Originally published in the May 29, 2020 edition of Pikwakanagan Tibadjumowin
Dear Members of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation,
During these anxious and unusual times, it brings unforeseen difficulties. With all the tragic things that are happening in the world as a result of COVID-19, it might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive. Yet, a positive outlook is an essential ingredient in the recipe for happiness and successfully coping in a crisis. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be proactive about creating small moments of happiness in our days, or “joie de vivre” (joy of life).
Even during lockdown, we still have many small moments to find pleasant. The smell of coffee, the feel of the warm shower on your back and so on. When you stop to take in these moments, rather than let them rush by, give yourself a chance to really experience the moment, this will elevate your mood and make you feel calm.
For those of us in family lockdown, now is the opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones. Take the time to hug your kids or partner, do creative or household projects, and have long conversations with them – all these promote closeness and happiness.
By tuning into the positive instead of the negative, you can potentially change your brain chemistry and build up your energy levels to help you cope with the other aspects of your day that have been made more difficult. When we tune into the positive, we are united in hope. As I mentioned earlier the COVID-19 threat has created many challenges, and if you live alone you may need to be particularly vigilant when planning your time to maintain your mental health. Stay informed, but reduce your exposure to the news cycle, limit your time spent on social media, take the initiative to reach out to friends and family daily, be conscious about what you eat and how you’re moving, throw yourself into meaningful activities, and speak with someone professional if needed.
As the province and Pikwakanagan begin reopening the businesses, the Emergency Response Control Group are reminding everyone to continue practicing social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Social distancing is the only part of this crisis that we have some type of control over. Social distancing is necessary, and it is important for people to maintain their distance, so they do not encounter COVID-19. Remember washing your hands is one of the most effective ways of decreasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Experts are now recommending masks as an effective way to protect those around you from transmission if you are carrying the virus, perhaps without knowing.
Social distancing measures include staying at home as much as possible; limiting non-essential trips; working from home when possible and conducting virtual meetings; shopping for groceries, medicines and other supplies once a week or less; staying away from places where people are in higher numbers; avoiding visits to hospitals and care homes; and limiting contact with people at higher risk such as older adults and those in poor health.
We need to continue to do our part and keep ourselves and our family members safe, all while maintaining a realistic, yet positive outlook on life.
Wendy Jocko, Chief