This week we got the news we anticipated. After moving back to Red – Control which loosened some restrictions—most notably our store reopened—and declining COVID positive numbers over the last two weeks, it was announced Friday that as of Monday we move to Orange – Restrict in the COVID-19 response framework. What this means is a bunch of great things for our mental health.
- It means we can re-open our ‘bubble’ a teeny bit more to include our close camp friends again.
- It also means Emelia gets to have even more in-person Cheer practices with more of the team together.
- And, it means I can play hockey again! All of these things will be great for how cooped up we’ve been—especially in these winter months!
In keeping with our mental and physical wellbeing, with another Saturday off, we repeated our outdoor activity of last week with the weather being so much nicer than it has been. We got together – socially distanced of course – with our camp friends and went for an outdoor hike in Komoka Provincial Park. The weather couldn’t have been any better. The sun was out, the skies were blue and the temperature was on the plus side of zero. We took in all the fresh air we could stand on the 5.39 km hike over 87 metres of elevation gain on the beautiful trails that run along the Thames River watershed. There was laughter, smiles and we even saw a pair of bald eagles on our trek. By the time Saturday evening rolled around our legs were certainly feeling the effect of all the good-for-the-soul activity.
And of course the other great news with the change in restrictions is that now Mom & Dad are allowed to have visits from both their primary (me) and secondary (Shawn) caregivers meaning they have an added layer of help inside the facility. It also means there will be a few more activities added to their social calendar options. And that Mom can now finally get into the salon to get her hair shampooed and cut. It will do them a mountain of good to not feel so trapped in their suite I am sure. They have made a few acquaintances there albeit from a distance and really only at dinner time only. It will be good for them now that the whole facility has been vaccinated to have a slight bit more of socialization.
So with the move back to Orange this week as we flip into the month on the calendar that this whole strange quarantine reality began a year ago (!), and some restrictions lessening – even if just slightly – it feels almost possible that one day we can return to some semblance of normal albeit with the overwhelming doubt that it will ever fully return back to normal completely. (I think masks will just be a part of the way forward in cold & flu season). But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do a series of five mental fist pumps when I got the email confirming that we had the green light to get the last of our weekly Friday hockey skates in starting possible as soon as this Friday. Oh how I have missed the ice and am looking to get back out on it with my pals!
News this week could not have come at a better time. The impact of this virus has had such lasting effects. I see it in Emelia, her friends and kids in general. They are mentally breaking from the pressure, the isolation, the loss of normal and the stress that comes with living in a pandemic. For atheletes there has been such strong sense of loss. We are just about a year from Emelia’s last gymnastics competition, and almost a year from the world shutting down. A YEAR! That is still insane to think about. A year from seeing family, most friends, being in a store or public place without a mask. The impact on people’s physical and mental well-being is long term.
As a family we have been open about mental health struggles with this sense of loss. Emelia has battled anxiety her whole life but this pandemic set her to a place that she needed somewhat broke. She is better now, she has the right supports, she has mentally come so far, she has a great therapist and we have the right supports from him and school but the isolation has really gotten to her and her friends. This week was a real dose of new hope of some sort of new normal. We move to orange restrictions on Monday which will allow Emelia to get back to some more training, some of her team training and John can get back to hockey. We are a happy family that way!
Our way of dealing with the stress of the pandemic has been through fitness, we all workout daily and close our rings and we try to get out for long walks and fresh air as much as we can. Last weekend we went for a long walk with our friends Stephanie and Justin and this week we did the same but added our friends Holly and Ted but even better the kids came with us. Emelia, Olivia, Heidi and her boyfriend all came and honestly it was exactly what we all needed. We all are connected through our kids but our love of the outdoors and camping so being out for a long hike in nature was perfect. The kids were so happy, Emelia and Liv talked each others ears off after not seeing each other face to face for months.