oof. I mean, big oof. now is a rough time to be working in communications, but it's a rough time for all of us. hopefully, you're holding out okay during the current COVID-19 outbreak. here in BC, more and more things are being shut down, and the situation is evolving rapidly. I'm going to try to update this page with some of the stuff that's helped me. you can always reach me if you need to talk.
if you're interested, I wrote a reflective piece for my writers group—a snapshot of how I was feeling during this situation. I'm still trying to navigate those feelings of grief, gratitude, and fear.
let's be scared together,
hello, fellow british columbians! fellow canadians! resources for you:
visit public health sites for information. for good news, read on:
if you watch these free streams, please consider donating to the arts organizations hosting them! they need your support now more than ever.
do work. read books. play games. bake bread.
say anything – in case you need a place to put your thoughts, I've created a world called in times of pandemic on your world of text. it's just an infinite field where you can type things anonymously.
help a stranger – Kindness of Strangers is looking for people to give 30 minutes of their time to remotely help someone who needs it. lend your expertise (tax help, homeschooling, resume writing, anything!) or just help people be a little less lonely. or, if you need help, connect with a Kind Stranger in the network!
tackle a writing project – the NaNoWriMo team has launched #StayHomeWriMo, seven weekdays worth of activities to support your physical, mental, creative, and social well-being. Plus, Camp NaNoWriMo coming up, and they've already got this online community thing down. join a writing group, watch youtube livestreams for real-time prompts, post on the forums and stay connected while you write.
take care of your mental health – this outbreak is likely causing some extra stress. take care of you. *hugs*
read to your friends – some friends from a forum and I are responding to the self-isolation that COVID-19 has imposed on the world by returning to an age-old tradition: oral storytelling. we're reading stuff for each other. both the reading and the listening has been a major comfort. you can listen to me reading here.
read (or write!) zines – check out the quarantine zine club to browse their online zine library or submit your own!
cook or bake – restaurants are closed and grocery shopping during a pandemic can be tricky. my tip: check out myfridgefood.com. you can quickly select ingredients you already have at home and it will suggest recipes. these ain't gourmet recipes, but it's a perfect way to quickly generate ideas for your next meal with what you have on hand.
go for a walk – please be responsible and continue to practice social distancing while outdoors, but get outdoors if you can! I know that getting out of the house for a walk can be a mood booster for me. going for a jog early in the morning has also helped me start the day off feeling energized. and of course, if you can't get out in nature at the moment, you can always enjoy a calming virtual walk («shameless self-promotion).
stay active – I struggle with fitness at the best of times, and this isn't the best of times. but I know staying active is important for my body and mind. there are a million tips out there. here is some of the stuff that helps me:
practice self-keeping – this pandemic has caused major disruption to our daily routines. you may be struggling a bit to do the basics. I like to think of "self-keeping" as something separate from self-care. to me, it's the practice of being responsible for ourselves and tending to our everyday needs. my self keeping page lists a few of the small things that help me. at a time like this, the little things matter.
journal – I write to make sense of things. in times of crisis (and this pandemic is unlike anything in living memory), making time for reflection can help us process our feelings and care for our mental health. the student counseling services at Connecticut College have put together a list of journal prompts to facilitate coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
learn to draw – draw along with Disney Animator Michael Woodside as he teaches you to draw characters like Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Olaf, and all your favourites from Disney's classic and recent animated films. see also: lunch doodles with Mo Willems
support artists – Matthew Burrows has started the #ArtistSupportPledge. here's how it works: if you're an artist, post images of your work you are willing to sell for no more than 200 dollars each (not including shipping.) every time you reach 1000 dollars of sales, you pledge to buy another artist's work for 200 dollars. hop on the hashtag and make a pledge or discover new artists who could use your support.
remember to take care of the little things – here are some general things to keep in mind (especially for folks working at home):
share your story – the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is collecting and sharing stories about community, compassion and care during the COVID-19 pandemic. join this public conversation by creating a short video to share your experience in your own words.
for more thoughts on how to make lockdown a little better, check out this twitter thread from @PeterMartin_PCM
images courtesy of Drawing Change
on saturday, may 16th, join the BC stay-at-home campout to raise funds for the BC Centre for Disease Control foundation. donate, plan your campout, share some pictures, spread the word!
capitalism makes us vulnerable in these situations. there are a lot of people who've lost jobs, had their hours cut back, have to stay home to take care of kids pulled out of school, etc. consider donating to your local food bank. donating money is better than food because food banks are able to buy in bulk and get deals that you as a consumer could never.
I'll be honest—things started to hit home for me when the show I was meant to see on march 13th was cancelled. my local arts club stages, civic theatres, art galleries and other organizations are all closed. it's a tough time to be an artist. now's the time to buy a gift certificate for your arts club. use it later, when we can safely gather again. if you bought a ticket for a show that's been cancelled, consider donating your refund.
in vancouver, the loss of ticket revenue threatens the future of the aquarium, which is home to more than 70,000 animals. you can help save the aquarium by buying an aquarium/whitecaps facemask, donating, fundraising, or writing your MP.
the need for blood doesn't stop just because we're self-isolating. if you feel healthy and are comfortable doing so, make an appointment to donate blood. take the usual precautions to keep yourself healthy (wash your hands, don't touch your face, etc.) and you shouldn't be at any extra risk. *note: COVID-19 is not a blood-borne virus and there is no evidence to suggest it can be carried by blood.
every wednesday is canada takeout day. take a break from home cooking and support your local restaurants, if you can!
go on a supply run for those who can't do it themselves. check in on loved ones who might be struggling with stress or anxiety due to the pandemic and all the panic it's causing. offer to watch other people's kids if they're struggling with childcare. be a helper. and look for the helpers.
in Vancouver, and cities around the world, you'll hear folks cheering and making a racket for healthcare professionals each night a 7pm. it may not feel like much, but it reminds us we're all in this together. there are plenty of ways to show your gratitude. put hearts up in your window or thank the cashiers when you go to the grocery store. and if you see that frontline workers are in vulnerable working conditions—write to your local representatives and urge them to take action.
provincial level: contact your MLA (BC); federal level: contact your MP
"What You Can Actually Do to Help Right Now – Kate Morgan
CBC's Lives Remembered aims to tell the stories of the people who have died during this pandemic. To remember them, honour them, and help us all understand the experience of the many Canadians who have lost loved ones and are now struggling to grief at a time when we cannot be together.