a time. We don’t have much of a choice since the future seems to have shrunk to about 3 days ahead - about the length of time to wait for your COVID results. We are practicing being present to the unfolding of each day. This is good news. This also levels the playing field - no one has the advantage of being able to plan, go out or have a good time. It should be a great comfort that everyone is stuck at home with no plans and no clear future. Misery loves company, even if you have none.
In 2021, not too much I expect will change except that it will be colder outside and winter equipment (skates, skis, and snowshoes) and indoor equipment (weights and workout machines) will be sold out.
I wish you and your families good health, fresh perspectives, healthy ways to deal with stress and ways to make your life meaningful to you.
In times of nowhere to go and no one to see, enjoy the simplicity of the present.
Desperate to hug someone,
p.s I will be posting new promotions for 2021.
Week after week, I want to reach out and share some inspiring thoughts to help those of you who are feeling frustrated, anxious, down and plain fed up.
Without sounding too prescriptive or trite, I want to find uplifting words to help:
Find the path of least resistance – that is, choose a way of being and a course of action that is the least taxing, the least demanding and difficult, but still allows for opportunities to create meaning. Stay mentally and physically healthy & strong. Find daily moments of quiet and solitude.
The fear and the reality of COVID, combined with the impulse for safety can contribute to various constrictions – in our bodies and minds. Find ways around this, so that you can feel open, carefree and light-hearted.
p.s While masks make it difficult to connect, I have found that eye contact is much much more interesting.
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.