It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep. I keep asking myself ‘how did we get here?’ It was only three weeks ago that we were able to mingle freely without this fear, and now, we’re trapped inside our homes wondering when will this end? Yes, we’re allowed to go outside to get food or exercise but for our safety, we have to stay at least 6ft away from others and who knows if that is enough. After almost two weeks of shelter in place, reality is starting to set in.
Like many of you, I have my own fears and many moments of worry. I fear how this might impact my job, and if we stay in this ‘shelter in place’ status for months, how long will my company continue to pay me? I worry about catching COVID and if this happens, what will I do with my dogs, who will watch them for me? (side bar: many articles I've read recommend having a plan for your pups in case you catch the virus. Do you have one yet?) And something I have never worried about before...toilet paper!! I’m down to my last two rolls so all jokes aside, can anyone spare a roll? These are the only fears I’ve allowed myself to have because I can still say my dogs and I are healthy. Nowadays that’s more valuable than a roll of toilet paper.
Two of the biggest things I’ve been focusing on are meditation and making sure my dogs get the exercise they need. Every morning we wake up and I try to keep our daily routine the same, with one big difference - I’m home with them all the time. After I feed the boys, I find a quiet place and I meditate, which isn't as easy as it sounds. Vito and Luca are big boys and the three of us share 550 square feet of living space. It's starting to feel smaller. Every. Day. Our tiny space has transformed into a dog park for them and a workout facility for me, but for now, we are making it work.
The Coronavirus is changing the way we all live our lives. Sports and cultural events have been canceled. Parents are seeking out ways to home school their children. Retail shops, movie theaters, museums, recreational parks and fitness facilities are all closed. This is the current state we’re in and we can panic or we can breath and try to make the best of our situation. We can’t control what we can’t control. If we’re going to get through this we have to be kind to ourselves. Take time to care for your mental health because when we’re healthy, we’re able to extend care to others who may need it more. Everyone copes with stress in different ways so we need to focus on our strengths and come together and find ways to make each other smile from afar. We all have more time on our hands now. Whether it's 15 minutes or 15 hours, think about how you can use that time to stay healthy inside and out.
I’ve put together a list of helpful tips and activities you can do for yourself, others and your dogs. These might be uncertain times, but there is always light in the darkness.
THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR DOG
Take little walks in your neighborhood (practice social distancing)
Teach your dog a new trick
Workout with your dog
Hide and go seek the treat - hide treats around your place and have your dog go find them
Mental stimulation games - check out https://www.dognition.com
Bake some homemade dog treats
If you have a yard or a large space make your own agility course
Order some puzzle toys
Massage your dog, therapeutic for both you and your pup
Play indoor fetch, hall ball or run up and down the stairs in your house or building
Read to your dog
THINGS TO DO FOR YOURSELF
Breathe. Take 10- 20 minutes for yourself each day, shut off and disconnect from any distractions to connect with your inner well-being
Guided meditation. Checkout apps like Headspace
Stay active. Practice yoga. Do jumping jacks. Move your body in any way that makes you feel good
Journal or list the things you are thankful for
Embrace your inner chef and create a new dinner recipe
Declutter and organize starting with one drawer or space at a time
Limit your time online and/or reading the news
Watch or read something uplifting
Make a fun music playlist
If you’re alone, adopt or foster an animal
THINGS TO DO FOR OTHERS
Social distancing - stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings
Shop for neighbors at risk
Donate to charities, food banks and/or shelters
Buy gift cards to small businesses and support them while they’re closed
Stay connected with friends and loved ones. Start a group chat, plan a video date. Remind others that they’re not alone.
Remember we're all in this together. Stay safe and healthy friends. High Paws and Kindness Always, Me, my doods and I
*please note before this post went live, I was able to find toilet paper. One less worry!