Sunday, August 16, 2020

Staying Sane in the Time of Covid

 Who, or what, is keeping you relatively sane these days? Are you able to stay motivated? How?

Brenda Chapman here.

I like the qualifying word ‘relatively’ in this week’s question. It reminds me of working in communications with lawyers as clients. There'd often be a word or phrase inserted to avoid stating something was an absolute in the event that it later went awry. “’In most cases’ … ‘as far as we know’ … ‘the expected outcome’ … ‘usually safe’ … so whatever I’m about to share is keeping me ‘somewhere’ on the scale of sane. No guarantees on the degree, however.

The first few months of Covid were spent in lock down during the end of a Canadian winter, which means my husband Ted and I were alone together in our house for almost two solid months. In those early days, we had no idea what we were facing so Public Health went with complete isolation as the fallback. I had a book coming out in April so was still in contact with my publicist and participated in a few social media events. Mostly I spent time cancelling the in-person events I already had lined up. I also continued to write and so was able to escape reality for a few hours each day.

The book that arrived without fanfare

We instituted daily happy hour at the start of lock down, and Ted went through his record collection as part of the ritual. He picked three albums a day,  starting with the letter  'A' and went through the entire alphabet. We discovered Zoom and stayed in touch with friends and family through video calls. My book club met twice over Zoom. The weather began to warm and the snow melted at the end of April. We were able to get outside and talk to our neighbors from a distance. My youngest daughter was between residences for June and some of July so she and her dog George moved home for that month and were welcome company.


This brings me to what is keeping me from going off the deep end. Friends and family. Strangers who stop to chat. Walking after supper. Working in my garden. Drinking wine. Reading. Baking. And last but not least, writing. 

I've managed to write most days although not always. My motivation continues to be simply that I enjoy making up stories. It's fun to sit down at my computer and disappear into a plot. Some days, however,  I'm too restless to sit down and type so I don't push it. I also often opt to spend my hours outdoors since we're having such a lovely, sunny summer and I know we'll soon be stuck inside soon enough. I'm trying to store up the sunshine and time in my garden to carry me through. I've also begun walking after supper with two friends who live across the street. (We walk six feet apart down the street and as we stride along, I say that it feels like we're Charlie's Angels out to save the world.) One of the neighbors had us up to their cottage at a lake an hour away for a day.

My side garden

Ted and I have been to our local pub and had a drink outside on the patio a couple of times and this week we had lunch at a golf club on the patio. It felt so good to eat a meal outside the house, and, of course, all the Covid precautions were taken so it felt safe. To cap it off, somebody scored a hole in one and we were given free drinks!

I've had a few depressed days, I won't lie, but keeping busy helps. Some days, just turning on a movie and letting the day slip mindlessly away is a tonic. Phoning a friend can get me out of a funk too. Going on a walk and enjoying other peoples' gardens helps too.

I hope you are also able to make the best of this uncertain time. I think it helps to know that we're all in this together and we have all the best scientists working on a vaccine and Public Health and health professionals working to keep us well. I know that staying home and taking care is helping buy time for us to get a handle on this pandemic, which will pass as other pandemics have passed. Limited freedom is a small price to pay in the long run.


Twitter: brendaAchapman

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Susan C Shea said...

Aside: I'm impressed with your side garden. I can't keep my plants from getting into shoving matches for dominance.

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Susan - The trick is to be relentless at tearing out plants where you don't want them growing. In other words, 'kill your darlings' :-)

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Nice garden … and love that George.

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich - George is one sweet dog :-)