We kept the office open this week to keep a light on for the community. In conversation this morning though, we think it is prudent to close and work virtually starting next week.

We want to help, and wondered these past few days how we could do that best. Sharing information as it comes in is a big part of what we’ve been doing the past three days, and will continue to do. It is coming in fast and furious too. And that’s great, because it means help is out there – we simply need to know where to look, and ask for it.

We sat in on the Destination Development special webinar on COVID-19 and it inspired us. Everything Olds is the “public personae” of the Olds Institute, and as such, we cross-promote where it is suitable. The OI will be creating something in the coming days to help connect you with help where it is needed. But because COVID-19 touches everyone socially and economically, this is going to create a LOT of “keep up” work for the OI just on that information overload.

Our focus through Everything Olds will be on uplifting people and businesses with some positive messages – looking for the light in the darkness of uncertainty.

That said, it is believed that the worst of the spread will run its course in approximately 90 days. So we thought we would share 90 Days of Positivity – tips and suggestions and good news when it comes around.

When the dust settles from all this, and it is safe for us to once again gather, we will have to talk about having some kind of celebration.

Let the count down begin!

Day 90 - Stay Positive.

Day 90: Stay Positive!
There is so much panic and worry and stress being spread about this situation. There are plenty of places where you can find reliable, non-inflammatory information (follow the OI social media for some of those sources, like this podcast interview from the Joe Rogan Experience).

Getting anxious about this environment does more harm than good, not just for the fact that it empties store shelves, but it raises your cortisol levels, which can actually make you more susceptible to illness! So, take a deep breath, press “OFF” on the television, spend an evening on the phone with distant friends or get the kids to the kitchen table to hand you a butt-whomping in games like cribbage, Monopoly, Scrabble or Exploding Kittens. (Swallow your pride on that one, parents. Your little guppies turn into sharks when cards and dice hit the table.)

This event, like all others, will pass. It will end. We hope that by the time we hit Day 1 of our countdown we are all back to some sense of normal.

Day 89: Be Happy
Man, this is tough right now, isn’t it?

Some of you are receiving letters from top dogs saying “pens and hammers down”. Massive numbers of Canadians don’t know if they have jobs any more, or that there will be jobs waiting on the other side. ALL OF US are saddened that the work that we cared about so much is halted.

So in the midst of all this not knowing, you see this post and think: How the H-E-double-hockey-sticks are we supposed to be HAPPY

(Hockey. Dang it. You had to mention hockey…)

The Zen amongst us would say, “Simple: Be happy.” Which is often met with eyerolls and grumbles and the occasional, “Shut up. Just… shut up.”

Yet, every time we face a situation, we have a choice as to how we want to feel about it. We can – or at least we should make the effort to – control our emotions, and to choose a better feeling whenever we can.

Happiness does not come from outside us. When you think about it, maybe that’s one of the many lessons that will come out of this situation.

We tend to look outside ourselves to find “happiness” — through travel, or buying luxury items, or going to parties — generally indulging in “stuff”, whatever form that takes. When we go outside ourselves to find happiness, that ‘happiness’ is fleeting — like a drug, we feel the high for a while, then the buzz wears off and we go out to seek our next “hit”.

By seeking “the good stuff” outside our selves, we aren’t listening to our own inner voice, and choosing what gives us a sense of fulfilment and a deeper sense of happiness.

This is the International Day of Happiness. At this site you can find a “Coping Calendar” and a “10 Days of Happiness” coaching workshop if you are struggling with feeling happy right now. It’s certainly understandable if you are, so this is a good place to start. And maybe watch “The Pursuit of Happyness” this weekend.

Day 88: Keep Things in Perspective
To keep things in perspective means to look at the whole picture, seeing things in their proper relation/proportion to everything else. The idea is something like stepping back from the thing you are concerned about so you can see other things too.

So, in this situation, we need to take a step back and observe things rationally and make the effort to refrain from making judgements.

Except for people who hoard toilet paper. Judge away. (Just kidding. We’ll get a related post going on that phenomenon later.)

Here’s an example:

For those of us old enough to remember Lee Majors and “The Six Million Dollar Man”, the opening script stated, in part, “We have the technology.” Whatever is going on around us, those words ring truer today more than ever before.

We have the technology to work from home (for those whose skills can leverage this); to see each other across distances with Facetime, Skype and other online tools; to adapt our businesses to deliver services online; to keep up-to-date by the minute with events as they unfold; to access resources to manage our finances; to treat patients effectively and realize a high recovery rate; to develop a vaccine.

Perspective: Consider this on the larger scale of what our forefathers had to face 102 years ago when it was a Spanish flu and not a Chinese virus… and that they got through that awful time without the technology we have today. Yes, the world was far different then. Yet one wonders: If the modern world is fearful of this pandemic, how frightened were they feeling? AND they had just come out of the first mechanized war on the planet. They weren’t exactly seeing tech as their friend.

Something to think about.

Day 87: Learn a New Skill
Some of us are home schooling children and quickly discovering… we are not teachers.

OK, we now have more appreciation for the people who spend those days in the classroom with the kids. And while the kids are home schooling, there things we can do to expand our skill base too. They could be related to our regular jobs, or they might be things that we’ve been curious about but have said for too long: “I don’t have the time”.

Well, guess what? You just may be able to find some time now. (I’ve seen your posts saying you’re busier than ever with kids at home, and working at home, and staying up on the household chores. I feel you — I had a home-based business with littles in the house for 7 years. You can do this. Give yourself time to adapt. And rest. And be sure to get the other family members to help.)

To continue from yesterday’s note, we have the technology to learn these new skills. You know there are all KINDS of tutorials on crafts, hobbies, and DIYs on YouTube – just hit the search bar and you find hundreds of ideas. Pinterest? I could wallpaper my house with all the images of things I’d like to try! If you are on Facebook, search for groups who share their projects and how-to’s for inspiration and build your network of other creators and fixer-uppers.

If you’re really wanting to deep-dive to expand your job skills or improve some aspect of your business, here are some links to explore in-depth online programs:

  • Udemy.com – Everything from SQL to finance and accounting, from marketing to music. They have a HUGE library of courses you can take. And the prices are very affordable.
  • MasterClass.com – Cooking lessons from Gordon Ramsey. Creative writing with James Patterson. Photography tips from National Geographic photographer Jimmy Chin. Whew. Subscription-based.
  • Lynda.com – Now flying the banner LinkedIn Learning, this resource is thorough in its delivery on topics. When I first used it, the focus was on animation, graphic design and Photoshop. Now they have literally everything. Wow. Find a topic that is not on this list. https://www.lynda.com/subject/all

What skill have you wanted to try but haven’t been able to get to? Now is a good time to give it a go. Carve out that hour today and feel a little excited about trying something new.

Day 86: Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Don’t you love it when people do something nice for you out of the blue? Doesn’t it feel good to do something nice for someone else?

You might be thinking, “How can I perform random acts of kindness when I’m self-isolated?”

Heh. You thought you were gonna get out of this one? No way.

  • Write a positive review on a local business – Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor…
  • Put an uplifting message on a poster in your living room window or share it on social media.
  • Start a piggy bank – collect up the loose change in a jar and when you get back out into the world, keep adding your change to it. At the end of the year, donate the money to a charity.
  • Complement someone. “Bless your heart…” doesn’t count. (You know what I mean…)
  • Write a letter. We’ve lost the art of writing letters. It feels good to get personal letters in the mail, a nice change from bills and flyers.

Need more ideas? Here are some you can start now, continue as the weather warms up, then make a habit after the crisis is over.

Day 85: Limit Your Intake of News

I could go off on this one: Mainstream media fanning the flames of panic. Fake news. Blah blah blah and the talking heads painting pictures of doom and people on social media pointing fingers in blame and shame.

Enough.

(Personal observation — a TV ad for “Canada’s most trusted news”: CORONA VIRUS in huge letters on the screen, images of medical staff in full hazmat gear, and a sound track that could back a J.J. Abrams film for added drama. Really? But we’re not spreading fear…. nnooooo…)

It’s already been said: The panic being generated creates its own problems that only makes things worse. We all know this is serious. We all know we have to take precautions and self-isolate. But spreading fear is not the way to deal with this.

And after the past few weeks – the perpetual inundation of updates and announcements and releases and on and on and on I can tell you from working in the communications side of things – just keeping up with actual data and accounts is exhausting. It puts a serious drain on your energy. I can’t imagine how our health care workers on the front lines are coping. (I already had huge amount of respect for health care workers. I’ve doubled down that respect level lately. It’s a massive challenge they’re facing. God bless them.)

Preserve your energy because you will need it to get through this.

Pick a couple good local sources to keep you up to date. The local radio station is awesome – they provide the snapshots and updates that are most relevant to you. Olds Institute is keeping an eye out for information to share on any assistance, programs, and updates that might help you out. If you really are a numbers person, and you want to see exactly what’s happening, the Alberta government has the latest stats and resources.

Turn off the television. Don’t fall for click-bait and sound bites — they don’t tell the whole story. Wherever possible, look for positive stories in the midst all this. Find good news stories completely unrelated to the virus. Watch videos and movies that make you laugh.

Don’t feed the trolls who make a career out of keeping you frightened.

Put yourself on a media diet. Your nerves will thank you for it.

Day 84: Send a Gift

You know who is staying really, really busy amidst all this hubbub? Delivery services.

Call up one of our local businesses, have them put a package together and mail it to the recipient. They can process your credit card or accept an e-transfer – given the situation they will be happy to work with you to make it happen.

Or make something yourself. Who doesn’t love home made cards or crafts?

Some of our local businesses are doing curb-side pick-up, so if you need supplies, call them up, and arrange for a pick up so you can get crafty. Or have them mail you what you need to get started.

Try to buy locally versus the monster online stores like… Who-Know-Who.

Supporting local businesses right now is key to ensuring they will be there when this is over. If you can spend a few dollars locally, please do.

Day 83: Breathe.
The actionable thing we can do that is so basic, it’s the body’s first response to being born.

We breathe.

And we tend to hold our breath when we’re tense. Or preoccupied. Or experiencing any level of discomfort.

Athletes, yoga practitioners, physicians and psychologists know the importance of breathing. Getting oxygen to your muscles, heart and brain. Releasing hormones to help you perform better and think more clearly. To ease stress.

We saw this great little gif recently – in fact there are several on giphy.com – something to download to your phone or desktop and put on a timer every hour through the day. Stop in moments of tension and worry and focus on breathing. It’s amazing the difference it makes to your state of mind.

via GIPHY

If you’re sick do the best you can with this. When you recover, this practice really makes you appreciate the simple act of breathing and the difference it makes.

Pause. Breathe. Love.

Day 82: Support a Local Business

They need us right now.

There are still businesses open, but they’ve had to do some major pivots to keep going.

Others are closed, but can be reached by email and social media. We are starting to get a few updates on everyone’s status in our Business Directory, so search for them here too.

Here are some ideas to help support our local mom-and-pop shops to ensure they’ll still be there on the other side of this rough patch:

  • Call them and buy gift cards to use later. It gives them some cash in hand now.
  • Do you know someone in quarantine? Call up a few shops, and chat about assembling some ‘care packages’ to have delivered. It helps the businesses and cheers up a friend who’s feeling low.
  • If you can leave the house, do what you can to shop the smaller businesses, the ones you know are scared or hurting.

Let’s help everyone get through this, and then continue to help them rebuild when everyone returns to full service later.

Day 81: Go for a Walk

We are fortunate in Olds to have some nice walking paths and trails. Now that the weather is warming up, there’s no reason to not get out (maintaining social distance of course).

We are seeing posts of people out for walks, taking kids on bike rides, even doing a little snowshoeing. Again, keep that social distance between y’all.

The physical benefits are obvious, as are the mental benefits. We’ve all gone for walks to ‘clear our heads’.

What a great time to make it a regular habit.

Next up: Days 80 – 71. Read Here. >
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