What Do We Do Now?

These question marks show that we have questions.

Millions of Canadians had their lives upended by COVID-19 this month. If you’re like me, you’ve suddenly found yourself without a job.

As a massage therapist who works in close proximity with vulnerable populations, I made the difficult-but-necessary decision to close my Parkdale home practice last Saturday, March 14. I’ve been living in self-isolation with no physical contact with another human since.

Well, what now? I admit I didn’t have a global pandemic contingency plan, but I do have a few ideas.

First…

We recognize that this is not the flu.

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus is not just the flu. It’s more like a highly-contagious, rapidly-spreading pneumonia that will overhaul our entire healthcare system if we let it. For starters, the fatality rate is higher, there’s currently no vaccine, and we haven’t built up an immunity over generations.

Please take this disease seriously. It’s coming whether we recognize the severity or not. Staying home and keeping a safe distance when we’re out is our best chance at protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.

We fact-check.

Misinformation can spread as quickly as the virus we’re trying to curtail. Most of us currently have more time on our hands, and we should use some of this time to fact-check the articles and memes that we share. This is a good habit to develop regardless.

At best, sharing misinformation is embarrassing. I’m sorry, but dolphins aren’t flocking to Venetian canals.

At worst, it’s dangerous.

Please take a moment to check your sources. Try here and here to start.

We remember our purpose.

Or, in my case, we shift our purpose.

Up until two weeks ago, I had a thriving massage practice. I helped women and trans folk in Toronto feel comfortable in their own skin, de-stress, and move without pain. I was often the best part of their day.

Suddenly, I was rendered unemployed for the foreseeable future. If I couldn’t work, I needed to find a new focus. Now, my temporary purpose is to convince as many of my fellow bodyworkers as I can to close down their businesses during this pandemic. Every closure is a small win.

We create.

My talented friends have been flooding my Facebook feed with their paintings, songs, and comedic sketches. It’s truly inspiring. And hey, some of it can be monetized.

We make videos. Sometimes, we cry in them.

I even wrote a Vanilla Ice parody rap out of sheer boredom. With 126 shares on Facebook, it’s easily the most popular content I’ve ever unleashed on the internet. You’re welcome.

We connect.

Call your mother.

If you don’t have one, or you don’t particularly care for yours, call my mother. She’s wonderful and she has a lot of love to give. (Hi, Mom!)

We move.

Listen, you don’t need to transform your entire home into a CrossFit gym. But you need to move your body in any way you can. I’ve been literally walking in circles in my backyard while listening to podcasts. The neighbours are surely getting suspicious.

My friend and brilliant writer, Sarah Kurchak, wrote this article about how to exercise when you’re depressed. It’s an older piece, but I think it’s relevant now. A lot of us are mourning our previous lives and struggling with anxiety and depression. Movement helps.

We sleep.

You know those extra hours of sleep you crave when your alarm goes off every morning? Now’s your chance! With more people working from home, or not working at all, we’ve freed up extra time that can now be used for glorious sleep.

I’ve been saying this for years: Sleep is life’s greatest elixir. Trust me, adequate rest will do more for your immune system than supplements and essential oils ever could. Plus, it’s free!

We give.

Are you still working? If you haven’t been affected financially, please consider buying gift certificates to local small businesses who have shut their doors because of this crisis. (Oh, hey. I sell gift certificates!)

Don’t have money to spare, but still want to help? Give blood.

Don’t have money to spare, still want to help, but you’re scared of needles? Join a local caremongering group and peruse their requests. You might have just what they need.

Don’t have money to spare, still want to help, but can’t leave your home? Lend an ear. Sometimes people just want to be heard.

We breathe.

Take a deep breath. Are you able to do so with ease? You’re already ahead of the game.

We wait.

For how long? I’m not sure.

But when we’re on the other side of this, we all go and get a #$%&ing massage.

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Looking to instantly feel better when this is all over? Subscribe to my mailing list to be the first to know when my Parkdale home massage studio will reopen.

Comments

  1. Nice one Nicki.
    You are such a great writer.
    Lovely piece and it inspired me to join the caremongers group in Ottawa.
    Another win for Nicki!
    Take care.

    1. Author

      Oh my. Thank you so much for the kind words, Amy! I hope the Ottawa caremongers group is a positive space for you.

  2. Thanks, for this. I really needed a pick me up and this did the trick. ❤

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for the kind words. We’re all just doing our best in these challenging times.

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