I know the world is weird right now. I feel it too, it’s a weird kind of annoyance with the world. The weather has finally warmed up, the days are longer, and the sun is shining but the days don’t feel quite as sunny as they should. The underlying Pandemic stresses run deep, and they are hard to shake. Will it be safe enough for me to send my kids to school in September? How long does a vaccination take to be cleared as safe for the public? Do I have enough supplies to last through a potential second wave come flu season?
When I actually stop worrying, I think about what our normal summer days include. Meeting friends for splash-pad playdates and picnics, family reunion swimming parties, birthday celebrations and playing soccer! All these organized activities aside, the past few months have helped me realize how much I actually enjoy other humans! It is just the most bizarre thing going out dodging my neighbours .I zigzag to avoid moms I’ve known for years, while yelling, “Hi, how are you? Let’s chat soon?!” as I mad dash away as not to encourage any type of extended conversation. Because, of course, 6 feet apart right?
Thankfully our social circle has recently been expanded to include 10 people – which has been a true godsend, being able to hug my parents and family members again has been a real game changer.
What I’ve really realized is just how small 10 people is in the overall scheme of life. What you may not know, is that I am a teacher, so I am very accustomed to seeing many people each and every day. In a typical week I interact with a minimum of…
Immediate family (4)
Extended family (5+)
School drop off (15 – teacher plus students) + (other teachers and students)
Pre-school drop off (10+)
Other teachers in the staffroom and beyond (20+)
Students in my class (22)
Other students during recess, lunch duty, hallway interactions (100+)
Parents of students in my class (average 10+ at pick up after school)
Gymnastics / dance / soccer / swimming other misc extra curricular activities (50+)
My own soccer (20+)
Refs / lines people (+ 3)
Other team (20+ but obviously I don’t talk to the enemy)
Greek restaurant (5+)
Tim Horton’s / Starbucks (5+)
Librarian and humans there (25+)
=336 human interactions
My human interactions are down by 97%!
Like hello, no wonder people are experiencing mental fatigue and emotional exhaustion during the different Covid-19 phases. Humans are social creatures by nature, yes, we have become somewhat addicted to our devices but it was always with the capability of going out into the world. I can barely remember what it was like, taking a walk without panicking because I don’t want to breath in someone else germs!
Our children have definitely felt the strain of not, “being able to play with my friends because of the ‘big germ,” as we like to call it at our house. Their social interactions have been completed stunted in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Even with some of our provincial restrictions opening up, we are still going to stick to ourselves for the time being. I’m thinking we may meet some friends for our outside playing but even then we will keep the group very small.
So what can we do to get through a Pandemic, in the summer in order to keep sane and healthy? I like to focus on what I can control. Spending as much time as we can with those inside our social circle. We plan outdoor activities that are safe and involve minimal to no interactions with other humans (for now). Discuss your worries with other moms and find others feeling the same as you (there are many as I am finding out).
Basically, we need to remember that with each day we contain the virus, it is another step towards returning to a life where we can safely interact with people.
So until then, I will wear my mask inside public places, keep my social distance, and listen for those that are struggling.
Remember, Loved is Best, even for yourself.