The sun is shining. Spring is here. Vaccines are rolling out. New projects are beginning. Plans are unfolding. There is promise in the air. … and then bam, we are right back where we started.

Another spring, another lockdown. Since we’ve been essentially locked -down for the past year, what’s another 28 days?  Déjà vu. Like we never left. Its demoralizing and depressing.

The thing about doing it all over again – and again – is that any novelty or naivete about the situation is gone. We have been dealing with this virus a long time. And even as more deadly variants emerge, our collective will to stay in this fight together is starting to wane. Our frustration grows as we witness other countries roll out their vaccine programs faster and better and economies open up.

The world feels less safe, even in our safe little corner of Canada, and especially for some. I am sickened and frustrated by the rise of anti-Asian violence. I stand with our Asian community and call on our political leaders and neighbours to act against injustice and practice kindness.

I can change my own behaviour and bear witness.

To cope, I hang my hat on healthy habits. Not because I’m virtuous but because doing so helps keep me sane. In a world filled with a zillion choices, I purposely limit my day-to-day choices and make decisions as simple as possible. My daily rituals and routines give shape to my hours and help me stay on the beam. Reaching out every day to a friend, colleague or neighbour is an important part of my routine.

We all know how stressful it is not knowing what is coming next; not knowing when this will end. One of the reasons rituals help sustain us, is that our brain craves knowing what to expect. The mantras, prayers, and exercise series have a pattern that we recognize and know. Like a resolution in music, it satisfies us and calms or mind.

Much has been said over the pandemic about being kind to ourselves, giving ourselves a break. It’s true. Regardless of our situation, what we have been going through is challenging. But maintaining our healthy habits and rituals is part of being kind to ourselves. Habits need not be some sort of punitive regiment, but a discipline of the mind, body and soul.

The other day I had a bag of caramel popcorn for lunch. I ate the whole thing and it tasted pretty darn good. It made me feel sort of sassy as if I was flippin’ the bird to the world. Oh yeah? You are going to toy with my well-laid plans again? I don’t care! I’m going to eat almost 1000 calories worth of corn syrup on bite sized pieces that have the nutritional value of cardboard. Take that COVID.

COVID doesn’t care. But neither do I.

Because once in a while you have to throw good habits out the window. Look around. Re-assess.  And then do the next right thing: stop scrolling, call a friend, go for a walk, sweep the back stairs… and maybe not also eat a bag of caramel corn for dinner!

Stay well. This too shall pass.

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