Never in a million years did I think back when I did my last Taking Stock post in December 2019 that my next one would see the world in the midst of a pandemic. I was so positive and optimistic about 2020 – a whole new fresh decade full of hope and promise. As we all know, it hasn’t been a great year so far as I’ve discussed in this post and this post.
It’s surreal isn’t it? I find myself waking in the mornings and for a moment hoping it’s all a bad dream but soon realising it isn’t. During the day I sometimes feel like I’m outside my body looking on as if watching a movie playing out. A scary movie like ‘Contagion’. How can this all be real, but then scientists have been warning of something like this for quite some time haven’t they, so I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised!
I’ve taken a step back from the blog and social media recently, as a means to reserve my energy (or what is left of it), to try and get on top of the fears and anxiety that this pandemic has triggered in me, and to try and put steps in place to keep my family safe. My posts will be sporadic for a while but I will post when I can.
For anyone who, like me, might be feeling overwhelmed and/or anxious, you might find this video helpful. In fact – I highly recommend EVERYONE watch it. FACE COVID – How To Respond Effectively To The Corona Crisis. In this brief animation, Dr Russ Harris, author of the international best-seller ‘The Happiness Trap’, illustrates how to use ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the Corona crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it. The video goes for 5 minutes and 23 seconds.
Here’s where you can also get a FACE COVID eBook – by Dr Russ Harris.
Making: New routines in my days, including disinfection time – all communal surfaces, doorknobs, light switches etc in the house.
Cooking: Healthy and nutritious meals to help boost and support our immune systems
Sipping: A Baileys on ice has become my 5pm staple to calm my nerves a little after the news of the day
Reading: For escapism is what I’d like to do but I just can’t seem to relax my mind enough to focus and concentrate on a book.
Looking: Forward to when this is all over and life returns to normal again … or whatever the new normal might be.
Listening: To news updates within reason. Not ALL day. Listing to nature otherwise.
Wishing: This never happened.
Enjoying: Cuddles and the divine purring of our kittens Axel and Amaya.
Liking: Some daily ‘outside’ time – a sit by the pool, a lie on the grass, a walk.
Loving: And appreciating and ever so grateful to have a home as my sanctuary and where I will hopefully sit out this pandemic till we get to the other side.
Buying: Disinfectant, Hand Sanitiser, Liquid Anti-Bacterial Soap dispensers is impossible right now. I think the toilet paper shortage has improved though.
Watching: The news enough to be kept informed but switching off as much as possible to protect my mental health.
Hoping: That this pandemic is over as soon as possible with as many lives saved as possible and that a vaccine is available ASAP!
Needing: Reassurance, Kindness, Love, Comfort, Hope.
Wearing: Shorts & T-shirts most of the time. Perhaps I should dress up sometimes to lift my spirits! What day should I nominate for dress up day?
Following: The news & have downloaded the new Australian Government’s Coronavirus App and WhatsApp feature.
Noticing: The lessons that will come from this crisis and ways that we will probably live differently once this is all over. More on this at the end of this post.
Sorting: Out this new way of life and how to do it and also adjusting to two new additions to the household (more in a separate post when I get a chance).
Getting: Anxious and scared a lot if I watch too much Coronavirus TV coverage.
Saving: My sanity is a daily trip to the great outdoors for a bit of nature’s healing.
Bookmarking: Nothing really – a bit preoccupied!
Coveting: An end to this pandemic!
Opening: Our eyes to how we live our lives, what we have always taken for granted, new habits we should take forward with us, and more … is this Coronavirus.
Giggling: Not as much as I’d like lately but the kittens do get a giggle out of me now and then.
Feeling: Sometimes all at once and sometimes one or two or three or more at a time: Afraid, Anxious, Worried, Stressed, Hopeful, Panicked, Moved, Proud, Inspired, Teary, Emotional.
Hearing: The ever present snores of my dog Ava – such a comfort at this time.
Obsessing: Over disinfecting surfaces in my home including benchtops, door knobs, light switches, fridge handles, dishwasher, phones, remote controls, anything that we all regularly touch. It is my new daily routine.
So there you go. A very different Taking Stock post indeed. On another note, obviously our little holiday to Kingscliff had to be cancelled. I have to say a huge thank you to Mantra on Salt Beach at Kingscliff for the free cancellation with no costs incurred by us. We will be rebooking when all of this is over for sure.
Life is very different at Write of the Middle (WOTM) HQ right now. The Tennis Player is working from home. My dining room table has become a work station. Oh the mess! Twin 1 had a trial day of working from home on Monday but had to go back into the office Tuesday (the time of typing this) and so we wait to hear if working from home will become a full time option for him going forward for the duration of this crisis. Twin 2 still has to go by bus to the city each day to work and there has been no option to work from home presented to him. As much as it’d drive me nuts having them home all the time this is what I want. Having my two sons go by bus to the city and home again every day is my greatest source of anxiety and compromises our ability to stay safe. My daughter is up in Cairns in Far North Queensland – probably safer up there than where I am in Brisbane – but I have no idea how long it will be until I can see her in person again.
Easter will be very different this year. Usually all of my family would be having lunch over at Mum’s on Easter Sunday. Not at all possible this year, but we will come up with another option where we can connect and be together – just not physically.
It’s very hard to do happy and upbeat posts at the moment due to the current global pandemic and the tragic consequences of it, but as humans we need hope and light and so I’d like to finish this post on a positive note. Here’s some positive things that I think we will be able to take from the experience of this crisis:
- We have been united as a HUMAN RACE. We are all in this together. This is not an Australian crisis or an American crisis or a European crisis etc … it is a GLOBAL crisis being experienced by all of us in the Human Race. This will be a shared global human experience. Shared experiences can build connections, cement relationships, and improve understanding, empathy and tolerance for each other.
- Humans will have supreme hygiene practices that we will hold on to even after we get to the other side of this. This can only be a good thing!
- We will never again take our freedom for granted. Simple things like a family barbecue at the park, going to the markets, and meeting a friend for lunch will be treasured moments. Gratitude will be understood and felt like never before.
- Respect, gratitude and admiration for our health workers, teachers and medical researchers and scientists will be heartfelt and ongoing.
- Families will be forced to spend time together. While this may be frustrating and irritating at times, it provides opportunity for improved communication and bonds that might otherwise have slipped by.
- Enforced and prolonged separation from loved ones will result in increased gratitude and appreciation for moments spent with loved ones when we get to the other side of this. It also will inspire new ways to create connectivity and shared moments together, when physical togetherness is not an option.
- Humans will realise what really is important in life and what is superfluous.
- More humans will go within for strength, support, and to find some calm. Mindfulness and meditation and the benefits of both will be better understood.
- Scientists will learn from this pandemic and this may help protect us and future generations from future viral threats.
- Environmental benefits! We’re seeing cleaner air and clearer waters due to less consumption of unnecessary goods and less transport on the roads, in the air, and boats in the waters. There is opportunity here to learn and do better going forward!
- The list goes on. There are so many lessons this crisis will teach us.
My next Taking Stock post is due at the end of June. Here’s hoping it can be a good news and positive one!
Please follow the advice of our Government (and your Government), stay home as much as possible, and stay safe. Sending loads of love to you and your family.
What positive things would you add to my list above? Please share them in the comments!
Ciao for now,
I can totally relate Mim. I feel that I am living in a sci-movie and my coronanxiety is off the charts. I too think that as terrible as this pandemic is, there are lots of positives and the ripple effect of these will make us happier and more compassionate humans in the future. In the meantime, I’m grateful for technology that keeps us connected with friends and family near and far which makes isolation less isolating. Sending you a big hug xx
Coronanxiety is a good word Sammie. I am having real trouble dealing with mine. Yesterday wasn’t too bad. Today isn’t a good day. I’m up and down. Though this pandemic is horrific it is impossible to not see the messages, learnings and opportunities for positive changes once this is all over. I’m grateful for technology too so that we can all remain connected and entertained. Imagine life at the moment without technology? Can’t bare the thought! Sending you a big hug too. I know it must be so hard for you being in a different country to your Mum, rellies and UK friends. xoxo
Hi Min, I loved your list of positive things that come out of this crisis. I find that I feel better when I see or hear positive things. Even the news seems to be trying to share more of the good things that are coming out during this time. I sincerely hope everyon in your family stays safe.
I feel much better when I read positive and hopeful things too Michele. I hope that you and your family stay safe too! xo
I am just trying to live life the best I can these days. It is so very weird but we will get through this. Thanks for all the tips and your positives. So very nice. #MLSTL
Thanks Patrick. I very much look forward to being on the other side of this!
I am restricting my media content and appreciating the good things right now, which includes my daily hike up the hill to enjoy the view of Canberra. Those that have easy access to open space are so lucky.
I’ve had to restrict my media content too Serena. It was having a devastating effect on me. A daily hike up a hill to enjoy the view of Canberra sound wonderful! It’s times like this, I wish I were living in the country. It’s always been my dream to live more rurally. Hopefully I will one day. Take care! xo
I love your list of positives and I agree wholeheartedly with them. One thing I have observed with my son who is in his late 20’s – instead of using Tinder for quick hook-ups they are forced to communicate for an extended period of time, backwards and forwards with messages. Rather like the way we met people when we were that age. This enforced lock-down will have many positives like this – improved communication, less filling our lives with busyness as we dashed all over the place. By being forced to slow down, we can truly appreciate what we have around us already. Not being able to just go to the shops and buy stuff will help us to live with less. We’ll never see life the same again.
My son’s are in their late 20’s too Christina (both still at home). Yes it’s a good thing for young people to be forced to communicate ‘old style’ with other humans as too much is done via devices these days. There’s lots of positives but I agree – we will never see life the same again after this. Take care and stay safe! xo
Hi Min – I’m not feeling anxious at all because we live in a very safe area and are happy spending the majority of our time at home. The video and e-book were excellent and I sent them to my hub (the Counsellor) to put up links to on his website and FB page.
I’m enjoying the solitude and peace, I miss my kids and grandgirls, but have been in contact with them a LOT virtually so don’t feel the distance to badly. Our nephew’s wedding was cancelled for this weekend so that was a visit with the kids missed, then Easter will be a write off (I have their easter eggs sitting here waiting for a possible later date – or we’ll eat them all!!)
My biggest way of coping is to focus on the positive and to enjoy the funny memes – fretting and worrying just makes the stress and anxiety layer on top of everything and I don’t need that. I hope you find a happy balance between being safe and being overly anxious – we’ll get through this xx
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊
Hi Leanne – oh how I envy your absence of anxiety. Mine is heightened mainly because my two sons are going out into the city every day and back home again and it feels like playing russian roulette. It reduces our chances of staying safe no matter how much I clean and disinfect. I also worry about my mother alone on the other side of Brisbane, though I check in with her via phone/facetime every day and my sister who lives closer will now get her groceries for her. One thing I am good at is staying home. I’m an introvert. I’m a homebody. I’m not climbing the walls. I’m ok with that. I’m trying to focus on positives and tell myself that we will all get safely to the other side of this. Let’s hope so. xo
I sometimes feel guilty for not being sad or angry at this time that many are feeling grief and heartache. My own son is struggling with being “trapped” at home. But I feel ok.
During this time I’ve been able to work on building my blog and YouTube channel. I’ve grown closer to my mom, whom I’m staying with at the moment. And I still get to go outside since we live in a less densely populated area so trails and sidewalks are all but empty.
I feel horrible for people that are struggling with so many issues right now, including possibly losing a loved one. And this is why I feel a bit guilty for still having a good life during this pandemic.
You asked what positive thing I can add? I’ve grown closer to my mom, who I was never close to before all this. I actually speak to my kids, who are young adults, more often. I guess when they are bored they call mom.
I’m fortunate and very grateful that my life is ok.
Coming from #MLSTL 🙂 Shared.
Hi Allison, there’s no need to feel guilty at all. We all react and cope differently with things like this. It’s so good that you’re seeing and feeling the positives and how lovely to have grown closer to your Mom and to have improved contact and communication with your kids. Thanks for sharing your positives! xo
I can feel your anxiety in your words Min and can relate to your worries. It is a hard time for many and with your sones still working outside the home the worry is there all the time for you. I’m glad the kittens are bringing you some joy and I hope this all settles down soon as many are really struggling in so many ways. Take care of yourself #mlstl
Oh dear – it’s that obvious! lol It’s true though Deb – I’m very anxious and for good reasons. Take good care of yourself too! xo
Hi Min, I hope you and your family all stay healthy. It’s a challenging time. I’m glad you have your dog and cats to keep you company. Pets are known to help reduce stress. I’ve been able to stay calm and stick to my routine with some minor adjustments (e.g. exercises at home because the gym is closed). Take care. #lovin’lifelinky
Hi Natalie, it sure is a challenging time for us all. Good to hear your managing everything well but then that doesn’t surprise me as you’re so good at that! Take care and stay safe. xo
Hi Min, I hope you and your family are okay and I’m glad that you have stepped away from social media for a while as it can become overwhelming and distressing. It is a very anxious time however, I’m trying to use this time to reflect on changes I want to make in my life when we return to normality. I’m still going for a walk or run by the ocean which is very soothing and I’m very lucky to have a comfortable home and technology to stay connected with family and friends. Please take care and thanks for writing this heartfelt post and sharing at #MLSTL. x
Hi Sue, yes general media and social media and all the catastrophising, drama and speculation were just way too much for me to cope with so backing away was the only option. I’m glad you can still manage to go on your beach runs and walks as I know how much you love those – both for your physical and mental health. Take good care of yourself. xo
I’m grateful for technology and space to walk & that I live on the Sunshine Coast and not in Sydney anymore. Yes, this thing does worry me – possibly more than I let on, or rather more than I’m choosing to let on. As an asthmatic, the idea of what it can do absolutely petrifies me but I’m more worried about my parents in Sydney – Dad has a non-TB lung disease that took ost of last year to contain. I can, however, only do what I can do to keep us safe and I’m doing my best to look ahead.
Hi Jo – yes I’d rather be living on the Sunshine Coast then Sydney at the moment too. I can’t pretend I’m not anxious when I have two sons going to the city on buses and home again every day. It means my home coccoon is penetrated by the outside world every day and thus reduces my ability to keep us safe. I can understand the worry you have about your parents as I’m worried about my Mum (nearly 79) living alone on the other side of Brisbane too. We’re all doing the best we can under difficult circumstances though. Some good things have happened though – a new FB group chat formed with my cousins and aunties and a cousin runs a weekly meditation on zoom for any of us interested. It’s brought us all together as a comfort to each other during this time. We’re all across NSW and Qld. I’m loving your sunrise and beach shots and envy your ability to still access the beach. Enjoy! Take care of yourself! xo
Your post, so sensitively told, resonated with me because you have told the situation ‘as it is’ for you….and I suspect many. Even without a diagnosis of anxiety, there is a low level buzz of uncertainty. I said that as such to my GP on Monday as he is now doing phone consults and he said he too was feeling unsettled.
Those tools you shared are very helpful. I do find the work of Russ Harris helpful too. Great that he put that up so quickly in response to COVID.
Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is 14/51 Self-Care Stories #2. 6.4.2020 and I hope to see you link up then too. Denyse.
Yes I think you ‘get it’ Denyse. So much uncertainty. I can relieve my anxiety but only need to watch the news for it to shoot right back up again. I hope that many find Russ Harris’s video and ebook helpful. Take care & stay safe. xo
I celebrated my birthday on the 24th and I haven’t felt so connected to those around me in a long time. They called and we had genuine conversations. Messages were thoughtful and generous. I think we are all going to come out of this and know what’s important to us and what isn’t. I’m interested now to see how that shapes us moving forward.
Happy Birthday Melissa! That’s fabulous that you’re so connected with your family and friends. I’m loving that my cousins and aunties have all come together in FB Messenger chat and we’re keeping in touch and lifting each others spirits and sharing ideas and one cousin holds a meditation once a week via zoom. So I agree that there is some good coming from this and that it’s a wake up call to us all as to what really is important and what isn’t. xo
That’s awful you’re so anxious. If you’re staying home it seems the biggest risk is your kids going out working. Have they pushed for working from home? It wasn’t offered to one of my daughters (who’s a public servant) while it was entirely possible given her role but she insisted. Otherwise she was prepared to take leave. Her husband has to go out to work but when he returns he takes off his clothes immediately for washing and then showers. If they have to keep working, maybe try that. You know the chances are extremely low of catching it if you’re being very careful so do what you can and try and relax a bit about it. I’m being very careful but still feel calm, even though I’m one of those immunocompromised ones. I’m more concerned about the world at large and poor countries which have no way of fighting it. Good luck.
Hi Christine – yes the biggest risk and greatest cause of my anxiety is my two (of three) kidults living at home that are going out to work in the city and back home again each day. Good idea for me to ask them to shower and I wash their clothes when they get home. At the moment i tell them to go straight to wash their hands before they touch anything and I get the eye rolls. I’m not sure how asking them to strip and shower will go but I could give it a try! Where my boys work (different places) is deemed ‘essential service’. At this stage they’re not being given the option to work from home (though one did a trial day of it but nothing has come from it). I have an immune deficiency and spent two months very sick with pneumonia late last year. I guess that is why my anxiety is rather high! Take care! xo
I liked that video. Excellent! The right way to go about these difficult days.
I need to implement a Bailey’s get happy hour over here. And I need to turn off the news. I have it going from the moment I step out of bed until I crawl back in at night. Today, I have finally pulled myself a way a little to get some things done.
Thankful you have those sweet kittens, Axel and Amaya, for snuggles. Our kitties have been pretty cuddly, too. But I missing the arms of my granddaughters around my neck.
Stay healthy, my friend.
Oh Leslie I hope you’ve reduced how much you’re watching the news! And yes, implement a Bailey’s happy hour. I highly recommend! I hope you have those granddaughters arms around your neck again very soon. Stay well and safe, and thankyou! xo
Love the “opening our eyes” bit. Agree! Definitely a wake up call in all this.
I’ve turned off the news. Binge watching Netflix instead. Much happier Leanne.
Yes it’s made an enormous difference to my mental health by switching off the news. I’m informed but not as traumatised!