Anxiety and the Coronavirus

It’s a super gorgeous Spring day here. The birds are singing again, the goldfish in our pond are awake and flashing their brilliant orange. You would never imagine that the world is battling a pandemic caused by coronavirus. and that we are self-isolating.

Here in Nova Scotia, we had the first case just a few short weeks ago and now there are 262 confirmed cases. The entire province’s population is 1,000,000, so our numbers are low. But like the rest of Canada, we are in self-isolation at home.

Cat in Self-Isolation.   “Why are all the people so stressed out?”

Two weeks ago I felt anxious all the time. The 24/7 news cycle of horror, and the unprecedented global nature of the virus felt overwhelming. I thought I was turning into Neo in the Matrix movie when Morpheus horrifies him with the news that life on earth is now a computer simulation because the actual world has been obliterated.

Evening in the dining tent, Cameron Lake, 1994. ©Flora Doehler

But by far my worst anxiety was about the safety of our grown son and daughter in Berlin and in Montreal. It made sense to Larry and me that they both come home to be with us to ride out the pandemic.

Well, we weren’t on the same page, to say the least. Yet, as other parents know : once a parent, always a parent. Our love for them is unconditional and it’s in our DNA to keep our children (no matter the age) safe and cared for. As it turns out, they were wiser than we were. Both are fine, working from home and adapting quite well (dare I say ‘better than their mother’?) to the extreme behavioral adaptations we’ve all had to make to lessen the spread of the virus.

So this last week, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to change the fear I feel by changing my outlook. In no particular order, this has included:

  1. trusting that our kids are doing what is needed to stay safe
  2. limiting my news consumption
  3. listening to calming, meditative music on SoundCloud
  4. treating this time as a pause and a chance to assess life
  5. preparing healthy meals for Larry and me
  6. making creative plans for the future
  7. planning an even bigger vegetable garden this year
  8. coming back to the many activities around the house that I’ve postponed
  9. spending time in my studio painting
  10. working on practicing yoga and meditation
  11. appreciating the past, present and future times with my life partner Larry

I’ll bet you have some great tips that are helping you get through the mental worry part. I’d like to hear them.

I’m sure that books will be written about coping strategies, but also about positive spin-offs to this new era. I am hoping that countries will learn that we can all cooperate on finding  medicine and a vaccine for the virus. After that we can solve the climate crisis together. I truly hope that will be next.

Who ever thought that a virus would happen this year that would bring worldwide unemployment and close down everything like a Sunday in Canada in the 60’s?

May you and your loved ones be safe, stay home and go easy on yourself.

Little paintings in the studio and the last tulips for sale in Digby.
Disconnecting from the news.