Sunday, September 13, 2020

Staying Positive In Uncertain Times

In these times, how do you stay positive so that you can focus on what you write? 

Brenda Chapman here.

Staying positive during the past six months with Covid has been easy some days and tough others. It's overwhelming to think about the devastation this virus has and is wreaking on so many lives and families around the world. Combined with the natural disasters, like the forest fires raging up the Pacific Coast in the U.S., and the racial unrest escalating in many countries, and it feels as if we're living in a war zone. These are indeed difficult, disturbing, heart-wrenching times.

I recognize that I'm fortunate to live in Canada, where the government took Covid-19 seriously and has coordinated its response based on science to keep people safe. We have universal health care in Canada so nobody is charged if they have to go the doctor or hospital for care. The government has also instituted several programs to financially help affected individuals and businesses through these tough times. 

Personally, I'm also fortunate to live with my husband in a house with a yard with friendly neighbours. My situation keeps me positive most days. Still, like everyone, I have down days when the reality of what's going on in the world gets to me, not to mention the need to stay near home, avoiding social contact and wearing a mask when I enter a store or other indoor location - not the worst things in life, but still limiting and strange.

What helps me stay positive? Here's my list:

1.  Exercise. I have a stationary bike and hand weights and aim to have an hour-long workout every third day. Two neighbours and I also go for evening walks around the neighbourhood when the weather is good and I often walk in the afternoons as well.

2.  Working in my garden. This has been my best tonic. I spend at least an hour watering, deadheading, weeding every morning and throughout the day. There's something about nurturing plants that's good for the soul. Strangers often stop to chat when they see me working in the side garden, a nice side benefit.

3.  Having socially distanced visits with friends and family. We started meeting in backyards once the weather warmed. My younger daughter Julia visits almost weekly with her dog George. We're also in a bubble with our older daughter Lisa and have shared a few meals.

4.  Writing. There's nothing to compare with creating a world on paper and disappearing into the story that comes out of one's imagination.

5.  Reading. I continually have a book on the go. I also belong to a book club and we've met by Zoom and in person in backyards over the summer. I'm currently reading How to be an Anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi. I'm looking forward to my next read, which will be Colin Conway and Frank Zafiro's soon to be released Code Four.

6. Zoom calls. I have a couple of friend groupings who meet every month by Zoom. I'm in the process of setting up a call with my three siblings who are spread out across the country.

7.  Netflix. When I really need to get my mind off things, I tune in to a series or movie on Netflix. We're currently watching "Dirty John" and I have a list of mystery dramas on standby. 

8. Sports. I like playing and watching sports so I've been following live golf, tennis, baseball and basketball on television, and since we are a family of curlers, I watch the odd taped game from the past, usually one with my daughter Lisa playing. If you want to while away a few hours, you can watch her on YouTube in this world final between Canada and Russia from 2017.

8. Volunteering. I signed up to be the Eastern Ontario representative for Crime Writers of Canada and also joined the marketing committee. This has kept me busy through the summer months with Zoom calls and follow up. I've also continued my support for adult literacy and recently recorded a spot for an organization in Ottawa to celebrate International Literacy Day.

9. Baking. Yes, I'm one of those people baking bread and cookies and muffins. It's just one more way to be creative :-)

10. Online Shopping. Who knew waiting for an order could be so exciting? I started with boxes of wine from Niagara, books from my local independent bookstore Perfect Books, meat from my neighbourhood butcher, and environmentally friendly cleaning and bath products from Terra 20. I've since moved on to clothing and locally made soaps and candles. It's a good way to support local small businesses from the comfort of your home.

11. Crossword puzzles. I've found some online daily puzzles and work on them when I have small gaps of time to fill.

12. Plans. Every morning, I lie in bed and think about what I want to accomplish that day. It could be walking to a local shop, finishing up a chapter or vacuuming the downstairs. The point is that I keep busy and have goals.

So these are some of the ways I've managed to stay positive and to find comfort during these unsettling times. I hope that you are also managing to stay hopeful and safe. Follow along this week to see how my fellow bloggers are also keeping positive, and remember, that we will get through these stressful days together.


Twitter: brendaAchapman

Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor


Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Brenda. I feel better already – and great looking garden by the way.

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich! Lots to still keep us positive in this tough time.

Susan C Shea said...

My garden is a wreck from the soot and bad air, brown leaves are falling from the tree way too early, but we're not supposed to go outside! Or to exert ourselves so that we breathe in this horrible air. And then there's the coronavirus.... Bright spot: no plague of locusts. Stay safe and enjoy that lovely green garden.

Brenda Chapman said...

Susan - We've been watching the fires and worry for everyone in their path. I hope you are staying safe and well - harder to stay positive with so much going on around you. (we seem to have a good supply of locusts up here this summer.)

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Allbet!

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