The Longest Month

I think April of 2020 has been the longest month of my life.

I’ve certainly had other long and difficult months. I’ve spent months at a time in the hospital, often not being allowed to get out of the bed or, sometimes, sit up. Much of that as a child who wanted to go outside and play. I’ve spent months in some very serious pain. I’ve spent months where depression and anxiety kept me away from the world by choice.

But nothing has been like last month for me, and I know I’m not alone.

It’s not just a matter of boredom, though there was some of that. It was the worry, the fear, and eventually the overwhelming grief and confusion.

(Let me put in a warning here. My posts tend towards the positive. This is not going to be a happy post. For those reading when I post it, you may have already taken in more sad and worrisome things than is good for you to handle. I won’t be offended if you stop reading.)

Right now, as I type this, we are in the midst of the pandemic known as Covid-19. It has infected millions, and killed over 200000, it has brought life as we know it to a standstill globally. It is like nothing I have experienced before. We are all stuck where we are. Public gatherings are not happening. Travel has stopped. Public venues are shut down. Grocery stores have arrows on the floor to indicate what direction you are allowed to go in, and taped marks to show where you can stand. We are all staying six feet apart from one another. Many are off of work, more are working from home, and the essential workers still have to go out and brave getting sick to keep us going.

Then, here in Nova Scotia, a maniac whose name I will not include here because it doesn’t deserve to be remembered, went on a rampage in a place near and dear to my heart, perpetrating the worst mass shooting Canada has ever seen, in a tiny little place most had never heard of. A place we can see from the cottage. A place close to family. Too many lives were lost.

The next week, a NATO helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece, costing the lives of six more Canadians.

April was, in many ways, a series of blow after blow. It seemed like when we started to pick ourselves up off the ground, or even start to, something else happened.

I can count on one hand how many days in April didn’t see me crying at some point. From sadness or just because everything got so overwhelming. And, yes, sometimes in joy because there have been some wonderful things people have done to bring us together, too.

So, why am I writing all of this? Many of my readers are in Nova Scotia or have ties to it, you already know all this. Those who aren’t still heard the news.

I’m writing this for myself. I’m writing this because for me, at least, getting it all out and down into words is good for me. Thoughts can get all cluttered up in my brain, sometimes I just need to sit down and type them out. I’m writing this for you guys, as a reminder that while you may be by yourself, you’re not alone in how you feel.

I’m also writing this because I don’t want to forget. I want something out there that I can look back at next year, or in five or ten years. I want to remember, not because these are good memories, but because to forget is to once again take for granted what we have.

And I want to write this down because I want to remind all of you, as well as myself, that it is a new month. Spring is coming (in theory, it did snow last week here). A time of renewal. We’re going to get through this. Nova Scotia is as strong as she is beautiful, and we humans are a resilient folk. And beyond my beloved province, we’re all, as a society, going to weather this storm.

Once again, please be kind to yourselves and to those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to I post blogs every Wednesday.

It’s Okay

I’d like to talk to you all about grief.

We are all experiencing it to one degree or another. For those of us here in Nova Scotia, or with ties here, it is unfortunately far stronger now, but the whole world is going through it.

Grief for lost liberties, grief for loss of free movement, for loss of employment, for loss of social interaction, for loss of human touch.

You may not even realize that grief is what you’re feeling, but you are.

The thing is, grief takes some really unpredictable forms, and that makes it harder to recognize sometimes. That outburst you had the other day when your shower turned cold? Grief. The sudden onset of sadness for no reason you can actually name? Grief. A tendency to lose track of time? That’s grief.

The thing is, it’s okay. What you’re feeling is okay. You’re allowed. You know that thought of “but other people have it worse, so I should just suck it up?” That thought is wrong. What you feel is okay.

However, let me tell you what else is okay. Laughter. Joy. Positivity. That funny meme you want to share, but you’re worried you’ll be seen as insensitive for posting it when others are going through so much sorrow? Post it, people need a moment of laughter. That sweet video you saw? Share it. It’s okay for you to enjoy it, and it’s okay for other people to see it. It will help them.

It’s okay to want to enjoy things. It’s okay to want to feel good. You are allowed to feel good, you should try to feel good.

I’ve said this a lot lately in my posts, but let me say it again: be kind to yourself. Those aren’t just empty words I keep tacking onto my posts. I mean it. Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack here.

It’s okay.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to I post blogs every Wednesday.

When This Is Over

Right now, as I write this, the world is still in the grip of the pandemic lockdown. All of us are affected. Some of us are stuck at home, unable to go out for any but the most important errands, if that. Others work in some essential capacity and so are having to risk their own health to go out and work.

This isn’t going to last forever, thank goodness, and I’m fairly sure almost everyone is eagerly anticipating the day when all of this is behind us. I certainly am.

However, there are some things I devoutly hope to see when the dust clears.

  1. Remember what you learned

It’s darned difficult to live through something like this without learning some sort of lesson. Perhaps you’ve learned to really appreciate the people who deal with your garbage, deliver your mail and ring you up at the grocery store. Perhaps you’ve learned patience. Maybe it’s the importance of checking on your more vulnerable friends and family. And hey, maybe it is as simple as appreciation of the freedom to go out into the sun just because you can.

I hope that whatever you learn, you hold onto it when this is over. When life returns to some semblance of what we used to think of as normal, don’t let these lessons slip away, especially the hard ones.

  1. Keep some things going

There are people out there for whom this pandemic has changed very little about their lives. They are the people who are stuck at home as a general rule. Those with disabilities that keep them house bound, those with social anxiety that make it harder for them to deal with people. Those who live in remote areas. For them, things have suddenly popped up that are actually making their lives easier and more enjoyable.

Virtual choirs, online courses, writing groups, free audiobooks… there is a long list of clever and inventive ways we’ve come up with to keep in touch and keep one another sane.

Please remember, when we step back out into the world, that some people can’t. I know that not everything can be kept up, but I’d love to see some of these wonderful things kept in place for those whose lockdown is permanent.

  1. Remember that we did this for a reason.

If this works, and I am in the firm camp of believing it will, there is going to be a segment who will claim that we over reacted. There will be those who point to the fact that death tolls were less than initially projected, or that not as many people got sick as was initially claimed could happen. There are those who will look at success, and interpret it to mean that we did all this for nothing.

They will criticize the response. They will criticize the measures put in place. Don’t listen to them. What we are all going through isn’t pointless, and it isn’t an overreaction. If this works, it will be because of the measures.

  1. Take note of the world

Dolphins are returning to the coast of Europe. The canals of Venice are running clear. The tops of mountains are visible for the first time in decades. Sea turtle eggs are popping up in higher numbers. I could go on with a list of all the marvels of nature that are showing up in the short time that we’ve been prevented from causing our usual mess.

Most of us aren’t doing anything out of malice. We don’t set out to wreck the world. But we’re doing it anyway. We haven’t been stuck at home for all that long, and look at the incredible difference it’s made.

I know we probably can’t keep up this degree of lack of pollution, but I hope to the depths of my heart that we can at least look out at what’s been happening and use that as a lesson. If it took such a short degree of time for major improvement to become visible, that should tell us just how much damage we’ve been doing. Maybe we can learn from this, and do a little less.

So, what do you hope to see when all of this is done?

As usual, be kind to one another and to yourself.

Self-care During Social Distancing

Right now, most of us are pretty stressed. Both the news and social media are full of worrying statistics and facts, not to mention equally stressful misinformation, and a lot of the things that might help us are out of reach.

However, it is still important to take care of ourselves. In fact, it’s more important than ever. I’m sure by now that you know about social distancing, but for anyone happening upon this in the future, social distancing is the suggestion that we keep six feet or two meters away from one another and limit our exposure to the general population as much as possible to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

That may mean that some services and activities that you rely on for self-care are out of reach. But there are things you can still do, and here are some.

  1. Get out of the house.

No, really. So long as you are not showing symptoms and have not been exposed to those who are sick, social distancing doesn’t have to mean quarantine. You need to avoid large groups, yes, but you can take your family or just yourself out to the park for a nice walk, take a drive, or things of that nature. This may be slightly more difficult for those of us further north and still in the grip of winter, but if you can get out, you should.

  1. Stretch

You may not be able to get a massage right now. Your therapist may not currently be treating – I’m not – or you yourself may feel that it’s not a good idea. That, combined with added stress, is likely starting to build up some tension.

Try to work stretching into your daily routine. For maximum benefit, a stretch should be held for thirty seconds and repeated three times. If you’re not sure how to properly stretch a given muscle, there are many resources online.

  1. Meditate

To those of you who don’t meditate, it may sound hokey, but it really does make a difference. Try to find time every day for this. Find a quiet place, get yourself into a comfortable position and meditate.

Not sure how? Again, the web is your friend. There are apps for that. Apps such as Calm and Headspace have some good programs, even for beginners, and while those are paid services, both of them have free trials that you can try to get the basics down. Audible also has many, many, many audio programs for meditating, and in fact a few that are free for members. To find those, open the app, go to “Discover” and scroll down to the bottom.

  1. Yoga

You can even combine the benefits of the above two things with yoga, as it does incorporate stretching poses with a meditative state. No, you probably shouldn’t go to yoga classes right now, and likely couldn’t find any running, but try checking out youtube for some guided yoga sessions. Even if you’ve never done it before, you’ll find something. Granted, this is best done with a yoga mat, but you can be inventive with this.

  1. At-home spa day

Missing your monthly mani-pedi? There are so many things you can do at home. My personal favourite is the sugar scrub. I put a bit of sugar in a bowl, toss in some oil (I use coconut oil for this myself, which you can get at any grocery store and is always good to have around) and because I always have some, I toss in a drop or two of essential oil. You don’t need much oil, so start with just a bit and see if you need more. You can also use epson salt and just a tiny bit of water. You then have your own sugar scrub. Rub it vigorously ofer hands, feet, or anywhere else you want to exfoliate and rinse off. If so inclined, feel free to add some fun nail polish in, though that obviously isn’t a requirement.

You may not be able to get to a steam room or hot tub, but you can still do a relaxing bath. If you have epson salt, toss a handful of that in. A nifty trick I’m fond of is to put a few drops of essential oil onto my handful of salt before putting it in the tub. If you put oil directly into water, it beads on the surface, but if you let the salt absorb it first, it will dissolve through the water. You can actually also do this with a bit of milk, as the milk will absorb the oil but still mix with water.

There are many other at-home recipes for things like facial masks on the internet, and a lot of them use things you likely have in your kitchen.

You can even put on your streaming music service of choice in the background while doing these for that final little touch to make your home feel like a spa. All of these suggestions (well, not the nail polish perhaps) are good for both your body and mind.

  1. Just be kind

It sounds so simple, right? Now, of course you should try to be kind to those around you, especially if out in public, but what I’m talking about here is to be kind to yourself.

Perhaps you can’t work in the current climate. That can lead to all sorts of feelings. Anxiety over finances, guilt that you may be shirking your duties, loneliness. Or perhaps you have to work, and are experiencing fear over getting yourself and your family ill, resentment that your career is one that requires you to be out there when others are not, and paranoia.

Some of these are based in reality, and some are not, especially the guilt and paranoia ones. Be gentle with yourself. If you find that nasty little inner voice saying its usual nasty things, confront it. You wouldn’t say those things to someone you love, right? So why are you saying them to yourself? Tell that voice to shut up, and then go do some of the earlier suggestions, there isn’t a single suggestion on this list that won’t improve your mental and emotional state.

So. As you can see, there are things you can do to keep yourself in better condition. I truly hope that these suggestions help.

Now, stay safe, stay calm and stay kind.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to I post blogs every Wednesday.