The naked trees, the temperature drop, and the rainy, short days of late autumn in Vancouver always bring me a little down. Adjusting to winter feels extra hard in 2020, as almost everything I love this time of the year has been cancelled because of covid, like Christmas events and even just meeting friends to drink wine and commiserate together. Though I know I don’t have it nearly as bad as many people – and am thankful for that – it’s still hard, so I adopted a few strategies to cope.
Here’s what I did in November to feel better:
- Walking with my baby every day, even when it’s cold and wet and I don’t want to go out at all. Going to a park with a hot latte in hand and breathing fresh forest air always improves my mood.
- I’m reading so much more since I got a Kindle! Reading in the dark while nursing my son turned into my moment to relax and enjoy the quiet, something I can rarely do with my toddler around and my partner working from home.
- I write down my feelings since I was six years old. The frequency varies according to what is happening in my life, and I’ve never written as often as I’m doing now. It’s a way to vent and understand my emotions, and will be fun to read in the future when I remember 2020.
How have you been coping with the second wave and the new restrictions?
My favourite things in November 2020
I’m taking a Permaculture Design Certification Course at last!
I wanted to get the certificate ever since I found out about permaculture years ago, but something always kept happening and making me postpone the course. Ideally, I’d attend it in-person to be in touch with nature and get to know my colleagues, but since the pandemic messed everything up, I decided to do it online now while I’m on parental leave. What a brilliant decision it was!
Kym Chi’s permaculture course started November 7. She’s an amazing instructor and I’m mind-blown by how much I learn and how inspired I feel after every class. Permaculture gives me hope for a better, more equal world, something so necessary in these freaky times, when we’re obviously realizing our old ways aren’t working anymore.
I’m already working on my final project, focused on human permaculture, and on a design project to turn my patio into a little edible garden. So exciting, I’ll probably write a lot about permaculture here from now on. 😊
Laughing at old journals
The best thing about journaling is reading old journals. I came across some of my old notebooks cleaning up my closet last week and had a blast reading my entries from 2008 to 2012. Once you stop cringing at your old self, it’s great to see how much you’ve evolved and how the things that used to worry you don’t matter anymore, and so cool to read about moments you had forgotten all about. I also found many interesting projects and topics I wanted to write about back then. It was like finding a box full of new ideas, a present 20-year-old me left for myself.
Speaking of journaling, I was fascinated to find out that there are “diary hunters” who collect diaries from strangers. I love reading other people’s journals (with consent, of course), but I had no idea it was possible to buy them on eBay. It’s on my list of things to do if I ever have enough spare money for expensive hobbies. And of course, good to know I can sell my own journals if I ever need some fast cash. haha
Trollope’s 15-minute writing blocks
I’m always researching and trying accomplished writers’ methods to be more prolific. The one I’m trying now is Anthony Trollope’s writing blocks I read about on James Clear’s site.
Trollope, an English writer from the 1800s, wrote in 15-minute blocks for three hours every day. He also measured his progress in 15-minute increments, like the number of pages he wrote, for example. These small accomplishments kept him motivated to work towards large goals, such as finishing a novel.
My method is to write for 15 minutes four times a day every weekday. It’s easier that it’s such a short time, and I’m feeling more productive. I’m also paying attention to what else I do in 15-minute increments and realized how easy it is to waste that much time (or more) on useless habits like scrolling through social media. Being focused and mindful of small blocks of time has been helpful, and I totally recommend it.
We have our own Starbucks at home now
I confess I’m one of those people who can’t start the day as a functional human without caffeine. But I also hate regular coffee, so I was spending a lot of money buying lattes and feeling awful since the pandemic started and we couldn’t use reusable cups anymore. With the anxiety caused by covid, my partner and I were drinking even more coffee, and we were shocked when we summed up how much we were spending on Starbucks: $350 per month!!! (I’m very embarrassed just writing this.)
After seeing that absurd number and realizing how much we could save every month, I finally agreed on buying the coffee machine my husband had wanted for months. I thought $250 was too much to spend on it, how nonsense is that? So, we bought a Breville Café Roma Espresso Machine and a coffee grinder a few months ago and buy the coffee beans at Costco every month. We’re now drinking better (and more) coffee, saving money, and making way less garbage – my only regret is not having bought the machine earlier.
We could all use a guide for better conversations
As you surely noticed, the 2020 US Election and the 2018 Brazilian Election polarized voters and brought up the worst in people. It was sad to see so many people fight over politics, and the animosity in the air is still strong. This is when the Better Conversation Guide, created by The Civil Conversations Project, comes handy.
The guide has grounding exercises, tips for peaceful gatherings, and a list of healthy topics that can be conversation starters. It works as a flexible roadmap adaptable to different groups and intentions – I plan to use it in future work and personal situations when we’re finally able to gather in person again.
Hillbilly Elegy, the movie
I read Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by JD Vance, in 2019 because 1) it was being touted as a book to explain the rise of Trump in the US, 2) I love memoirs, and 3) I’m interested in everything about the Appalachian region. I wasn’t disappointed: the book is very well written and gets you immersed in JD’s messed up family story in Kentucky.
So I was stoked when Netflix launched Hillbilly Elegy, the movie, in November. It’s so good! I loved the actors, the photography, and the way they adapted the story for a movie, although I’d like it better if they had made a miniseries instead, so there could be more details from the book and more of Glenn Close as mamaw (she should get an Oscar for that, really.) If you haven’t watched it yet, do it, you won’t regret!
Meme of the Month
Ever wondered why dine-in restaurants are still open when so many other businesses are closing again because of the second wave? This scientific meme explains why it’s safe to dine out now:
Cool Stuff on the Interwebs
How to take notes while reading a book – These tips helped me, they might as well help you, too.
Marketing can influence your food choices – This area of the Canada government site lists techniques food marketing uses and how to be aware of them. Nothing super new, but always good to know.
How practical wisdom helps us cope with radical uncertainty – If there was ever a good time to read this, it’s now.
How to be at home – Such a beautiful, soothing video.
SEOSlides.page– An amazing open source site with hundreds of digital marketing conference slides, video, and audio recordings.
See you in December!