As we slowly see new COVID cases rising I’ve been reflecting on how COVID has changed the way we live our lives. The impact is huge on our mental and physical health but many of us are minimizing how we feel because we realize that others always have it worse. Despite this, it’s important to realize how we respond and put the right things in place for our own health.

Ask for help. Help from friends and family (even if you can’t SEE them). Help from partners. Help from kids. I had to ask for help doing the morning routine. Based on my current work schedule I leave earlier in the morning. I get up earlier to account for this but it wasn’t enough and I needed help making the lunches. This allows me to participate more in homework and reading support.

Continue to slow down. Girl Guides isn’t allowing overnight events and we can’t go watch Jack play hockey (which is so sad!) so that means I have more time at home. I can cook on the weekends and I love to make new recipes. I can clean out one thing at a time – I did the utensil drawer last weekend. I’ve been reading more – both fiction and non-fiction. Take naps if that works for you! My pace is still faster than I would like and I’m always looking for more ways to enjoy a slower pace of life.

Find or rediscover a hobby. Is there something you used to do that you stopped doing? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve never tried? Movement is a big hobby of mine and I’ve loved doing new hikes. These include Charlie’s Lake, Highhead, Castle Lake, and Keji Seaside Adjunct. My kids have discovered geocaching, which will get them outside more. We picked up biking as a family in the spring and have kept that up as time passes. I love it. I tried knitting and that didn’t work well for my hands (my wrists have been bad since we redid our floors 12 years ago) and I would like to pick up meditating but that hasn’t happened yet. I have good intentions! I found my old piano books in the attic 2 days ago and I hope to relearn how to play – my brain doesn’t seem to work that way anymore.

Support your health. Drink your water, eat your veggies, move your body. Rest, laugh and use your brain. Sleep. What are your non-negotiables to health? Sleep is at the top of my list. Take your supplements and continue to focus on your health. I’ve revisited my supplements and am using them to leverage my health during the increased stress that COVID has brought. Address your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Continue to get your blood work done. If you have a new symptom don’t let it linger just because of COVID – get it looked at.

Embrace the shorter days. Cuddle up with a book and candles at night. Find a new favourite show to watch. Set dates to talk to friends. The season of darkness plus a pandemic is new to us. We’ve been through all of the other seasons since March. Winter is hard for many reasons. This year, let’s try to make the most of it. If you know you mind the darkness, get a SAD lamp to counteract that. Take your vitamin D. Make connections, even if they are from your own home. All of the above practices that I’ve mentioned still apply but may become even more important in the winter months. Buy yourself a cozy pair of pajamas or a housecoat. Get a warm blanket. Embrace hygge.

I don’t have it altogether, and I don’t expect you to have it all together either. All we can do right now is try to adapt the best we can. Try to keep ourselves healthy. Love ourselves and those around us. Each new season that comes brings a different set of challenges that we must face. There is joy and contentment to go around, even though it might be harder to find, it is there. How will you find it?