It has been a long time since we’ve published an article and to be honest that’s a story for another time. Today, I felt compelled to write – I felt compelled to connect with all of you. We are living in some tumultuous and stressful times. This is uncharted territory for many of us but yet here we are in these unique circumstances. I know that many of us are feeling anxious and stressed. That’s okay. You’re allowed to feel whatever you’re feeling. The sun is still rising and we will keep persisting.
I want to highlight what many doctors have been sharing, yes we are in a stage of physical distancing/isolation but that doesn’t mean our social lives disappear. This time calls for a heightened social connectedness. Yes, you can have a Netflix party, group FaceTimes, and play games online. I taught my 89 year old grandmother how to use FaceTime today via the good old fashioned land line – this is a time for learning, love and compassion. With that being said – who have you called today? Who have you checked in with? What are you doing for yourself? How will you stay active? How are you staying positive? These are all questions that we share in these uncertain times. Below I will share some of my favourite things to do in my attempt to stay positive. We’re all in this together.
Suggestions for Staying Sane:
Netflix TV Shows:
- Mindhunter – I recently started watching this show and I can’t stop. It’s so interesting. It’s based in the 1970’s when Detectives were beginning to understand Behavioural Psychology.
- Homeland – This is one of my favourite shows, it’s so captivating. Claire Danes is amazing as CIA Agent Carrie Mathison!
- The Haunting of Hill House – If you’re looking for something to make you jump that’s not Covid-19, this is your show. A really interesting storyline.
- Explained – I love this show because each episode is roughly 20 mins and you get to learn about a new topic. Educational & entertaining!
- Friends – Sometimes you need to laugh and this one is a fan favourite. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch this show it never gets old! HOW YOU DOIN’
- Wonder – We all need a feel good story in our lives. This movie is bound to have you feeling all of your emotions. It’s truly a beautiful story. (Family friendly!)
- Everest – I recently watched this movie and really loved it. It’s the story of the 1996 expedition to the summit of Everest.
- Book Club – A light hearted, romantic comedy filled with female friendship and features Jane Fonda & Diane Keaton.
- P.S. I Love You – This movie is one of the best. It’s always worth a re-watch. Absolutely beautiful.
- Operation Finale – A WWII story that will keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.
- Momentum Generation – The surfing doc that will have you dreaming of sunny days and big swells.
- Big Little Lies – I LOVE this show, it’s filled with compelling writing and stellar acting. A must watch!
- The Handmaid’s Tale – If you haven’t yet begun the journey that is this show, now is your time! Incredible, uncomfortable and truly moving.
- Dollface – These short episodes are all about female friendship and navigating relationships. It’s light and a great easy watch.
- Blue Bloods – Sometimes you just need to watch Tom Selleck as the Police Commissioner. A go-to show.
- Transplant – This show follows a Doctor who flees Syria and arrives in Canada. It follows him as he navigates the world of medicine in a new country.
Books (The Kindle app is free):
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – I read this book as research for a character that I played in a show. It was a few years ago but the story always stuck with me. Kalanithi’s words are powerful and his perspective is enlightening and moving. A must read.
- It’s What I Do, A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lindsay Addario – This book is so well written and the stories are profound. Addario’s experiences as a War Photojournalist are deeply touching and eye-opening. I finished this book so quickly.
- A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout – Another true story of the dangers surrounding journalism and the difficulties that Lindhout faced abroad. A harrowing tale that I couldn’t put down.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – This story chronicles a young girl’s journey through the hardships of WWII. There are many twists and turns. There’s a reason why this book has been on the best seller list for so long.
- Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey – This is the book I’m currently reading. Eight chapters in and I can hardly put it down.
- Sickboy – This is one of my go-to favourite podcasts. The guys tackle difficult conversations about illness and death with humour. They talk to guests from all over who experience all kinds of different challenges. From physical illnesses, mental health, disability, and keeping current with the world’s events – there’s truly something for everyone on this show.
- Canadian True Crime – I’ve recently been listening to this podcast frequently on long car rides and while cleaning around the house. It can be a little disturbing but she tells the full stories complete with details from the trials which I find very interesting. There’s a 3 part section on the Oland murder in NB that was very informative.
- Here’s the Thing – This podcast is an easy, great listen. I’m an Actor and love hearing Alec Baldwin’s conversations with others in the industry. Whether you love the arts or not – it’s a fun listen.
- Sibling Revelry – Kate Hudson and her brother Oliver Hudson, interview various sibling pairs from Comedians, to Actors, to Doctors – there’s something for everyone. The conversations are always interesting. I really enjoyed the Amy Schumer and Kim Caramele episode.
- How Men Think – I love this podcast. Featuring Brooks Laich & Gavin DeGraw along with many co-hosts and guests. The guys have very meaningful conversations with Producer Amy who keeps them on track. They talk about anything and everything. Don’t miss this one!
Workouts at Home:
- Open Gym – Are you following them on Instagram? They’re so awesome! I don’t have the paid app but I love following along with their workouts. They post all kinds of challenge workouts that are completely free! I did one in my super tiny apartment the other day. No excuses.
- Yoga with Kassandra – These videos are completely free on youtube and absolutely refreshing. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or just starting, she’s got you covered. My favourite video is “10 min Morning Yoga Full Body Stretch”. You’ll be blown away how grounding these 10 mins will be. Remember every pose has modifications so there’s no need to worry that you can’t do it.
- MadFit – More free workouts! The best part about her workouts is that they’re short so you can mix and match. This gives you the opportunity to try multiple videos in the same workout. Plus, she has workouts suitable for small apartments and ones requiring zero equipment. You can’t go wrong. I love the HIIT inspired workouts!
- FaceTime Workouts – Try one of the workout videos or create your own. FaceTime a friend and workout together. Motivate each other to get up and moving. It’s important especially in these times!
- Stretch – If you’re not feeling a workout, that’s totally okay! However, I would encourage you to move your body even that means stretching for 5 minutes. I promise your body will thank you and you’ll sleep better! Try to touch your toes, breathe, relax. Put your favourite song, get on the floor and stretch it out.
Songs for your Kitchen Dance Party:
- All We Got by Chance the Rapper, Feat. Kanye West & Chicago Children’s Choir – Chance the Rapper is one of my all time favourite artists. This song just makes me want to dance.
- Higher Love by Kygo & Whitney Houston – This is a song that is very appropriate for what we’re all experiencing as a global community. You’ll be dancing, trust. me.
- South of the Border by Ed Sheeran Feat. Camilla Cabello & Cardi B (Sam Feldt Remix) – This remix will have you grooving in the kitchen I promise.
- Blinding Lights by The Weeknd – This has been on top of the charts for a while and with good reason. Press play.
- What a Man Gotta Do by Jonas Brothers – It makes me want to dance as soon as it comes on. This song will have you dancing and reliving your young love for the Jonas Brothers.
Tech Free Time:
- Bubble Bath – We all wish we had time to soak in the tub with a good book and glass of wine. Now is the time. Enjoy.
- Adult Colouring Books – Remember those colouring books you bought that are at the bottom of a drawer collecting dust? Yeah, those. Bingo! Time to dust them off and colour up a storm.
- Cooking – Always wanted to perfect your skills in the kitchen? If you’re lucky enough to have supplies on hand, try a new recipe. This week I’ve made Pad Thai, Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Vegetable Stir-fry, Cauliflower pizza and Vegan tacos are on the menu for tomorrow.
- Open that Window – If it’s chilly, bundle up in your favourite comfy clothes. Let’s be real you’re probably already wearing them. Open your window, let that fresh air flood in. This morning I listened to the birds chirping and it was actually so beautiful. Take this time we’ve been given and embrace the “slow down”.
- Arts/Crafts – Pull out that art supplies. Paint that canvas. Draw that picture. Play that guitar that’s in the corner. Do the crossword. Solve the rubik’s cube. Play. Make play dough. Embrace the ability to learn a new skill or try something different.
We have been advised that social distancing protocols will likely be lasting for months to come. That can be daunting but it’s so important that we take care of those with immunocompromised systems and those 60+. Autoimmune diseases are ever present and many people are living with these invisible illnesses. So I beg you for the safety of our communities – stay home. We will get through this together. We are resilient. If you’re feeling anxious please make sure that you’re taking breaks from the 24 hour news cycle. To everyone reading this article please know how truly loved you are – sending many air hugs all over the world today. If you’re struggling please reach out; there are resources that are available virtually including counselling services, virtual AA meetings etc. Take care of yourselves.
I hope that you enjoy all of these suggestions. What have you been doing to stay busy? How are you staying connected? Let us know in the comments below. Let’s help each other stay positive. We will get through this together. Sending you all so much love.