Self-Care, Pandemic Edition
It's the last week of April, it's been snowing, I haven't written a blog post in over a month, my young children have turned into booty-shaking teens overnight from watching TikTok and YouTube 5 hours a day, and with everyone ordering everything online, our business is so busy that I don't even have time to shower some days let alone luxuriate in a long, hot bath. Yes, it really has come to this.
The bottom line is that everyone has been affected differently by the COVID-19 pandemic, but everyone is affected. And when things we take for granted, like congregating, shopping malls and walking down the street without veering off the curb every time we see another human, are suddenly not available to us, self care can go out the window.
This is definitely not going to be a hypocritical lecture on the importance of self care :) There is a lot going on over here personally as well as with the explosion of online sales of our self care gift baskets and bath and body care products, and I haven't really taken my own advice. The closest I came this week was whipping up a wonderful conditioner for my daughter, who now has dyed hair which I straighten with a flat iron so she can look more like her girl crush, Addison Rae.
So, why did I start writing this post? I guess I wanted to share, to reach out to the people who have supported us from the beginning, and bridge the gap that we already face as an online business that wouldn't have been doing live markets till next month anyway.
Also, I wanted to let you know that despite the hectic rush and the social media silence, we are still making and packing and delivering. We buy gloves in bulk from Uline. And giant rolls of bubble wrap. No, we don't wrap ourselves in it as PPE, this is for the gift baskets that we are still making with love, so you can send personal gift or a little something special to your friends and family across the miles.
To Lindsey in California who wanted to do virtual pedis with her BFFs and post them online: I am sorry your package is still held up at US customs 2 weeks later. Lots of things are sucky right now and I wanted you to have this friendship time. Your refund is on its way.
To all the people whose orders have been delayed because of our supply chain issues (now resolved thankfully) and Canada Post which is working with reduced staff and incredibly increased volumes: I'm sorry. It's like the Christmas rush every day. Amazon is telling me that my Prime membership, which is supposed to entail free 1-2 day shipping, is going to have my bunny hay here by May 12. Apparently bunny food is not a priority. Yes, we have bunnies now.
To all the teachers and professors who literally converted their learning to an online format within 1 week. Thank you.
To all the people who are keeping our cities and towns running, thank you. In this list is included the Uber Eats couriers and the coffee shop workers and the TTC drivers (I normally have issues with public transit but now it is my lifeline) and Steph from Copy Cat who, since my fancy printer has been broken for weeks, has been safe-dropping my labels to my porch so I can package products.
To all the healthcare workers, THANK YOU. And remember, you save 20% off all our products with the code HEALTHCARE. Yeah, we work on the honour system here.
To Torsten, who organized free Good Food Box fresh fruit and vegetable delivery to many hundreds of George Brown Students facing financial hardship and isolation from their families abroad, THANK YOU.
To the people who have the virus and are in the fight of their lives...I support you. No one even believed this at first. No one knew what to do. No one knew what was coming. But people are working round the clock to treat it and find a cure. In the meantime, healing and love and strength prayers sent.
To the parents who are working from home and taking care of children all day, I am with you (kind of, if tech babysitting counts) and I salute you. If you are a single parent, you get a salute, a virtual hug, and pretty much anything else that you want from me going forward.
To the people working remotely who live alone and have lost the many micro-interactions that make our days worthwhile...I am sorry. It sucks. But you are not alone, not really. If you go for a ride on a nearly-empty subway and get off at your happy place and spend some time in the freezing wind reading a book, or walk the street late at night to nod at strangers, or spend longer than you strictly have to asking the produce guy about kale, I'm not going to tell anyone.
To the people who are worried about the safety of elderly or ill family members they can't even see in person...I can't imagine what you are going through. Prayers and thoughts are being sent to you, not just from us, but from everyone, everywhere.
To the people struggling with issues of income, mental health, violence, chronic illness - no sugar coating - this is not the greatest time. And you know what? You are heroes. You will get through this, and our ways of thinking about these issues will never be the same.
Gratitude: the Ultimate Self-Care
I had a Zoom call with my union executive committee last week and what I noticed was that everyone talked about being grateful for something. Everyone. Isn't that the ultimate self care - noticing the good in the world even during the toughest times?
The other thing was, people were talking a lot about how much they are learning. A lot of people were cooking more, learning new cuisines and styles. This is my lasagna filling because I refuse to learn new cooking styles right now.
My GBC colleagues are taking tons of PD and online courses. They are setting up daily check-ins to learn more about each other and make sure everyone is okay. And even my kids are learning, though I haven't exactly been diligent about it.
Nathaniel: Do you know how to make a catapult? I can balance a spoon on one finger, do you want to see?
Naomi: No, not right now. Let's put Brownie [yeah, the lighter one] up higher.
My son has learned to make salads now for the buns that are nicer than anything I have eaten in weeks.
As much as this experience is not what I want - I want to be in the Dominican Republic right now for my son's birthday like I'm supposed to be, not going through an acrimonious separation (surprise! Things are changing faster than I can keep up) sweeping up bunny poop and scrambling to run a business while my kids daydream about Santa Monica and Addison Rae and fighting over whose job it is to help with virtually any job I can throw at them - it has not been all bad. And we will get through it. And soak up the sun. And rock on.