People normally gather in the suburbs, in parks or near beaches to honour the many soldiers that have fought for our freedom, and there is an official parade in the city.
Not this year. Due to the restrictions we could not do this. Instead, the government urged people to honour a minute’s silence at dawn by lighting a candle and stand in their driveway or on their balconies.
This morning I woke at 5.50am with no alarm. My spirit wanted to join in and feel the connection in spite of us all being apart.
I put on my gym jacket over my pjs and made my way out on my balcony. It was still dark outside but I noticed quite a few lights out on the street and on balconies across from me.
As 6 o’clock ticked over the distant sound of the bugle playing announced the time to remember and take a moment of silence. It was both eerie and very special. I felt proud to call Australia home.
As the sun rose the only sound I could hear was the birds chirping. I breathed in the fresh air and decided now would be an excellent time to follow with a Yin yoga session. To breathe, to reflect and to look inwards.
After 30 minutes of stretching and holding poses I never thought I could do just 5 weeks ago, I watched the sky turn a bright blue. It was a beautiful autumn day, and today yoga was not enough. A brisk walk was what I needed after a week working from home, and I put on my shoes and cap and ventured out.
A walk in my neighbourhood full of bright sunshine, blue sky and trees adorned with amazing autumn colours.
Another week has gone by in this strange Covid-19 stay-at-home lifestyle. This has now been my life for almost five weeks. I have accepted it and maybe as an introvert it has not been too hard to adjust. Like everyone, I long to be around people, to have the freedom to get out and about whenever and wherever and with whoever I want. But for now we all just have to make the most of the situation. My motto in life has always been ‘if you cannot control the change then either accept it or do something about it’. Feeling like a victim and just complaining will not change anything.
So how do I cope and make the most of what this virus has thrust upon us all on a global scale?
But then I accepted my circumstances, and with acceptance came a strong focus and desire to learn, develop and to look for activities that gave me a deeper satisfaction. The start of an inward journey, a reflection, a slowing down.
To look after my health both physically and mentally became a driving force. I have a natural interest in nutritious food and health. My old uni studies into biology/nutrition and later Reiki/Massage therapy and personal training has provided me with an excellent base to look after myself. Trust me, I’m no angel. I know how to indulge in terrible food and couch binge on Netflix like a pro, but I love healthy food and exercise more.
So here are the things I have implemented. Not all at once, but bit by bit as my body and my mind craved them.
I have connected a lot more online with friends and family. Zoom meetings and messenger video chats are now a regular pass-time. It seems with the social distancing rule of staying physically apart our social connections have increased. With more free time and not rushing around ‘doing stuff’ we now have more time to nurture our relationships with people we care about.
Every Friday night my girlfriends and I meet up for a drink and a bite to eat online. We chat and we laugh; we share our fears and our hopes, and most importantly we stay connected. It’s a gathering we all look forward to.
I have loved yoga for a long time, but because of shoulder issues I could not do much till recently. This epidemic has renewed my love for this exercise. I now do a 30 minute Yin stretch class online every morning in the fresh air on my porch and after a few weeks I am so much more flexible and stronger. Even on a mental level. The focus on your breathing brings you into the now and helps reduce stress about the future. With daily changes, we cannot plan tomorrow. We can only focus on one day at a time. Today.
I still work five days from home, which means a lot of sitting in front of the computer. Not having to commute means we move so much less than on a normal working day. It is so important to incorporate movement into your day. At least twice during my working day I put on some loud dance music, plug my blue tooth earplugs in and dance like no-one is watching. Hang on, no-one is watching! It gets me moving and makes me feel good.
I have also found a strange love for Les Mills cardio classes on YouTube. Never been a massive fan, but for some reason doing Body Combat with 7000 other people feels invigorating and for a brief moment makes you forget you are by yourself at home. Heart pumping and loads of feel good endorphins rushing through your body.
I love writing and creating stories. Into my forth draft edit of a romance suspense novel. Had plans to finish another draft, then send it off to agents. But 2020 has so far been draining. First, we had the horrendous bushfires here in Australia, then it flooded and now we have Covid-19. I have felt a lack of any creativity. I decided early on to not push myself. To just focus on adjusting, on work and on myself. But I want to ignite the muse again, hence the reason for these ramblings. So I registered for two online writing courses with The Australian Writers Centre. I have 12 months to finish them in, but I plan to do them much sooner. It will give me some focus, teach me some new skills and get me back to my manuscript and to writing.
From the love of nutritious healthy food, the next step into growing my own vegetables seemed a natural one. My only issue is I live in an apartment. I do have a wonderful porch, large enough for a few pots. So I bought a few seedlings; climbing beans, tomatoes and snow peas. They have doubled in size and seem to be thriving. It has been a long time since I have grown anything and it has surprised me how much enjoyment I get from it. Checking on them every morning is now a routine I look forward to. In addition to my outdoor vegetable project, I also bought a Micro-greens plant box that now sits in my kitchen window seal waiting to grow enough for me to cut and put into a delicious salad or smoothie.
The nutrition we put into our bodies is so important, and even more so now. Despite my family no longer living with me, I make sure I still cook myself delicious and nutritious meals. I eat lots of vegetables and fish. No other meat apart from the occasional bacon with my breakfast. Like this morning’s scrambled eggs with bacon, spinach and parsley; mouthwatering as it’s a treat these days. I find the more I focus on eating healthy food, the fewer cravings I have for unhealthy food. But yes, chocolate cravings still exist. Sometimes you just have to indulge and be ok with it.
The benefits of pets are many. Watching them go on with their daily lives seems somehow relaxing. Their simple needs of food, shelter, and love brings us right back to basics. Reminds us to appreciate the simple things we still have in our lives. Nothing is better than cuddling up to a pet and forgetting about the outside world. My cat Schnooks, now almost 18 years, is an old girl. She doesn’t jump as much as before, need a bit of help to get up onto a sunny chair and sleeps/snores an awful lot. But since working from home she has been my constant companion and pretty much never leaves my side. Where ever I am she follows and finds herself a comfortable place to sleep. I think we will both find it hard to go back to working away from home.
The Australian government advised us to stay at home here in Sydney except for essential trips to go to work, to the supermarket for food or for medical reasons. We can also go out for exercise with the people we live with or with one friend, but are encouraged to do so by ourselves. During the week I stay at home as I work all day. I find I have no desperate need to get out. I love my home and feel very comfortable in my own company. Never get bored.
But on weekends, if the weather is sunny, I long to get out either to the beach or nature. So I get up early and go to a quiet natural park next to our local beach. It’s quiet except from the noises of birds and animals in the bush. On a typical 45-minute walk I might see ten people, all staying far apart, practising the 1.5mth social distancing. All the park benches are now blocked off stopping people from gathering or staying long.
It’s peaceful, and a brilliant time to reflect and exercise at the same time. Plus on this morning’s walk I found a few dead branches/sticks that I think may come in handy for my climbing vegetables.
Walking in the bush also provides me a chance to take a few photos.
Photos are only taken with my iPhone as I haven’t had the desire to grab my Canon yet.
Interesting how my creative side took a dive with Covid-19.
I wonder if anyone else has felt it? The lack of creativity. How are you coping?
So many thoughts run through my mind these days. I don’t know where I am going with this post, but I have a powerful urge to put pen to paper and try to explain what has happened to us all. What’s happening to me and to us from my eyes and my perspective. We are all going through this together but with our own unique experiences.
In typical Australian slang we have ‘affectionately’ nick-named this virus Rona. It makes it appear less threatening, but we are still witnessing a historic moment unfolding before our eyes. We are part of it. Documentingit from a personal point of view is important. For future generations to understand what it was like, and perhaps for us to remember and learn from.
I try, and mostly succeed, to stay positive and make the most of this ‘exile’ that Covid-19 has forced us into. But I also suffer many moments where my mind takes me into a deep sadness. When I think of the future; wonder when this will all end. Anxiety takes hold then, and I worry if I will ever see my family again and hug them tight.I try to not go there and rather stay in the moment. Worrying serves no purpose, but I am human like everyone else.
Life is so precious and we are now all witnessing just how precious and how quickly we can lose it. On a global scale it has reminded us of our own mortality; we witness the loss of so many lives; we feel the crippling grip that anxiety produces; how vulnerable we all are and mostly how much we depend on each other. How connected and alike we are no matter what race, religion or political stand we may take in life. This virus does not care what colour our skin is or which member of parliament we vote for. We are all equal in this.
This virus has turned lives upside down across the whole globe, and we seem to find ourselves as earth’s actors in Groundhog Day. Social restrictions has peeled back life to a simple routine of staying home as much as possible; of eating, exercising, working and doing things in our home.
For me I am lucky enough to be able to work for a company that has allowed us to work from home. I have been home for over three weeks with my work desk set up in my bedroom. I reduced my commute from 20km each way to 1.5mtrs. I no longer need an alarm to get me up on time. My car sits in my garage pretty much all the time apart from a weekly drive to keep it going, often to a remote part for some sanity and exercise in the fresh air.[wpvideo x8UTw6IE ]
I am blessed with a wide veranda and as the weather in Sydney is still sunny I spend a lot of spare time out there. I have enough space for a dining table,a small area for a few pots of vegetables (I’m a newbie gardener) and an open space for my yoga mat. Enormous trees in front of my veranda are often a popular hangout for local birds, and despite Sydney being a big city it is peaceful and I am part of nature.
It is Easter Sunday and many are experiencing the loss of connecting with family, even more so today. We are not allowed to visit over this break. My family are all over the world so big family gatherings do not happen often. Still, that doesn’t make today any easier. I connected with my girls on Zoom earlier today. We laughed and chatted and were also saddened by the distance and absurdity of this whole experience, knowing we no longer have the choice to just hop on a plane. I was only days away from booking a trip in August this year to see my family in Denmark and my daughter in San Francisco when this all hit. This is now on hold…….typing this brings me to tears.
The emotions of these weird and scary times always silently lurking under the surface; only routine and immersing myself either in work or my favourite activities seem to be able to ease my mind. In fact, routine seem to be the saviour in these strange times; the routine grounds us, makes us feel nurtured and in control in a world that right now feels out of control.
Many are no doubt going through the same negative emotions, but I also want to acknowledge there is so much positive in this experience. I have poured my emotional brain out in this post; a bit of a ‘no filter’ post, butI need it to get me back into writing. My muse went on holidays when Covid-19 hit.
In my next post on my experience on Rona, I will focus on the positives coming out of this. Amongst the vast amount of despair, sadness and fear there are countless examples of positive aspects. It’s essential we hold on to that while riding this out.
Stay well peeps, stay at home and wash your hands.