What’s Possible In Limbo

Covid: In the words of the great neo-psychedelic band Tame Impala; “it feels like we only go backwards, baby”. Three steps forward over the Summer, and now two steps back this Fall. It seems that we’re in stasis for an unspecified duration, most of us unable to do much more than live day to day. I say “seems” because that isn’t true at all. I think now is the time to reflect on our existence (or more precisely our sustenance) and figure out how to move forward. Although I don’t think that this current reality is our “new normal”, I do think that we will be required to adapt; and that’s okay…because as humans we are hardwired to survive. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:

It’s possible to be physically healthy during a pandemic. I know. I know. Going to a gym was impossible. Then it wasn’t…and then it was again. And it’s hard not to nosh when the fridge is a few steps away from your “office”. The Covid 20 (like the Freshman 15) is a real phenomenon.  But it doesn’t have to be. I’ve actually lost 17lbs. during the shutdown, and I’m aiming to lose more. Less time in restaurants, bars and theaters should lead to healthier food intake. Less travel and more flexible work schedules due to office closings, leaves more time for exercise, family time and sleep. It really is a question of determination.

It’s possible to be emotionally healthy during a pandemic too. Admittedly this is a little trickier. I think that Covid will cause more psychological symptoms for most of us, rather than physical ones. The feelings of uncertainty and anxiety we’re experiencing are natural and understandable. But, until proven otherwise, shouldn’t be taken as permanent. If we have time to take care of our physical selves – we also have time to take care of our emotional selves. We have time to meditate, or take up a (constructive) hobby. The acts of eating well and exercise alone should have spin-off effects on one’s frame of mind. And if we can’t help ourselves, reaching out to help others (who might be more Covid-compromised) can bring internal satisfaction.

It’s possible to think about and recognize your priorities. Planning for the future may feel like a mug’s game right now. But this hiatus allows us to look back to see what we miss and conversely what we can live without. I don’t mean that we’re destined to live like Spartans from now on. And what you’re pining for is likely very different from what I miss. The particulars don’t matter, but the exercise in self-reflection does. Ultimately, you’ll figure out how to reincorporate what’s intrinsic to you back into your life, once you’ve contemplated your priorities.

And so, it’s possible to be ready for the changes that await you.  You really can’t be expected to do more than be grounded, physically and emotionally attuned during this big effing mess. But the good news is that if you are, then you’re also as prepared as you can be for the new world that awaits us, and the real changes that you’ll be required to meet.

And, I surmise, with this issue of Tonic, we can help you be well and geared up for what comes next. Joel Thuna explains the energizing properties of ginseng. Megan Horsley advises on the foods that will help you sleep and Carlyle Jansen explains how to maintain physical relationships during social distancing. If you want to learn more about any of those topics you can visit thetonic.ca and listen to the full interviews on those topics. As always, if you’d like to discuss this note or anything you’ve read in this issue, feel free to reach out to me.