“Our world has been shook, and what’s normal has completely changed. We’re wading through uncharted territories, and everything is new to all of us.”
It’s been only one month since I published those words, though it feels like an eternity ago.
Our whole world has been turned upside down in an instant. We’ve lost loved ones, layoffs are happening everywhere, businesses have and are continuing to shut down, and we’re on the heels of Canada’s worst mass shooting.
“I know the world can seem like a mean and ugly place right now, but there’s a whole lot of good in the world too,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his Monday morning media briefing.
What is that good and what’s keeping us going?
I asked our team of writers, editors, and content producers that exact question. They’ve been head down, plugging away through all of this. I know it hasn’t been easy, but they’re a resilient bunch, just like all of you, and they’re staying strong to bring you the latest information each and every day.
Here’s what some of them had to say.
Don’t let the virus take control of your day
Tyler Jadah, Staff Writer
I’ve been spending post-work hours by trying my best to NOT stare at glowing rectangles. Basement workouts (push-ups, sit-ups, skip rope), reading books, cooking and meal prepping, taking my dog for long walks, and listening to music.
I favour making phone calls over FaceTime to keep in touch with my family and friends (I haven’t shaved my head since the pandemic started and nobody wants to see that).
When I do reconnect, I stay away from ALL coronavirus news/social media by falling into a YouTube vortex, and I keep busy by writing short stories. The portable Nintendo Switch gives me the power to play video games from actually every inch of my apartment.
The virus is taking over the world, sure – but don’t let it take control of EVERY minute of your day. That’s when it wins.
Take a trip to nowhere in particular
Chandler Walter, Calgary City Editor
What makes me happy right now are the things that allow me, if briefly, to take my mind off of the troubles of the world. Every Tuesday I play online Dungeons and Dragons with a group of friends I met online, and while the campaign takes place in actual, capital-H Hell (or Avernus, as it’s called in D&D lore), it provides an escape to look forward to every week.
On sunny days I enjoy going for long runs along Calgary’s river, or hopping on my motorcycle and taking a trip to nowhere in particular. It has been a great way to explore the city and offers fleeting moments of freedom that have become so rare to come by these days.
Sometimes those trips find me at the top of Scotsman’s Hill right when the sun is setting, and the colours that crown Calgary’s skyline in those moments are just as beautiful as they’ve always been.
“I’m going to be fit AF when this is all over”
Rob Williams, Offside Editor
As annoyed as everyone is getting right now, it’s important to remember that it could be a whole heck of a lot worse. With the technology we have at our fingertips, there’s endless options to keep ourselves entertained and socialize with friends. Seriously, can you imagine doing this 15 years ago before Netflix, video calls, and smartphones?
When I’m not staring at a screen, I’m using this time to get some exercise in, going for runs in the neighbourhood. I’m going to be fit AF when this is all over, damn it.
“I never thought I would ever enjoy running”
Simran Singh, Interim Vancouver City Editor
My loved ones make me happy and keep me afloat during these trying times. I live with my extended family, so being able to connect with the people I love at the end of a day that may have been stressful or long (or both) keeps me grounded. It reminds me that my family is my strength and a source of enormous joy in my life and the connections we have with our loved ones are extremely precious and they can help you weather any storm.
Being able to move my body and get fresh air also keeps me happy. I never thought I would ever enjoy running, but that has certainly changed. It helps clear my mind after a busy day. I may be as slow as a snail, but nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something that challenges you – and for me that’s running.
Get back to hobbies you once abandoned
Jackie Dell, Online Editor
I’m staying positive by doing small, nice things for myself. Every day I move my body, usually with online yoga. I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks while I clean my apartment. (Tidy home means a tidy mind.)
I’m trying to get back to hobbies I once had but abandoned because I didn’t have the energy to see them through. My friends and I have implemented a weekly Zoom call despite being in four different time zones. Some evenings I consume RuPaul’s Drag Race as if it’s my life’s calling. Understanding things could be a lot worse, I feel extremely thankful for my health, the roof over my head, beer deliveries, and hugs from my partner.
Get outside as much as you can
Megan Devlin, Staff Writer
Being outside makes me happy. Feeling the sun, hearing the birds, and seeing the blossoming pink trees with the snowy mountains in the background makes me grateful to live in Vancouver.
I miss hiking lots. But biking around the city and long walks along the seawall remind me that the natural beauty we’re surrounded with is still there.
Wake up early and enjoy that first cup of coffee
Kayla Gladysz, Staff Writer
What makes me happy? The first coffee of the day. I’m intentional about waking up a solid 40 minutes before I need to log on for work so the day’s initial moments can be quiet ones.
In my comfiest clothes, I turn on the burner — the espresso maker is already on it, pre-filled with coffee grounds and water prepped the night before — and wait for the sound (and scent) of the coffee steaming through. Pour. Add a solid glug of oat milk. Yum. I sip that first cup quietly, cozy beside my boyfriend, while he enjoys a mug too.
Our cat tends to join us, as he’s most eager for cuddles in the early hours. I don’t have any photos of the ritual because I don’t like to touch my phone until I’m logging onto my computer. It’s peaceful, and that peace brings me happiness.
Focus on the little things
Alyssa Therrien, Staff Writer
These days, it’s the little things giving me joy. Sitting in the sunshine with a good book, seeing a coworker’s cat pop up on a Zoom call, or getting a notification that I’ve been tagged in a meme is all I need for a quick burst of serotonin. I’ve also used the time to reflect on the things I should’ve been doing this year, and changing my life as a result — I’ve been FaceTiming with friends who I hadn’t spoken to in five years, sticking to a workout routine, and even planning nights out for the future.
When I do go out on walks, I’m seeing people physically distance. Knowing that people genuinely care about the six feet rule gives me hope and happiness that life will once again return to normal.
Get creative with friends
Leah Bjornson, Managing Editor of Hive Labs
It’s tough to be away from friends and family, but my spirits are lifted whenever we find a new way to connect. One of our best friends’ birthdays was this week, so we dropped off a bottle of wine and a balloon outside his building. Later that night, a bunch of his social group set up tents in their living rooms since the original plan to go camping had been kiboshed. Even though what we’re doing doesn’t feel normal, the reasons behind what we do remain the same.
Stay motivated and creative with books and video games
Wyatt Fossett, Staff Writer
Fresh air. I love the smell of soft rain on warm rocks, and it makes me gleeful when that scent transforms into the sounds of the frogs and the insects at night. The stars make me happy. Being away from the city and in a quiet place has given me the opportunity to see what’s in front of me with greater clarity.
Books and video games keep me motivated and flourishing in creative energy, while I also find fantastic comfort and humour in the face of my two-year-old pug, Fritz, who is just as cuddly and comforting as he is goofy and entertaining.
At the end of the day, the sound and love of a partner I hold very dear is my greatest asset during this time. A counsel, a confidant, and the most caring person I know.
Have a virtual karaoke party
Shelley Mason, Junior Writer of Hive Labs
Staying social with friends and family has been super important. I have regular FaceTimes with friends in Vancouver and around the world. I recommend having virtual karaoke birthday parties if you can right now.
YouTube workouts have also been a lifesaver for me since working from home. They’re the only way to keep me moving, and they also give me some much-needed routine. It’s also helping offset my increase in wine consumption, ha.
I’ve also been taking walks after work so I’m not in my apartment 24/7, which has made me a lot more grateful for how beautiful Vancouver is and made me realize how much I take nature for granted when usually there’s so much else to be distracted by.
I’m getting a lot of enjoyment out of seeing all the creative ways people are connecting with their community right now — like this grandma who made a sign that she wanted some beer and this llama that’s now available for Zoom chats. I also look forward to Mondays more than ever now because I get to hang out virtually with my coworkers who I miss dearly (TGIM).
Stare into the sunset
Stephanie Woo, Community Partnerships Coordinator
As generic and cheesy as it is, sunsets make me the absolute happiest. After travelling to more than 25 countries, it’s one consistent thing I always look forward to. While the colours in the sky are always different, I find it comforting that it’s the same sun I’ve seen time after time. Moving to Kitsilano has been a dream come true because it’s one of the best neighbourhoods in Vancouver to catch the sunset. In the evening, I’ll grab a beer, head up to my favourite spot, and watch as the clouds turn orange.
Slow down and appreciate the small things
Hanna McLean, Dished Editor, Western Canada
Food, friends, and family are the main things getting me through this wild time in life.
Eating has always been important to me, but food has taken on a new meaning during this extended isolation and physical distancing period. Planning meals for myself and my partner has never been so significant. It gives my days purpose and excitement when there’s not a whole lot to look forward to.
A positive that’s come from all of this, is that I’ve been forced to slow down, be home, and appreciate the small things in life I was moving too quickly to truly soak in before. A cold cider in the sun on my patio in downtown Vancouver suddenly feels like a vacation, and a NY-style slice delivered from a nearby pizzeria just hits differently these days.
Pair those instances with regular check-ins with my family, video chat dance parties with my best friends across the country, and light moments with my amazing coworkers, and it’s safe to say it’s all helping me find the bright side in every bite, even when it’s leftovers for dinner.
Start off the day with an online yoga class
Catriona Hughes, Senior Writer of Hive Labs
It’s so important to do things that make you smile right now. I’m doing Modo Yoga classes online before I start work, and I love the positive tone this sets for my day. I’m appreciating video calls with my family and friends back home more than ever, as well as evening walks through the local park here in Vancouver with my boyfriend. Seeing the North Shore mountains and the downtown cityscape in the distance while the sun sets is pure magic.
Indulge in nostalgic TV shows
Emily Rumball, Senior Staff Writer, Mapped
I have been working hard to appreciate the little things and find positivity where I can, which is a new endeavour for me, as I am often a pessimist and prone to anxiety. Even if it’s something small, such as laughing at my cat when she’s being fuzzy little weirdo (which is often). I’m utilizing technology to reconnect with people that I am probably talking to more frequently now than I have in years. I am taking the opportunity to get back in touch with hobbies that I haven’t had the time to indulge in, such as playing guitar and singing. I have also been holding myself accountable to exercise regularly and go on walks to get fresh air.
I have also been watching A LOT of TV, most recently Parks & Rec, while also indulging in old nostalgic loves such as Friends and The Simpsons. Most importantly, I am reminding myself to be thankful for things that I am privileged to have, including my family, my boyfriend, and my health.
Take a bike ride and see where you end up
Eric Zimmer, Senior Staff Writer
During these crazy times, frequent walks with my wife and our dog down random quiet streets – either before or after work – provide good opportunities for us to take a moment, breathe, and refocus. My bike has also played a large role in the maintenance of my sanity during these times as well. After a busy day, nothing beats disconnecting from the world for a little while and hopping on the bike, just to see where the ride leads. Keeping connected with family – via phone or Skype – helps to keep the batteries charged, as well.
Being able to savour a really good cup (or three) of home-brewed coffee is a bonus to working from home.
Staying at home with your family isn’t the worst thing
Andrew Bartlett, Lead Videographer/Editor of Hive Labs
With the birth of a new baby in February, it’s been an interesting time for our family to say the least. And with the difficulties that come with adjusting to a new baby, there’s been the adding stress of from working from home. But the joy of spending every day with my wife and two kids (both under two), I have not taken for granted. Taking family walks everyday, playing in the backyard and just being more present at home now has given me such happiness in this weird and scary time.
Have a story to share about what you or your community is doing to stay positive during this time? Email us at [email protected]