By Asha N, a volunteer with the Edgemont Youth Press
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely turned all of our lives upside down in just a few short weeks. While there is no doubt we are living in an unprecedented time of challenge, perhaps it is also an extraordinary time of opportunity. Opportunity to slow down, to take care of one another and to remember the things that matter the most. For now, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I think we all deserve a dose of positivity and love. So, here are a few bits of hope. The simple, humane things, in a crazy, insane world.
- Enjoying Nature. While hundreds of thousands of frontline workers are surely not finding themselves with any extra time on their hands these days, some people are taking breaks from being cooped up at home by taking walks and enjoying the fresh air in the neighbourhood. As long as you are not showing symptoms and stick to physical distancing guidelines, public health officials are recommending we take advantage of the spring weather to get outside and get in some exercise.
- Neighbourhood Art. Related to the last item, the City of Calgary has definitely embraced the neighbourhood window walk! Create some art, drawings, and silly faces to put in your window. Then go for a walk and see what you can find!
- Porchraits.Another local initiative. Neil Zeller, a Calgary photographer who has lost much of his business shooting live events is now taking photos of families on their porch or through their windows with a long lens camera to maintain proper physical distancing. He is not charging for these photos, but clients can donate what they feel appropriate.
- Cheering for Healthcare Workers. Every day at 7 pm, when the hospital shift changes, in many neighbourhoods, residents are encouraged to get outside, echo, applause and cheer to show their appreciation for healthcare workers. Try going out tonight at 7pm!
- New Hobbies. For those finding themselves bored at home, tons of inner creativity has been channelled! Whether that be the Youtube channel my sister’s been talking about for years that she finally started, or time spent in the kitchen perfecting our cooking and baking skills.
- Decreased Air Pollution. With increased physical distancing, less of us getting on an airplane or into our cars, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen in continents and countries around the world. In China, emissions fell by 25% at the start of the year. In Europe and the United States, satellite images have shown nitrogen dioxide emissions fading away over Italy, Spain, New York, and Los Angeles. And National Geographic has shared the Venice canals are much clearer.
- Singing. Italians singing the national anthem from their balconies or streets wishing their neighbours a physically distant happy birthday!
- Volunteers + Helpers. Indeed, we often emerge from a crisis, stronger together. From the countless grocery stores dedicating an hour in the mornings to only elderly and vulnerable shoppers to the thousands of volunteers who have stepped up to phone strangers who may be feeling isolated. If you’re ever feeling a little down, just scroll through the YYC Covid-19 Volunteers Facebook page. Whenever someone posts anything from requesting grocery pick-ups to questions about self-isolation rules, there are dozens of responses within minutes.
- Connection with Friends + Family. While all members of the household working and living in close proximity 24/7 has its challenges, it also allows us to spend perhaps more time together than we’ve ever spent before. Even outside of those we live with, it’s crazy how scary times motivate us to virtually connect with those we may not have otherwise talked to as regularly in our everyday busy lives. Online cultural celebrations, family Zoom calls, and Netflix parties have all become welcome parts of my recent routine.
- Gratitude. You can’t deny that at some point over the past three weeks we’ve all felt an underlying sense of gratitude for both what we may have temporarily lost, but also for what we continue to hold near. Gratitude for frontline healthcare, grocery and transportation workers; gratitude for living in the community, city, province, and country in which we do; gratitude for a house to sleep in and food to eat; gratitude for our loved ones. Gratitude for what is most important in life.
These are not easy days. But, remember kindness always wins. Stay safe. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. We are in this together.