As we approach the end of the second year of COVID, it is no surprise that some of us – if not all – are at the point where coping with this pandemic is tiresome, exhausting, and endless. The dark, cold, and snowy Saskatchewan winters bring their own challenges and certainly don’t help with keeping hope and optimism alive. Since receiving the provincial announcement regarding the end of the masking mandate and restrictions in Saskatchewan come February 28, 2022, we are keeping our fingers crossed that this is the last wave and spring will bring new hope, opportunity, and a new normal. Listed below are a few things we have found that help us on our journey to that light at the end of the tunnel and we hope they can help you too.
- Focus on the now and make decisions for you and your family based on current information.
It is a very human thing to think of and plan for ‘what-if’ scenarios. However, unless you are in a position where you need a COVID business strategy or contingency plan, reserve your energy and focus on the present moment. On the occasion you find yourself experiencing anxiety about the future, STOP, breathe, and look at your next step. What decisions need to be made right now? How can we go about making a plan to accomplish those next steps? Implementing and following your designed plan on a daily basis will allow you to feel more in control.
- Flexibility is key. As we’ve experienced, information and restrictions can change.
Give yourself permission to adapt to the new changes as they come and go. Keep yourself informed so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family on any given day. Also keep in mind that everyone’s experiences and needs are slightly different, so what may be best for one family doesn’t necessarily apply to all families. Give each other grace.
- Create a routine that you can stick with.
It is tempting to throw daily structure out the window when everything feels uncertain and overwhelming, and this might feel like a self-care win in the short-term. But by doing this, we can run the risk of adding to the sense of chaos and hopelessness in the long-term. Having a routine frees up mental energy to focus on other tasks and provides a sense of predictability and control.
- Move your body.
It has been proven time and time again the impact physical activity has on both our physical and mental health. It can be as big or as small as you need. Some examples are: taking deep belly breaths while listening to music of choice, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, dancing in your kitchen in the middle of dishes, taking a walk around the block or longer if you have the time, putting on a yoga or exercise video and following along in your living room. You are the expert on what works best for you. Trust your body – it knows things we sometimes don’t!
- Take care of your health in other ways.
Just like plants, we need sunshine, water, and nourishing food to keep us healthy and strong. It has also been proven that when plants are given positive affirmations and pruned regularly they grow bigger, stronger, and produce vibrant blossoms. If you have strayed from your self-loving practices, here is your reminder: it’s never too late to start again. Maybe you want to snack less, drink more water, get more sleep, take your vitamins, get out into nature more, feel the sun on your face, go for a check-up, start a new hobby, leave yourself sticky notes of positive affirmations around your home, or prepare more healthy meals. Let’s take a minute to think of one thing you can start implementing and use that as a first step.
- We’ve had to cancel a lot in the last two years. This could be your chance to revisit those plans.
It is never fun to hear that the plans you were super excited about get cancelled or rescheduled. Despite some of the fears that come with the restrictions lifting, this could be an opportunity to begin re-planning some of those important moments. Reach out to friends and family in a way that feels comfortable and connected for everyone. Perhaps this still looks like meeting via FaceTime, WhatsApp Video or Discord, but maybe this could start to include in-person coffees or walks as well. Take another look at those vacation plans you had to push off – could you take some steps to feel safe traveling again? Could you still take that vacation time as an opportunity to re-explore your current city? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do around your home? Start small, and work your way back up to big plans.
- Hold onto hope.
We don’t know exactly when this pandemic will end or what that end will look like. What we do know is that it will end, because it always has. And we will be here on the other side with you.
Co-written by Faye Davis (Executive Director) and Ashton Thomas (BSW Practicum Student)