When I have told people that I have been housebound before, they are a little shocked. They think my life must have been idyllic, with grand parties, champagne, and hobnobbing. In reality, the countries my parents were posted to were far from that.
We were never posted to a country where we could freely take a walk. Let that sink in for a minute. The first time I took a walk was when I was 8, and I could cross our dead end street and play in the church park across the street from our house in Ottawa. At first I was terrified, it was like having a freedom I was completely unsure of. I learned to ride a bike that same year, and it was beyond any freedom I had ever been exposed to.
- Sure, we can’t congregate or sit and have coffee or dinner in a crowded restaurant. But we can walk and bike. That is a freedom that hasn’t been taken away, and you should appreciate it, love it, and have a lot of gratitude for it. Here in Canada, that is a beautiful freedom that I think we have forgotten we even have.
In times of crisis abroad, which there were many, too many to list. My Father always reminded me to research, research, research. Listen and read the experts. When you listen to the experts, not the ones that are the loudest, you can calm your own anxiety. The more information you have, the better off you will be.
2. In this case of Covid-19, I have read the stats, listened to the epidemiologists, the experts in the fields, not the politicians. When the infectious disease experts tell us to stay home, I listen, I read, i understand. I think of this as my duty to humanity, I do what the experts are telling us, to stay home, for however long it takes. I only go out once a week to get groceries, and with that errand, I have a process to decontaminate myself, the bags etc. coming into the house. Is it overkill. Probably, but I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want anyone else to get sick.
During times of Crisis, my Father went into a calm and steady state, but, he also didn’t take care of his health. Rarely eating, and often times, having a drink or two to unwind when he could finally think about sleep. I watched this unhealthy pattern, and in my 20’s, I changed my habits. It has been slow and gradual.
3. Scheduling in exercise and planning healthy meals is more important than ever now with Covid-19. I have dragged my son out on walks with the dog, we skateboard, bike, use scooters. I still follow a strict schedule with my Sweat App. We eat a lot of fruit and veggies, as long as they are available, I will keep going to the store once a week and buy them.
Growing up we were often in and out of periods of PTSD. I didn’t realize this until a few years ago, there was no word for what we were going through, there was also a clear perception that diplomats and their families were immune to hardships. Not all diplomats are the same, nor are their experiences. My Father was drawn to countries in crisis, he had a drive to help, and he was also a good leader/boss, so he was always sent to difficult postings. Mental resilience was my Father’s thing. He never sugar coated anything with me. His motto “Do what you can under difficult circumstances, and let the other stuff go.” Meaning don’t grieve over what you can’t do, only focus on what you can. It changes your perspective in every situation.
4. I am only focusing on what I can do. I can still walk, I can still face time friends, I can still dance, I still can hangout with my husband and son, I can still play fetch with my dog, I can still read, write, work. The list of I can’s goes on.
Humour. To be in the places I have, and the situations I have been put in. The only thing that both my parents instilled in me, was to have a good sense of humour. The more you laugh, the better off you will be.
5. I have done nothing but put on different accents, told really bad jokes, had tickle fights, given my dog a really bad groom, dressed up my dog in wigs… I mean, anything just to laugh, and to keep my son laughing. Sure, we are in a serious situation, but you can’t take every second seriously, that would be extremely depressing. Laughter is the best medicine.