Journey Through Quarantine - Acrylic painting by Paulina Ponsford
As I sit down in front of my blank canvas, paintbrush in hand, the idea of painting what my feelings are of the current quarantine comes to mind. For me, this quarantine is a journey; it sounds like a contradiction, of course—a journey through quarantine—but for me, it is a journey that came abruptly, and I wasn't prepared for it.
I feel that I am on a journey in a strange place, where I'm not allowed to see my family or my friends. A place in which every time I go outside, I am at risk of contracting a potentially fatal virus. Everyone should wear a face mask when leaving their homes. We also practice "social distancing," which means to keep at two arm's length with anyone that comes nearby. Most of the stores are closed, except for those deemed "essential services." There are many new rules and regulations at the grocery stores; many isles are empty of merchandise; we have to adjust our diets according to what we can find. Shoppers are hoarding toilette paper, and it's now impossible to find hand sanitizer.
My family and friends seem to be far away, yet they are all experiencing the same challenging circumstances as me. The whole planet has come to a standstill and is under quarantine in fear of contracting THE VIRUS!
Flora and Fauna, on the other hand, are thriving in this environment without human intervention. Small birds chirp happily in front of my window, taunting my cats from outside.
The fear of the virus spread quickly around the world, and countries started quarantining their citizens. When this first occurred, I must admit that I was scared, and I even had a small meltdown one evening during my first week in quarantine. I was not afraid for myself (although I should be since I've had pneumonia more than once), but for my daughter, for my grandson, for the future of this planet, fear of the unknown. It was a good thing this happened; once I acknowledged my feelings, I was able to move forward.
As the weeks went by, I've developed a set of strategies that work for me during these strange and challenging times. I don't want to tell you what to do, everyone is different, and their circumstances may vary considerably than mine. All I want to do is share them with you. They are not innovative or groundbreaking, but they work for me.
In no particular order, here they are:
Stay positive - Staying positive is a mind and body connection. It starts with a thought, and the body has to follow, it requires action. To stay positive, I get up early, tidy up, get dressed, and work.
Doing positive behavior keeps my mind positive and vice versa.
Take care of myself - Taking care of myself is extremely important to me. Otherwise, I cannot take care of anybody else. I do this by eating healthy small meals throughout the day. I exercise a little bit to relieve stress and get the blood circulation throughout my body. I also pamper myself when I need to, I enjoy a relaxing hot bath. I might have a nice glass of wine with dinner.
Keep informed - I like to know what is happening in Canada and around the world without being a prey of the media. I also read and watch documentaries on previous pandemics the world has suffered throughout the centuries. The way people react to this kind of circumstance has not changed throughout time; fear, blame, and violence becomes prevalent. The information helps me; knowledge is power.
Make time to read - I now make the time to read the books that were collecting dust on my night table. I love to read real stories of human will and survival under unimaginable circumstances; some of my favorite authors of this genre are Viktor Frankl and Marina Nemat. I also enjoy reading historical novels; some of my favorite authors in this genre are Isabel Allende, Mark T Mustian, Khaled Hosseini, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Geiling Yan.
Stay in touch with family and friends - This is a crucial time to stay in touch with loved ones. We have all the technology at our fingertips, and even if we can't be together, we can remain in daily contact.
Do creative activities - Doing something creative is exceptionally healing and rewarding. My most significant source of creativity is painting; it's my therapy and my happy place. Any activity can have a dose of creativity, such as cooking or reorganizing your closet.
Count my blessings - Every time I feel a little bit anxious, I stop and count my blessings. I am healthy, my family is healthy, I have a beautiful spacious home, I have heat, I have food, my husband is with me, my pets are happy and healthy, and the list goes on and on. I am truly blessed!
Last but not least,
Positive thinking and visualization - I learned this technique from Viktor Frankl's book Man In Search of Meaning. Always think of a brighter future ahead, even in the most trying circumstances that life presents.
These are my strategies; they are simple yet effective for me.
I keep extremely busy; I make every day count instead of counting every day.
I would love to hear from you and how you are coping with your quarantine and the current time in your life.
Please comment below.
Part of my healing process was to paint this composition, Journey Through Quarantine. I've attached the video in case you want to see the process and techniques I used.