a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Oct, 2020

Are you prepared for the second wave?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust our sails. This was something that came up in an interview for an article I was writing for work recently and wanted to share it with you because it resonated with me.

There are lots of things we can’t control. Every mental health expert I’ve spoken to about this agrees that it’s a good idea to focus on the things we CAN control, rather than spend too much time worrying about things that are beyond our control. This is especially true during hard times, like say, a pandemic. 

One of the things I can control is what we eat, and how we get our groceries.

Right before the big shutdown in early March, Mark and I were at the grocery store with a cart that was so full of groceries they were almost slipping off. News about the coronavirus was looking grim so I thought it would be smart to stock up on a few things so we wouldn’t have to go back out for awhile. As we stood in line at the check out we realized we were the only people with a massive grocery order. We felt a little silly and wondered if we were overreacting.

As it turned out, we weren’t overreacting at all, and every two weeks after that – and this lasted for months –  we placed a massive order online for pick up. It wasn’t until this past month or so that we started going to the store in person again.

After dinner the other night I did a big grocery shop, in person. It was almost, but not quite, the kind Mark and I did together back in March. At that time I was buying loads of pasta and canned vegetables but this time around, I was a little calmer. I bought one large package of TP and doubles of other things, such as evaporated milk, chickpeas, and canned tomatoes. As I wandered the aisles trying to dodge people who were coming too close for comfort, I decided that now that the second wave is upon us I’m going to start doing our shopping online again.

Mentally, I think I’m ready for a second wave. We’ll hunker down, keep to ourselves, and focus on things around the house. For my own mental health, I try not to think of staying home as deprivation. I try to frame it as (a) staying safe (b) enjoying the things we have, and (c) protecting others.

That being said, this is the time to think about what we need for the coming fall and winter.

What do you need to work from home? Noise-cancelling headphones? A new desk chair? Also important to consider: what will make you HAPPIER while working from home? Pencil crayons? A cork board? Framed photos? (e.g. something fun from Social Print Studio for example, like a poster using your Instagram photos ? Use my promo code and save five bucks!)

What do you need for your comfort? A cosy sweater, slippers, or fuzzy onesie? New pillows or bed sheets or blankets? 

What do you need to expand your entertainment? A Spotify subscription? An exploration of podcasts? A library card? 

What do you need for winter, especially since many of us will be spending more time outdoors. Snow pants? New boots? Snowshoes? LAYER UP MY FRIENDS.

What do you need for your health? Vitamin D? A S.A.D. light? New running shoes? Maybe it’s a matter of not using your treadmill as a drying rack this winter… :) Related to this: now is the time to schedule dental/doctor appointments. What have you been putting off?

This may sound frivolous but part of my pandemic planning includes puzzles. I never used to enjoy puzzles, but I’ve come around to it over these past few years. I just bought a stack from Tag Along Toys to help us get us through the darker months. It’s something to do that isn’t Netflix.

Also: These past few months we’ve also really greened up the place with a lot of indoor plants. You can do this the spendy way by buying new at full price, OR you can do it on the cheap by swapping plants and cuttings of plants. We’ve done a combination of buying new and propagating. We also bought some plants in need of rescue from the Ikea as-is section (!) earlier this summer. Our plant pots are from a bunch of different sources including Homesense, Ikea, second-hand shops, and also include a few lucky curb-side finds.

It makes me strangely happy to have green things to care for. They keep my busy, but not so busy that I’m overwhelmed.

There is one other thing we decided to spend a little bit of extra $$ on recently. I will tell you more about that in my next post but in the meantime, I’d love to hear what you are doing to prepare for that second wave.

2 Responses to "Are you prepared for the second wave?"

1 | Lynn

October 9th, 2020 at 10:14 am


Love this. I spent some time this month creating a new office space for myself in the basement – now that I’m sharing my regular office with my husband I felt the need for a private space to use sometimes. It felt so indulgent but when I think about how long this could go on, and what I most needed for my mental health, it had to be done. I feel better already!

2 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Entertaining ourselves at home... with our feathered friends - a peek inside the fishbowl

October 9th, 2020 at 5:31 pm


[…] In my previous post I wrote about the second wave and what we’re doing to get ready for it. This past summer I’m sure you heard about the global shortages of inflatable pools, kayaks, and bicycles. I think we’re now looking at shortages of skis, snowshoes, and wool socks as people get ready for a long winter ahead. […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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