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The Caswell Team

The Caswell Team

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Silver Linings Of COVID19

(Published on - 4/19/2020 5:32:42 PM)

Is your frustration setting in yet?

Looking at social media today is a lot different than scrolling through only two weeks ago.

At the onset of this, platforms were full of compassionate “hang in there” and “let’s do this” messages accompanied by some hilarious memes.  Although these messages are still popping up occasionally, they’re being drowned out by anger and infighting.  This is the onset of widespread frustration.

Some are starting to see who their “friends” really are.  Who they thought were good people, have now turned into complete assholes while they argue and push political, social and personal agendas.  I’m blown away in the comments how people are coming to virtual blows over issues that have zero relevance to their life while pushing their opinions as though the whole world should line up behind and support them (at least six feet apart, of course).

I am simply baffled how many Canadians find it reasonable, and of such utter importance at this moment, to argue about politics online.  As I mentioned in one of the earlier posts, it would be nice if politicians would get along, answer questions truthfully and directly, and put partisan politics aside.  They’re not, and now they’ve got camps filling up on all sides of the spectrum of people that feel it’s their sole responsibility to promote or destroy those positions.

Honestly, why the fuck do so many Canadians feel the need to worry about Trump?  He makes a decision, gets skewered by the media and then the personal opinion posts start flooding social media.  Then Trudeau makes the same decision and he gets praise from the same people.  I haven’t even said what the decision was, but some of you are already getting mad just reading that and proving my point.  Why?  That’s just nonsensical partisanship rearing its ugly head in the back of yours.  Put it back in the box and leave it there.

I wrote a blog on Human Behaviour during COVID-19 and an earlier one of how we're all doomed.  More people should read them and wake up.  We’re Canadians.  We’re supposed to be polite and friendly.  We’re supposed to be humble and accepting.  We’re supposed to be understanding and thoughtful.  But there’s a great number out there who are forgetting this with their daily diatribe of opinionated bullshit.

In our recent weekly update to our clients, I offered up a trick my mom taught me years ago when you’re in pain – take ten deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.  The first breath is shallow, and the pain is still there, but by the time you get to the fifth and sixth breath, you’ve gotten past the shock and are realizing the pain is manageable.  I’m offering this advice to those feeling frustrated as well.  Frustration is pain that you’re going to expel onto someone else if you don’t get control of it, and no one needs additional pain right now.

When I coached hockey, one of my favourite lines with the team was “Positive thoughts equals positive results”.  No, it’s not a guarantee that the outcome will be 100% positive, but you can will yourself into believing that things can be good and, when you’re feeling positive, you’re more than likely going to get through whatever the issue is in the right mindset and at least be on track to a positive outcome.

Which leads me to why I’m writing this blog – I want people to start seeing some positive things that have happened or are happening.  Put the political bullshit on the back burner, stop the online vitriol and grab some positive thoughts to share and support each other on for a while.

Essential Worker Recognition

This pandemic has really opened all our eyes to the important people we often forget about and take for granted.  From the nurses, to the lab techs, to the grocery store shelf stocker to the sanitization crews to the people putting in long hours on the roads to get our essential goods to us, we’re finally realizing how important these people are to our daily lives.  This is great news. 

The unfortunate part is this was taught to us a long time ago, but it took such a severe situation to recognize it.  In Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends And Influence People (I believe this was written in the 1930’s), he talks about a school janitor who goes about his daily routine and just gets the job done.  But once he’s shown sincere and honest appreciation, he works harder and goes the extra mile to perform his job even better.

We used to scold  the kid bagging our groceries for squishing the bread, now we’re thanking them for working long hours to stock the shelves.  We used to say, “that nurse has a shitty bedside manner”, now we’re seeing how hard they’re working behind the scenes and that may be why they didn’t have time to pander just to us.  We are now seeing those once invisible cleaners and showing appreciation for attacking the surfaces we wouldn’t want to touch these days.

We all owe sincere and honest appreciation to all these people.  There is no way I could list every profession or person here that is deserving, but we each individually now know who these people are that we may not have seen or treated well before and now fully understand the direct impact they have on our daily lives.

Besides, the more we show them we appreciate them, the harder they’ll work to get us through this.

Nice Lid

It’s not just the workers that have been deemed essential, I’m sure we’re all pretty appreciative right now of even those in the non-essential categories.

Missing your hairdresser or esthetician yet?  How about that bartender who always asked how your day was and would listen to you rant?  What about the motivation your Pilates instructor would give you?

As I mentioned in the last blog, take a shot at the family haircuts – your hairdresser will be elated to see you and show off their skills at fixing the mess you created.  Imagine the rants your bartender is going to have to listen to the next time you nestle up to the bar and remember to give them your ear for awhile so they can have their chance.  And your Pilates instructor will be more than happy to book you in for two extra sessions a week to burn off those isolation pounds.

Send them all a message and let them know you can’t wait to sit in the chair, climb up on that stool and get on that mat so they know they’re still essential to you.

Grandma Is Online!

“How do you turn this thing on?”

“What do you mean I have to ‘like’ something?” 

“Where is this internet I have to go to?”

One of the great silver linings in all this is our technology.  Sure, as mentioned, it is being used too much by assholes to push their agendas and pick fights, but it’s also become a huge asset for us to stay connected today and combat the feeling of isolation.

Honestly, I used to hate the idea of a video call.  It seemed weird and, really, it was just my own insecurity of being on camera that was holding me back.  I have done commercials before and have been videotaped speaking, and I could do it with ease when the cameras were off, but I never liked when the red light went on at the top of those camcorders.  (remember those things?)

Now, I love it.  This isolation has given me a sincere appreciation for these tools we have at our fingertips.  I love getting to see my friends and family on the other side of the screen.  It brings a feeling of connection more than just a phone call.  You can see the smiles and laughter.  You can see the eyes light up, and even roll in some cases, but it’s more of an emotional connection than just a voice ever could be.  And sharing our emotions “in-person” will help us in the long run.

Call your grandparents, call your parents, call your kids, call your friends, call your co-workers.  Get on the video chats and show your face.  Show off your smiles and share some laughs.  Just don’t talk politics….

Who Let The Dogs Out?

How freakin’ happy are the majority of dogs these days? 

Our furry, four-legged family members are being spoiled these days.  Walk after walk after walk after walk.  I’m sure there are dogs out there that are silently waving the white flag thinking, “do we seriously have to go for our sixth walk today?”

Like Elvis declared, “ain’t nothing but a hound dog, crying all the time”, and our basset hound is no exception.  She whines as her form of crying that we’re not there.  Whenever we leave the house, she cries so incessantly that she gets to a howl of distress from the loneliness.  Well, now that we’re with them basically 24/7, we don’t hear much whining these days!  It actually seems like we’re getting looks of, “why are you still home?  Don’t you have shit to do?”

And, although the four-legged “kids” are getting spoiled, we’re also spoiled by them.  We get to feel comfort of snuggling with them on the couch when we’re having a bad day, we get to laugh at them when they are ripping around soaking wet after their “home spa day” bath and horrible DIY haircut and I’m sure there’s plenty of us out there that are having more in-depth conversations with our dogs these days – as we know they’ll always agree with our opinion!

Give Fido an extra belly rub today – they’re your emotional support team that always has positive thoughts about you.

We Can Breathe

I am not a climate alarmist, but I am also not a denier.  I am, like most, rooted in the middle of the spectrum that agree we should take better care of our emissions, but not at the sake of reducing our lives to nothing.  I certainly don’t agree with using climate change as a tax grab, but I also think we should do something.

The silver lining here is that hopefully both extremes on that spectrum now get to see what extreme action looks like. 

The climate alarmists should be able to recognize that this is what the world looks like if we go too far.  Our economy is decimated, and millions are unemployed.  We are being told this economic suffering is going to mimic the Great Depression.  With no planes flying, no one driving, minimal industries operational and so few working, it’s time we realize that Canada is a resource driven economy and we can’t shut it down overnight to “save the planet for our kids”.  Ask past generations if the Great Depression was what they wanted to leave for their kids….

On the other side of the coin, the deniers should take a hard look at the environmental changes we are seeing in such a short span of time.  We’re all seeing the pictures of the Himalayas now being visible, we’re seeing dolphins populating the canals in Venice, we’re seeing wildlife take over roadways and towns and we’re seeing smog lifted from major cities.  These are all positive changes.  And this only took two months or less to start affecting our planet in a positive way.

Hopefully both sides will use this as an opportunity to stop the virtual infighting, show some appreciation for the other side’s opinion and work together to find solutions that can leave our kids a cleaner planet while still providing them an opportunity to prosper.

Out For A Hike Are Ya, Bud?

I know there’s some online arguments swirling about how stores should only be selling “essential” items.  The box stores, like Walmart, have an advantage of having groceries while still offering everything else you may need, or even not need.  I get it, it’s not fair to Foot Locker, Canadian Tire and Roots that they can’t sell their products through traditional brick and mortar stores while Walmart can still sell these items.

However, what I do find positive is seeing the guy that would normally be buying Cheetos is now looking at running shoes.  Instead of buying a case of pop, people are looking at free weights.  Instead of looking in the store freezer trying to select an ice cream flavour, they are now choosing what colour of yoga mat will look good on the living room floor while matching the couch throw pillows.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in the Adversity blog, people handle things differently.  These are the people that are now taking an inventory of their situation and trying to make the best of it. 

Good on you to take this situation into a positive and healthy direction.  Go get’em!

Kids Grow Up So Fast!

Not anymore!  Very rarely do we see posts anymore about “where did the time go” as kids are getting older.  No longer are parents absent for every big event while they’re rushing to connecting flights or checking into another hotel on the road for work.  There is no longer an empty chair at the family dinner table.

Now, parents are witnessing every millimeter of growth.  They’re getting to spend the time with their kids that they’ve always wanted to.  Some, of course, are probably thinking they’re getting a little too much time with the kids, but they can take a moment to pause and remember all the times they couldn’t and wished they had.

But it’s not just kids.  Spouses are reconnecting over a glass of wine and a movie.  They are sitting down for dinner and talking.  They’re having thorough conversations about their finances and formulating a game plan (this is a positive no matter how bad the financial situation is).

Enjoy this family time.  When the gates reopen and we all need to fill our wallets to survive it, you’ll miss the simple times of watching cartoons with the kids and cuddling on the couch watching Netflix.

Wash Your Hands

Talk about a lesson in hygiene for everyone! 

My new shower routine starts with washing my hands before anything else (please do yourself a favour and don’t grab a mental picture here – oops – maybe you just did).  Think about that – I want to make sure my hands are thoroughly clean before I shower.  What a world.

Everyone is washing their hands probably 100% more often than they did.  And they’re probably doing it 100% more thoroughly as well. 

Houses are likely cleaner than they have ever been.  People have now learned how to cough and sneeze properly to protect others.  And there’s a new appreciation for personal space these days….

Hopefully this remains the new normal when this is all over.

Smile!

I said in the Human Behaviour blog that everyone has been looking at people differently these days.  They’re skeptical about everyone else and, in some cases, looking at people with utter fear.  This is not the silver lining, but I did mention in that blog how I highly doubt anyone has ever caught COVID-19 from a smile or saying “good afternoon” to someone.

Now that everyone is wearing masks, for the most part, I’ve realized that people don’t just smile with their mouth.  Michelle and I were in the grocery store, a simple life chore that has suddenly become very worrisome, and I could tell Michelle was stressed, as I was as well.  So, I cracked a joke to break the tension.  Although she had a mask on, I could instantly see she was wearing a huge smile behind it just by the reaction in her eyes.  It was cute and made me feel happy.

Just because we have to wear masks, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t smile.  Let people see your politeness and your smile in your eyes.  They’ll notice it and you may just pass on the smile virus that we all need to spread rampantly these days.

Positive Thoughts = Positive Results

It’s ok to be worried about catching COVID-19.  It’s ok to be worried about the upcoming economic struggles most of us will go through.  It’s ok to be worried about the emotional pain we, and others, will go through or are already going through.

But it’s also ok to look for the positives and let yourself focus on those.  It’s ok to be happy with spending lots of time with the kids.  It’s ok to dial up someone on FaceTime and share some laughs.  It’s going to be great to look back after COVID-19 and think, “that’s when I really started to get in shape” or “that scare really helped us focus on getting our finances in order”.

Spending your days thinking about positive thoughts and avoiding joining the chorus of frustration and infighting online is what will get the strong through this.  Looking forward with optimism and hope will help keep your emotions in check.  Smiling through that mask, giving an essential worker sincere and honest appreciation and looking at any way to make today better for yourself, and others around you, will keep us all going in the right direction.

We’re still in the eye of the storm, but now is the time to take ten deep breaths, look for the silver linings in the clouds, focus on the positive and get back to being Canadian.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.

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