Social Distancing Journal: Day 4

As the new routine starts to takes its hold, I’m beginning to feel a deep comfort starting to emerge. Working from home all week, I’ve been the most productive than I’ve been in a long while. Without the typical distractions of office life, I’m able to achieve my flow much more naturally and maintain it for much longer. This feeling of being useful has given me a new lease on life working at home.

Despite all of this routine change, I still managed to get my workout minutes in. Today I ran 15 kilometers to a local restaurant, which is temporarily closing because of the virus. Notre Dame de Parkton sells the most amazing bacon, and I wanted to stock up a little before they closed. So, my motivation to run was clearly in place, and thankfully I got there just in time to buy the last four packs they had left. Luck was on my side today!

One of the things I’ve noticed through this experience is that I am finding out that life is so much better when it’s slowed down a little. Even though I have “nothing” to look forward to, I’m happy and much more comforted being happy in the present. This social distancing world has brought me closer to myself, my observations and my happiness. While I always just saw my house as a place where I sleep and eat, I now see it as a place where I can live and work and be comfortable being.

It’s incredible how much stress takes its toll on our bodies. On Monday, my resting heart rate shot up about 10% higher than it usually sits. The anxiety and stress caused by the uncertainty of change strained my body much more than my mind. Today, I’m happy to say that it has dropped about 5% lower than it usually sits -an overall drop of 15% from Monday. So, my body is a little less stressed now than it was before the world changed. High fives for that!

One thing that I’ve noticed this week is how much more sleep I require. I’m not sure if this is from the additional fresh air that I’ve been getting, the stress, or the comfort, or seasonal change or all of the above, but my need for deep sleep is undeniable. I usually get around 7 hours of sleep, but last night, I got 9 hours! And I still wanted to sleep more! For the first time in two years and against my liking, I had to set an alarm clock.

I got to thinking about how many events in my life threatened my worldview. Events that brought people together by separating them.

I was about ten years old when Allan Legere terrorized my hometown of Miramichi for six months. Legere is a convicted murderer who escaped prison only to return to his hometown and killed four more people. His victims were a priest, an elderly shopkeeper and two ladies that he once knew. While we weren’t quarantined to our houses, we still lived in captivating fear every day over who he would kill next. For an entire summer, nobody stayed outside after dark, and even Halloween was cancelled!

September 11th, 2001, forever changed my view of the world. That day and the days that proceeded that horrific attack were the scariest days of my life. I didn’t know if we would go to world war, or if the next plane that flew over my head would crash on me. I remember the seriousness of the situation, as guards with guns drawn were in places that I wouldn’t usually see. Everyone became scared of everyone, and we didn’t know who the enemy was. All we knew is that hatred is real, and when it speaks, it roars.

On June 4th, 2014, a crazed gunman opened fire on police in a sleepy neighbourhood, killing three. As the search went down to find the sleazeball, our entire city was on complete lockdown. Nobody was to leave their houses unless it was necessary. This lockdown lasted for 28 hours, and our city was a ghost down for an entire day. While we knew our enemy, it was still a threatening time. But it was a time to reflect on the safety our police provide. I was taught at a young age never to trust the authorities, but after this, I not only trusted them, I loved them.

Throughout this Coronavirus lock down that we are enduring, it doesn’t seem so bad as compared to the other large scale and worldly events that have happened in the past. This time, I know the enemy, and I can do something to stop it. It’s that control over the situation that gives me great comfort and excitement for the future.

Once I changed my mind from focusing on what it is, as compared to what it could be, social distancing, social isolation and washing my hands doesn’t seem so bad. Life is always 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.

One a side note: If you are parents who are lucky enough to work from home and you have children -especially only children. Be sure to pay extra attention to them during the workday. We often forget that our kids are facing stress, just like us right now. Kids have lost their primary social outlet in school and maybe balling up the tension inside. Be sure to talk to them and get them to articulate their frustrations and fear anyway they are comfortable in doing. It’s so easy to forget about the mental health of our kids as we get immersed in our daily work.