We've been facing our NEW normal. I see some are having a hard time to adjust because of the uncertainty, but staring at the source of your anxiety is just a hard way to live. It'd wear you out and eat you up. I'm not just saying this. I know how it's like. I've been there. Here, Noelle has no idea what's going on in the world, at least in the human world. She enjoyed sun bathing in peace. Isn't it nice to have that kind of moment to yourself despite of what's going on?
This is especially the time we find a way to feel love and appreciation in our life. So, we can live better, happier and healthier in this unusual situation.
Five weeks ago, I went to grocery shopping after work on Thursday as my weekly routine. I pick Thursday evening because the store is quiet and their shelves are filled toward a weekend.
That was not an ordinal Thursday. As I got into the store, there was only one cart left. I grabbed the last one. It was very crowded and chaotic. People put their carts in the middle of the aisles and didn't even care others couldn't get through because of them.
I strolled the store to pick up stuff on my list maneuvering those self-focused people. Everybody's cart was full from boxes of soda cans to toilet paper. It reminded me the week of Thanksgiving. The shelves were very spotty, which was unusual at this store. The store manager was on the mic all the time to tell their customers their business was usual, it would be and their tracks keeps coming.
The line of the checkout was growing wrapping around the aisles to the back of the store. The carts of people in the line was overloaded. A store person asked me if I was ready for checkout. I didn't want to be in that line, so I said no and cruised around the store.
I thought I could kill some time while waiting the line would get shorter by picking up a couple of things. I went to the baking section to pick up some flour. It was not what I needed right away, but I could have some extra since I'd been thinking to get some when it would be on sale. They were gone! Only a couple of bags of a brand I don't buy left. I went to pick up kosher salt. All salt was gone. I realized that there was nothing to add to my cart, so headed to the checkout.
Another store person navigated me to one of the lines. I had about 10 items, butter, milk and some vegetables. I was observing stuff in the carts in other lines... stuff overflowing from their carts. He thought I was worried and told me my line would go quick. And, that was true. He put me in the "less item" line. I was in and out the store relatively quickly, and I got what I needed. I was grateful the store was managing the chaos very well.
That evening, the news showed the same chaos at other grocery stores. Then, I learned that was caused by people's anxiety toward COVID-19. I tend to stock things up generally. My pantry and supply closet are usually well stocked. So, the idea of "shopping for the pandemic" never occurred to me.
Find Something to Make You Feel Good
When you feel anxious about something, it's hard to get mind off it. That's a tough way to live. And, that would drag you into an even darker place. So, look for something to shift your mind... even just a moment.
Interact with Animals
I've heard exhausted doggo stories because they get more walks than usual since their humans are home and they need to get their extra energies out. I mean "they" as humans, not dogs. It's not only humans who're adjusting to the new normal. Interactions with animals doesn't need to involve "activities." Cat people could tell this much better.
Animals' bodies are quite entertaining. They are full of wonders. Look at the colors of their hair, feathers or scales shift between the parts of the body. Observe the shapes of their body parts, how the muscles moves as they move. You'll be amazed how beautiful they are in many ways.
Watch their expressions. Watch how they react to your words, expressions, actions, and other elements. They're telling us so many things in their ways. You might get your "Dr. Dolittle" moments.
The other day, Noelle yawned. Then, I yawned right after that. It just happened that way. Then, she looked at me with full of joy in her eyes acknowledging my yawn as if she was saying "Oh, do you feel the same way?" It was a moment of a privilege to be a dog mom to catch her such expression.
Take a Deep Breath in the Crisp Morning Air
I do this at a morning walk with Noelle. As cool air fills up my lung, I feel so refreshed. I feel lighter with each breath. Try that. You'll feel lifted.
Tune to Birds
I love to listen to birds' singing or just chirping. Especially early morning, that sounds like a good start of a day. When I look up and find where it's coming from, I feel a little bit lucky. It gets much more fun if I can identify what kind of birds they are. They sometimes call each other. Then, you tune to find where the other party is. You can extend the game like that.
There are a lot of robins everywhere lately. I spotted a bight red cardinal the other day.
Take a Walk
Go outside. Get the sun. Look at the color of the sky. Feel the fresh air. Feel the wind... The nature is beautiful.
I found this tiny empty bird nest withstood the whole winter without any protection. The nest could easily fits in your palm. It's an open area and no other trees to buffer winds around the tree. Still, even strong winter gusts couldn't blown that nest away.
And, now pink flower buds are getting ready to bloom for spring. It makes my heart bouncing with excitement. When you go out, you'll find cool things like this.
Noelle and I ran into a big turkey family the other day. They were around 20 strolling the neighborhood looking for breakfast. While I was taking pictures, the closest one came to tell me to leave. Even they are trespassing the neighborhood, this big family is quite sensitive to their privacy. In two months or so, we'll see tiny babies follow these big birds.
Sometimes, I found a perfect shape pinecone on the ground. It's clean and has no missing part. My eyes open wide with the little treasure. And, dog poop bags get a different purpose.
It could be bright green young leaves on trees. It could be blooms in their prime. Whenever I come across with those, anything else going on in my life fades away at the moment. Things weigh on my mind turn insignificant. It is true that that's not going to solve actual problems, but we need that moment. You shouldn't be haunted by your problems all the time.
The weekend after the Thursday, I fluffed the soil, mixed in some fertilizer, and saw some salad greens in my garden. Here in New England, it was too early to start a garden, but salad greens tend to do good this time of a year. A week later, snow covered the ground. Oh well, plan B. I put some seeds in a container. The little buds are trying to reach out the sun.
Some tomatoes and herbs I started inside are also sprouting.
Then, 3 weeks later, these tiny buds came out in the garden.
It is magical that moist tiny leaves coming out of a dry seed. It's always a wonder of the nature how a seed retains a life its inside. Sprouts are vulnerable, yet full of life and powerful enough to crack the shells of the seeds to come out.
Gardening is always a fun project. Watching something grow is exciting and hopeful. Who doesn't feel love for tiny sprouts? They are not puppies or kittens, but they certainly give you a smile as you see the beginning of their life.
Support and Care
We're fortunate that we have a generous neighbor who shares these beautiful eggs from her chicken with us.
I bake with those eggs, and drop off what I bake at hers. I've been baking a lot lately. At my house, home made snack never runs out because of that.
We have a system for our drop-off. To maintain social distance, we just drop stuff at each other's door. We text in advance before a drop-off, so animals wouldn't get it.
Two weekends ago, I baked two big quiches and two small ones. I cut the big ones in halves, and took each half to her. The two small ones went to other neighbors who could use a little cheer.
Between the neighbors and friends, we check in each other. On the dog walks, we run into neighbors. We wave and know how we are doing from the distance.
I've been working from home. I can sleep in a little bit and take Noelle for a walk later than usual. I met a neighbor I don't usually see. The old gentleman was enjoying his morning walk. He did the same loop in opposite from us. So, we ran into him twice. So, we talked a little bit. This type of a unexpected meeting is fun.
A little earlier today, the town put together a last minute mini Easter parade. We usually don't have an Easter parade. Some fire engines, police cars and some other cars with an Easter bunny and Disney characters. They quickly ran through the street in front of my house. They didn't close off the route like when we usually have a parade, so they went with the speed limit. I don't know how many people got to see it because there was no official notice went out, but the hearts of the lucky little ones, who happened to see them, should have lit up with unexpected Easter bunny and princesses. This is a nice thing to live in a small town. Things like this from care and love could happen.
Take a Break from Media
I often find social media pushing me toward a dark place. Whenever I start seeing the sign, I take a break from it. It could be days or weeks... until I feel like taking a peek of it again. I find I don't miss much by doing so, but I stay mentally healthier.
You don't have a control of what others say on media, but you have a control of your access to those media.
Significance of Our Life
I have a feeling that this new normal would let us re-think of the value of our life and how we live. This could extend to what we take for granted from health to all convenience in our everyday life.
Today is Easter. The name Easter is believed to come from Eostara, the goddess of rebirth. In early times the Feast of Eostara celebrated earth's resurrection and rebirth.
It is an opportunity to think what is we have been take for granted, appreciate what we have and what others do to support our life. Others are not just people. They include all environmental stuff from air, water, animals and micro organisms to systems in the nature and the civilization. Everything is connected even things you think insignificant. We exist as one, a whole. Acknowledge that we are led be by others. This would affect how you treat others. We might give ourselves rebirths through this.