I will be honest with you, my friends. Operating a business during this time is like tip toeing through a minefield. The landscape changes daily, as to human emotions. The vast majority of us that believe that if we can continue to be kind, patient, and careful, we can get through this.
We are all having to learn new habits, and resist the urge we have to connect both physically, and emotionally with those we encounter.
At this time where what the people of the world need is a ‘hug’, we are being told not to touch. In those moments where we crave the company and companionship of others, we are told to isolate. When the thing that will soothe our anxiety is movement, distraction, and interaction, we are forced to stay home, avoid parks, and stay out of the gym.
People are being ticketed, warned, fined, chastised, shamed, and confronted. I understand the reasons why, but believe a more considerate approach might be as effective – a soft-spoken word, or a bit of patience, a kind reminder. Some people are becoming quick to jump to the wrong conclusion out of fear. Last week we were accused of ‘serving customers food to eat in our store’ (not true), ‘not caring about our community’ (not true) and ‘not taking any precautions to protect our staff and customers’ (also not true).
Yesterday I was in line at the grocery store and I asked the young woman who was serving me if people were ‘being nice’. Unfortunately she said ‘not always’, which made me sad. But she was cheery, and pleasant and helpful and I thanked her for keeping her spirits up and finding it within herself to still ‘be kind’.
‘Being Kind’ makes all the difference. You can take any difficult, challenging, and frustrating situation and make it 100 times better with kindness. I waited on hold for 3 hours this weekend with my bank. I needed an error resolved and I would have had every right to be frustrated. When I finally got through, the exhausted agent was so grateful that I was ‘kind’ that I knew that she had spent the entire day being yelled at. I asked her how she was doing. We chatted for a few minutes about how difficult times are and I wished her a speedy end to her shift. It took very little energy on my part and made her very long day a tiny bit better.
There are little things we can do to help ease the tension. Limit time on social media and news. I check in 3 times throughout the day, following only local news sites reporting facts, and checking in with Ottawa Public Health for advice and updates.
I am trying not to engage in conversations that are related to the epidemic. It’s OK to tell friends, family and coworkers that you would prefer not to discuss it. Keeping busy helps, and we certainly are busy here at the Red Apron.
For me, flowers help and many places, like our good friends at Bloomfields in the Glebe, are delivering to your door.
The Peace Room is offering guided meditations and workshops online, and asking us all to join them this Saturday for a worldwide meditation. Many other fitness and yoga services are offering online options for both group sessions, and one on one.
And bake cookies! The smell alone will make you feel better. You don’t even have to eat them if you are worried about your waistline. You can leave them on the doorstep of your friends and family members like a little ‘cookie hug’.
Follow this link to a recipes for cookies, loaves and bars we baked over the holidays a few years ago! You can let out your creative energy decorating some of them for Easter, which is just around the corner!