We Can Choose to See the Positive Side

by Joanne Fontaine, RPhT

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Whew, what a week!  I’m stressed, and I’m tired.  Here we are, seven months into a pandemic with no end in sight.  Everyone on the news keeps referring to this as our “new normal.”  I don’t love our new normal, and I hope it goes away soon.  In the meantime, there’s nothing I can do about it.

Or is there?

Yeah, yeah, I know… wash my hands, wear a mask, social distance.  Got it, understand it, doing it.

But what about things that I do have control over?   Someone at the gym yesterday said that she heard on the radio that this pandemic has given us one of the best opportunities ever for us to be able to help other people.

Wait… what??  I help people all day long in my job, don’t I?  Heck yeah, I do!  But have I used this time to go above and beyond to help others that aren’t as fortunate as me to still have a job?  Giving is one of the most rewarding things there is.  So… maybe next time I get groceries, I will drop a box or two of macaroni in the food bank bin.  Feels good, doesn’t it?  Suddenly I’m the unknown hero in the Batman cape.  Pretty sure my hubby wears that cape when he uses his snow blower to clear the whole block.  That’s okay; I like to share.

I look at myself in the mirror, and I look tired.  So how can I give to others if I have nothing left to give?  Well… let’s look after ourselves first! Crazy idea, right?  Look at yourself in that mirror, and instead of noticing that you look tired and have old lady skin, maybe look at that person and say, “You are amazing, you are beautiful!”  (Feel free to choose any adjective that you love, as long as it is positive!)  Does it feel weird or wrong to say that?  Then say it again.

What have you done for yourself lately?  Positive self-talk is only the beginning.  Have you gone out in nature and felt the sun on your face?  Have you gotten any exercise?  There are tonnes of positive things that happen to our body when we exercise (but that would be a whole other blog).  I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before… but are you actually doing it?  I believe that our mental health depends on it right now.

Do you meditate?  Should we be taking some time in this crazy, always-on world to stop our minds and enjoy the silence?  Start at five minutes a day and see where that takes you.  (Note to self – take your own advice!)  I admit I need to practice what I preach.  That’s okay because when we wake up tomorrow, we have another chance to love ourselves more.

Evaluate how you feel.  Winter is coming, and that doesn’t help anyone.  Darkness and cold… yuck.  Do you need to talk about it?  Is something weighing on you that you need help dealing with?  Firstly, you are definitely NOT alone.  Secondly, please reach out.  Talk to your loved ones and your friends. Maybe your boss can be super helpful.  I believe that admitting we need help is something to be proud of because it is hard to do.  Even Batman has underlying issues… I mean, the guy hides under a bat costume after all…

Have you talked to your loved ones already, and you’re still feeling down?  Please reach out for counselling.  There are many options available, and some of them are free!  Are you a spiritual person?  Maybe there’s someone in your circle, whatever that may be, that can be an ear for you and offer some advice.  Let’s talk to each other and love each other up.

My neighbour purchased one of the window clings for her front window that says, “we are in this together.”  We truly are.  Maybe it sounds corny, but I think it’s important for us to remember.  Also, don’t forget to smile.  When you wear a mask, you don’t have to worry that you have something in your teeth.  (See, there’s always a plus side.)

I guess that’s what I am really trying to say.  There’s always a plus side.  Maybe we can choose how our day is going to go today.  Maybe by loving ourselves more, we won’t be afraid of the world right now.  Maybe we can get out of bed and say thank you for another chance at getting it right. Maybe we can choose to see the positive side and bring that out into the world today.

There are only two choices here, fear or love.  I choose love.  Are you with me?


Joanne Fontaine works as a purchasing technician with AHS at the Medicine Hat hospital.  She also has had the privilege of working in Grande Prairie in both acute and cancer care.  Ultimate life goal – to be found lounging on the beaches of Mexico in a wrap and flip flops while getting a sun tan.