So… speaking of balance, do you check the news often? More now than before? In my case, yes and yes (and then I wonder why balance went missing.) I get my topic for my columns through perusing news, more now than I used to three weeks ago (it feels like we’ve been stuck in this pandemic craziness for way longer, right?).

But… this morning my eyes fell on a headline that just about made me run the other way as fast as possible, which is fine I guess as long as I keep my distance. The headline contained the dreaded word we are now seeing everywhere (yes, I mean coronavirus,) but included scarier yet words which collectively read ‘second wave of.’

No, I am not ready to read that or even unpack the concept into something more palatable that does not freak me out completely. We are not done with the first wave, and I know journalists are all about creating that grabbing headline, but come on, second wave? Will there be a break in between to catch our collective breath? Is there a space free of anything covid-19 where we can find a patch of grass to lie on and stare at the sky without a care in the world?

So, I will once again restrict my news diet. In fact, I already know what my next column will be about so I can go on with my restricted access plan, which is once a day in the afternoon (to catch the updates.) Sanity matters, right?

As for the rest of the day, and because now more than ever it is important to keep the mind busy, here’s my list:

Morning stretches (been at it for a long time now). Mindfulness gurus recommend intention setting or something along that, but I admit to an undisciplined mind for that bit of morning time that belongs only to me. Small luxuries, right?

Hike with the dog. No matter the weather, and even more now, we go and get tired on the trails. The uphill help clear the mind of stress debris (temporarily.)

Work (with interruptions, as it happens to all those who work from home, but so grateful for the whole of it.)

Learning. Various courses and webinars. Now more than ever, because the future is but a blur.

Baking sourdough. The holy grail of bread baking as far as I am concerned. For this, physical distancing and staying home as much as possible has been a blessing because creating a loaf involves many steps and I am no longer on a perpetual run as I used to, hence missing steps or crowding them. A feeble silver lining, I know, but oh, you should taste the latest loaf! (not an option, sadly.) Plus, it feels good to put that loaf on the table for the family.

Reading: presently reading a book on human trafficking called Girls like Us by Rachel Lloyd (more uplifting stuff, I know,) another on positive dog training, called The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller, re-reading one on life and writing called Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and a history of Transylvania (in Romanian.) Our home library is suitable size-wise for this kind of crisis, size-wise. Life lesson: Never doubt why you buy a book when you really want to buy a book. Just do it.

Reno dog

Light(ish) home renovations alongside my husband, and incipient gardening. Occasionally, I find myself considering the possibility of burying my head in the dirt until this bad dream passes (not a viable option) but then I pick myself up and keep getting the garden beds ready.

Reviving games with the boys. They are well on their way to independence as all teenagers are but of course social distancing from parents is about as real as a unicorn these days. When all fails, we watch an episode or two of Seinfeld to lift moods.

More writing.

Shopping (only when needed.) I feel more apprehensive by the day at the thought of being in a group of people. That being said, I shop at small local stores as much as possible. Knowing that I can help them stay afloat in troubled times relieves some of the anxiety.

Finding balance is not easy these days. I dare say keeping the mind busy might be where you will find it. You know what they say about idle minds.

If loneliness strikes really bad, read out loud, write your thoughts down and just step outside for a walk: there is sunshine (most days,) there are birds chirping and there’s the occasional human waving. Hope lives in doing something and it often lives outside in the silent march of an ant, or the buzzing of a new bee.

And for as long as hope is alive, balance is within reach, and the other way around.