Column: Staying home is our responsibility, but we don’t also have to be bored

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COVID-19 doesn’t have patience for status. This virus doesn’t pick and choose from a certain demographic, and it doesn’t make allowances for others. No matter where an individual identifies in society, it is impossible to avoid this virus. We are all a target and we are all in this together. The best thing we can do is stay home.

Flashback to this time last year, and I am doing exactly what I am doing now. What is known as social distancing now is what I was doing then as a result of postpartum anxiety. I kept myself and my baby cooped up in my home for days on end.

Running rampant through my mind was the potential things that could happen to him if I took him somewhere. Excessive washing of my hands resulted in a fine rash distressed across the back of each hand and since the outbreak of COVID-19, my hands are beginning to look as they did last year.

The fear of him catching RSV or one of the diseases he wasn’t yet vaccinated against caused my breathing to hitch in my chest and my heart to race rapidly. Driving with him terrified me and I refused to take him anywhere if I could avoid it. The chance of someone running a red light or sliding uncontrollably through a stop sign was too great in my mind. At the time, my husband was working 15 days away and I found myself for the most part in complete lockdown in my own home. Last winter, much like this one, was long and cold. I was fearful that my son would have difficulties breathing in the cold air if I was to take him outside for a walk.

After deciding I felt better by limiting my interactions, I really focused on what activities I was interested in learning that I could do from home. I didn’t want to go anywhere or couldn’t, so I hunkered down in my house and made the best of the space I had and what was available to me.

Reading and cooking became my biggest salvation, and I of course find myself doing just the same while respecting social distancing practices now.

After getting my son to sleep, I would stay up to work on perfecting recipes. I was always a better baker then I was a cook. It took a little bit for me to figure out the patience and carefulness involved in cooking. Flavour had to be layered carefully and purposefully, but things always seem to benefit a little bit from going rogue. Less is more and sometimes more is more too. Now my son doesn’t go to bed so early and no longer eats baby food, and although his supper choice is inevitably vanilla yogurt, he has been a good sport in trying new foods.

Books, I have a lot of those, and several are unread. That keep me busy as I tire easy of TV and Netflix. I am in the bad habit of abandoning TV series after a few episodes, and lucky for some a few seasons. As I do now and have always done, I found myself reading well after my son had gone to bed.

I also spent my time drawing, which doesn’t take much material or much time. It’s something you can do from home easily. Fortunately, I had taken previous drawing classes while attending college, so I had some recollection of techniques, but my best work always happens when I follow my intuition. With so much resources available online it is possible to access some theory in whatever you are interested in learning.

Other than taking care of my son and household, these were the things I did then to occupy my time from home. One year later I am doing the same things, although I haven’t done much drawing, but I have but I have been attempting to learn a little bit of piano much to the discomfort of my cat’ s eardrum.

It’s alright if you don’t like reading, and maybe you are happy with your current cooking skills, but while you are keeping the health of yourself and others safe we have lots of time on our hands to really study what we are passionate about or take comfort in things we enjoy to excess.  We can order supplies still through Amazon and are able to Google and YouTube how to do things. You can exercise from home, learn to cross stitch, figure out how to French braid your hair, plan your garden, research the different types of fish native to Alberta, learn painting techniques, or discover several series of television shows that make your heart ache all from the safety of your home.

This time last year I was staying home due to my own anxieties, and now we are encouraged to stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s hard some days, but it’s important we do this to protect the individuals in our communities.