Please don’t underestimate the challenge to your mental health that COVID-19 represents. A University of Toronto study of people under quarantine during the SARS epidemic found 31 percent experienced depression and 29 percent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It's not unreasonable to expect a much greater mental health impact from the current crisis. We’re here to help you weather the storm with proven wellness practises that will safeguard your health. It’s our deepest wish that you emerge from this period of self-isolation stronger than ever, both mentally and physically, with new skills, habits and pastimes that will serve you well in the months and years ahead. Let’s get started!
ONE CAREMONGERING QUOTE
“Anxiety, isolation and lack of hope affects you. In providing this virtual community which allows people to help each other, I think it is really showing people there is hope for humanity.”― Valentia Harper, founder of Canadian social media groups that have been set up to offer and ask for help, a movement called “caremongering”
A self-isolating couple in Rome dance cheek to cheek as Astaire and Rogers are projected onto the side of their apartment building. (Lynne, who fancies herself as somewhat of an Astaire-Rogers scholar, met her match on LinkedIn. Together she and Keith determined that the audio is from the movie Top Hat, but the visual is from Swing Time.)
#1 LIVE AND LET'S LEARN We’re fortunate to be living in the golden age of learning. Never before in history has so much knowledge been so freely available to so many, and presented in such a captivating way. There are 450 free Ivy League courses available online that cover everything from Shakespeare to computer programming. We challenge you to select a course from the list of 450 and use your time at home to add a new skill to your repertoire, and more importantly, to enter the relaxing, expansive, and invigorating mental space of learning. Addie wants to understand what makes some people more altruistic than others, and learn how to become more altruistic, so she's signed up for Harvard's Effective Altruism: Effective altruism is built on the simple but unsettling idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good one can. In this course you will examine this idea's philosophical underpinnings; meet remarkable people who have restructured their lives in accordance with it; and think about how effective altruism can be put into practice in your own life.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ― Benjamin Franklin
If you can't find anything on the Ivy learning list, YouTube has a channel of expert-curated learning videos called the Learning Playlist
.#2 MOVE YA BODY Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases who is working tirelessly to fight the coronavirus pandemic, finds time to run 3.5 miles a day. And he's 79! Moving your body recharges both physically and emotionally and is one of the best forms of stress management. Most of us have been thrown out of our regular routines of physical activity, but thanks to technology, there's a home fitness regimen for everyone. Lynne was amazed to discover this week how a small towel can make for some big-time muscle aches. Explore how to move ya body at home with guided high-intensity interval training, yoga or Latin dance. Take some time to create a customized home fitness routine and you might just discover a whole new level of wellbeing.
“If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.”– Fred DeVito
#3 FIND SHELTER IN A POEM March 21 was World Poetry Day. Poems offer wisdom, uplifting ideas, and language that encourages reflection that can help us slow down and centre mentally, emotionally, and spiritually during difficult times. You can find a curated selection of poems at poets.org or, better yet, write your own poem.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--over and over announcing your place in the family of things.– From Mary Oliver's poem Wild Geese
The Fast Five
1. How to actually get work done at home.
2. We have social distancing, but we need psychological distancing.
3.Starbucks offers employees 20 free therapy sessions per year (they may need to up that).
5. Portrait Artist of the Year. (You can't get much further away from the news cycle than this.)
*********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE
DESIGN YOUR DAY
“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”– William Blake describes his romantic routine
For many of you, recent events have resulted in a toxic cocktail of isolation, uncertainty and disruption. The openendedness of the viral crisis can leave you feeling out of control. The goal of this 5-Minute Challenge Exercise is to give your day structure, incorporate wellness practises, and set you up for the better days ahead.Simply set up a daily design, incorporating as many wellness—sleep, step, sweat, reflect, and connect—practices as possible.
Here’s an example to inspire you:
I love allowing the first of hour of the morning after breakfast--my "commute time"--to read or listen to one of my favourite podcasts while enjoying a cup of coffee. Seth Godin says I should consume only five minutes of news per day, but I devote no more than ten minutes to a review of the news. When the hour is up, it's time to dive into work. I do some deep work for a couple of hours with a five-minute break every half-hour or so to walk around or do a small chore (during such a break I actually washed one window!). After a deep work session, it's off for an hour-long walk with the dogs (I'm checking the movement, reflection, and nature boxes.) Upon returning, it's lunchtime. The afternoon is for administrative tasks and connection--such as email and meetings and catching up with people at a virtual coffee machine. Again, I try to break it up with short restorative breaks. I bookend my day with an online workout--either yoga or cardio. It's tempting to turn the evening into an extended Netflix binge, but I try to mix it up with knitting, planning a painting, working on the 2,000 piece puzzle I have on the go, learning some more Italian with Duolingo, or connecting via video with friends and family, the choice dependent on how I am feeling. Before I know it, it's time for bed. If there's one thing on my schedule that's non-negotiable, it's the eight hours I devote to sleep that I ease into with a good physical book and a few moments of gratitude.
The idea isn't to design your day like a boot camp (unless you like that kind of thing) but to give you some rough structure, bookending the workday so that it doesn't take over your home life, and scheduling an assortment of wellness activities that you enjoy. Don't leave the day to chance and the possibility you might slip into a rabbit hole, burrowing deeper and deeper into bad news, then flop on the couch for a triple Netflix feature of Contagion, Outbreak and Pandemic, washed down with shots of tequila. Be kind to yourself. Don't expect you will be as productive as you usually are, and forgive yourself if you do slip into that rabbit hole.
“Look for magic in the daily routine.” ― Lou Barlow
Wishing you a calm, safe and steady week ahead,Lynne & Addie
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