Monday, October 26, 2020

Christmas markets cancelled #MicroblogMonday

So now the Coronavirus is taking away our Christmas markets. I understand of course why the people in charge deem it necessary to cancel this year with the increasing Covid cases but I can't help feeling disappointed about it. In general, I'm not a big fan of Winter, but one of my favourite things about living in Germany was always the Christmas markets. They are just so pretty and magical.

Getting together during the Christmas month with friends over a Glüwein (mulled wine) was such a nice tradition. I loved the cute markets themselves, the lovely decorations, the delcious smells and just the happy atmosphone. Our local market used to have an ice skating rink too which was lots of fun. I guess we are just going to have to come up with other ways to make Christmas this year special.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Autumn during the time of Covid

And just like that, October is here. Without traveling or celebrating big events, it can feel like the days blurr into weeks and the weeks into months. We had a lovely long Summer here in Germany which was wonderful, but it was almost like someone turned off a switch and suddenly the temperature dropped ten degrees and started getting rainy and windy! Autumn is usually my favourite season but since we are still experiencing a pandemic, I have been a little worried about what this Autumn/Winter will be like.

Facebook and Google photo memories show me pictures from what I was doing this time the past few years, so already I have been reminded about a fun family holiday to the Black Forest five years ago, and going partying to Octoberfest seven years ago. When I see things like that, I choose to focus on the positive memories rather than the disappointment that we can't do things like that for the forseeable future (or until there's a safe vaccine?). I recently came across this article from The Guardian on how Norwegians stay optimistic during their extremely long dark Winter season. Check it out if you have a few minutes.

It's all about changing your mindset and reframing how you look at things: "People who see stressful events as “challenges”, with an opportunity to learn and adapt, tend to cope much better than those who focus more on the threatening aspects – like the possibility of failure, embarrassment or illness."

I already found this approach very helpful when I was going through years of infertility. Instead of letting myself dwell on what I didn't have (a child / a body able to conceive and carry a baby by to term without medical assitance..) and comparing myself to others, I would try to focus on what I did have (a loving husband, supportive family, good friends..). It helped me move forward on the particularly dark days.

There have been many advantages to being able to work from home for sure, but the main disadvantage I find is that you can feel quite lonely and isolated at times. The house feels errily quiet unless I turn on music or radio in the background. I was able to take advantage of the lovely weather to meet up with friends outdoors the past few months in a way that would still keep us all safe from catching or spreading Covid. However, now that it's a lot colder and Germany is experiencing a second wave, trying to have some semblance of social life will be a real challenge. It's going to end up being partly a choice between mental and physical health risks. If I'm not able to meet friends for a long time, it could lead to me feeling depressed, but any potential get together could involve us risking catching the virus which I obviously want to avoid.

I guess we need to look at this time as a challenge and do our best to find the joy in the little moments. Another line from the article above which resonated with me was: "We might recognise, for instance, that it’s a time for baking comfort food or cosy evenings curled up under a blanket in front of a box set – practising a little bit of the Norwegian koselig." Now, who doesn't like the sound of that?