Andrea Rondeau column: We all need a little downtime

With the technologies we have now at least it’s not as isolating as it once would have been.

Mental health will be very important in the coming days, as people socially distance themselves, and some quarantine.

There’s something about being told you can’t or shouldn’t go out and see people, but instead should laze around at home that takes at least some of the fun out of what would normally, for a lot of people be a few days off. Our minds seem to automatically chafe at the prospect of having to kick back around the house, rather than choosing to.

With the technologies we have now at least it’s not as isolating as it once would have been. Imagine what those worried about the Spanish Influenza of 1918 experienced. There were no phones or computers or televisions to be able to contact the outside world. And there was no information at your fingertips.

Knowing about all of the latest developments can be great, and you should keep yourself abreast of what officials are recommending and even ordering us to do. It helps us feel connected to the world, and we can adjust our behaviour to comply with health protocols.

But it’s not healthy to fixate, even as it’s easier than ever before, with a seemingly endless supply of data right there on our screens. Here in the newsroom the COVID-19 updates have come in thick and fast this week, and we’ve worked tirelessly to try to keep on top of the closures, cancellations and shifting landscape. But it’s important to take a break, too. Even for reporters. We need to at least occasionally remind ourselves that COVID-19 isn’t the only thing going on in the world, and that this, too, shall pass.

I was reminded of that on Wednesday afternoon as I read a story on our website about community members helping to rescue stranded dolphins near Powell River. It was great to have a pick-me-up in the middle of the working afternoon.

If you’re at home, try putting down the computer and turning off the TV for a few minutes to enjoy a quiet meal, or pick up book so you can get lost in a fictional narrative for a while.

This week the weather has been stunningly beautiful with the promise of spring. Try getting outside to feel the sun on your face by going for a walk, or even just sitting out on your deck or in your yard.

In other words, make sure to give yourself some downtime.

And if you’re experiencing a serious problem, be sure to contact a mental health professional.


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