There are so many emotions to be had during a pandemic. I don’t have a way of quantifying it, in comparison to other people, but my hunch is that I am a person who absorbs more emotions floating around me, than the average. I am good at keeping things in perspective. I count the things I am grateful for. But even when I am aware of all of the things that I am fortunate to have, sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the emotional overload. Particularly in a time of great uncertainty.
One thing that is causing me stress these days, is all the rules about exercise (outside). I have been going for short jogs outside, typically early in the morning. It is fairly easy to stay 6 feet away from people, and as a rule-follower, I am very careful to ensure that I am staying far away, even if it means I have to go into the road or on the grass and wait until a less mindful person passes. Even though I know I am acting within the rules, I am stressed that someone is going to tell me I can’t continue doing what I am doing. It’s insignificant to other stresses people might be experiencing (say, by health care workers, grocery clerks, people with Covid-19 symptoms, or those living alone, who don’t have good support), but it’s the type of thing that causes me stress. Those jogs, once or twice a week, significantly improve my mental health. I like to keep my mental health in good order!
Also, when I do go outside, things are strange. It is quieter than usual. People are keeping 6 feet apart, for the most part, but also diverting their eyes. I think people are afraid that if they look at each other, they will be drawn closer physically. We Torontonians are not used to feeling uncertain about our freedom to move about. It’s a weird feeling, knowing that this freedom of movement is restricted, even if it’s for our own benefit. I mentioned on my personal Facebook page, the other day, that I feel as though I am in an episode of Black Mirror. I’m walking or running on eerily quiet streets. Neighbours are blank eyed. A team of enforcement officers suddenly come out of the bushes and apprehend me for walking about in the daylight. How will this episode end..
With all those emotions and sense of weirdness, I count on things that make me happy. Balance things out. Currently those things are, in no particular order:
- Movement. Whether it’s a jog, a virtual Zoom workout or Facebook Live Yoga, movement clears up the clog of emotions that feel stagnant in my body.
- My husband. Gavin and I have been together over 5 years. Married since June. I am lucky to have him as the one person I’m allowed to be within 6 feet of. He enjoys my cooking, my jokes, my handholds, and he tolerates my occasional grumpiness. He is funny, uplifting, when he’s not tired :), hard working and smart.
- Dog cuddles. My dogs are the cutest of course. Miggy gives the best cuddles. Barley likes to lick my face. Everyone else thinks it’s gross that I let him lick my face. Oh well, I love it. They are little, reactive, shits on their walks outside, but at least they give us a reason to be allowed to walk outside!
- Food. I’ve always loved food, making it, thinking about what I will eat next, being satisfied with what I’ve made, trying out something new, enjoying the predictability of something I’ve made a thousand times before.
- Coffee. Yes, it’s a food. But it deserves its own category. It’s the first thing I want when I wake up. I am drinking way more coffee at home than I did when I was working outside the home. And I enjoy every cup. My jam are freshly ground, good coffee from local roasters. I’m not a snob about it, it’s just what I like. Coffee is like a little escape in a cup if I savour it properly.
- Zoom calls with friends and family. Technology that allows me to connect with the people I love, makes me happy.
- Coffee check-ins with my work team. We had our first call the other day, where I was live on camera. I didn’t expect to be live on camera at first, but then it made me laugh and lightened my mood. It’s nice to chat with my boss and colleague, in a lighthearted way, and see them on camera.
What makes you happy these days, dear readers?
Nicole Plotkin is trying to focus on happy things today. Also, she wishes there were more testing of EVERYONE for Covid-19 antibodies.