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Routine? Yeah, we still need that.

It has been just over eight weeks since we announced that production was postponed, and we all started living in this new, somewhat weird, world. Like so many of you, we have had great days and some that are more of a struggle. Aside from what is happening in the business, we have had our fair share of our personal lives impacted by the situation. We know there are so many articles about coping and getting through this period, and we are definitely not any kind of expert. We are just two people experiencing this in waves, just like you, and wanted to share some things that have definitely helped us.

With no production to keep us grounded in day to day tasks, we've both found that we have a better day when we have a few predictable things that happen. Here are a few tips from each of us on what we've included in our new routines.

A note from Rebecca:

Image of Violet Chocolate Company owner, Rebecca Grant, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Ampersand Grey

Deciding to shut down production was an easy but extremely difficult decision for me. I knew it was the right thing to do to help flatten the curve, but it was also putting on hold my passion, income, and creative outlet. I love making chocolate! It keeps me on my feet and active all day, is a huge creative outlet for me, and is an amazing way to connect with other people. I also get to work with my best friend every day who is the best co-worker I could ever ask for! The first few days after we shut down, I took some time to try and relax and catch up on some books I’ve been waiting to read. I enjoyed the 'me' time.

Then the lack of routine started to get to me. 

I’ve always been someone who has easily managed stress, it’s one of the things I love about myself, I’m pretty resilient. These days I attribute some of that strength when it comes to stress to having a strong routine. For the past eight years, I’ve had that - a strong routine. Even with any uncertainty with the business over the years, I’ve had for the most part a pretty uninterrupted routine. 2020 threw that for a curveball! Some of you may know I was supposed to be getting married at the end of May. When I realized that was no longer an option it became even more important to me to find a new routine to deal with the stress of my current situation. Here are some things that I’ve been doing to help get through days that all seem to blend together:

  1. I try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. My fiancé is considered an essential worker so this one is pretty easy since he’s still keeping strict working hours. I’m not going to lie though some days I hang out in bed for a few extra hours avoiding the world.
  2. Exercise is a pretty big part of my routine. After the first week of staying home, I realized I wasn’t moving enough. I don’t sit down at work since production keeps me busy on my feet all day. I’ve always worked out but I needed to step up my game, I just wasn’t feeling myself anymore. On days I don’t feel like doing as much or just need to clear my head I’ll go for a walk. Otherwise, I like to switch things up every day, whether it’s weights, pilates, or bodyweight workouts. I like to keep Sundays for yoga and stretching, it’s a good way to calm my body and mind. I’ve used apps like The Sweat Life in the past but now follow routines my trainer put together for me. I try and keep hydrated too, I feel like I'm less groggy when I drink enough water throughout the day.
  3. When we moved last year, I bought myself an espresso machine as a way to limit my coffee runs. So, as part of my routine, I’ll make myself a latte and catch up on any paperwork or emails that need to be done. Sometimes, I’ll do this from home or I’ll head to my office at the shop for a change of space.
  4. Some days I love being alone and thrive on it, it makes me feel productive, and those are the days you’ll find me reading a book, working on something creative (I’ve been making gum paste flowers the last week or so), or even just cleaning my house (big stress cleaner right here!). It’s a time for me to be quiet but also productive. I love gardening so that is most likely where I’ll be channelling my time now that the weather is better. I’ve been working on plans to expand my flower bed and am so excited my peonies are starting to grow!
  5. I also love to bake! I’m a Red Seal Chef but my first passion has always been baking. I try and make muffins or a healthier baked good once a week but there are times that you just need some good old comfort food like a cinnamon bun. I love baking because it’s so creative but there’s also such science to it, like chocolate.

The most important part of this for me has been to remember to be kind to myself. I’ve always thought of myself as a tough person and it’s been important for me to remember it’s ok to cry when you’re overwhelmed. I’ve cried a lot over the last six weeks and that’s ok. We’re all grieving in our own ways for the loss of routine, not seeing friends/family, and big life events. Postponing my wedding was heartbreaking, but it’s strengthened my relationship with my fiancé and has given me more time to be excited for the big day. It’s ok to not have it together all the time, we’re all trying to navigate through this crazy time and there’s no right or wrong way to do that.

- Rebecca

 

A note from Maryanne:

Photo of Violet Chocolate Company Vice President Marketing, Maryanne Bejcar, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Ampersand Grey

Right after the holiday season, my ideal situation is to have no plans, sleep in, cocoon with great movies and food, and avoid leaving the house as much as possible. So you would think that a 'stay at home' order is something I'm trained for and would be my ideal!

But this isn't a planned break.

Overnight, or so it felt, everything got turned around and that kind of day just wasn't bringing me much comfort. While the order and timing of my days have become less regimented as we've settled in there are a few things that help me to cope through this time and deal with the curveballs.

 

  1. Wake up at the same time each morning. I try to do this for most of the week but am still giving myself a few 'free' days with no alarm and no shame. Turns out sleeping in has not been easy for me these days. On days where I need a bit more of a relaxed wake up I'll make a cup of tea and curl back in with the pillows to read a few blogs.
  2. Move! I'll either go for a walk or do a quick at-home workout. I love the yoga series from The Sweat Life for helping to stretch out my shoulders and back where all the tension lives.
  3. Do something for my physical environment. I recently moved so there has been a lot that needs to be organized, cleaned, or unpacked. Checking something off the list and setting up the new space has been huge! Even if you aren't moving during a pandemic (who knew I'd earn that life badge!), break up your weekly clean into small tasks or areas. Creating some order around you when everything feels out of control can be a great mood changer.
  4. Quiet time. This doesn't look the same for everyone but I've found guided meditations to be a huge help in dealing with nervous and anxious thoughts, especially now. I'm doing my best to set aside some time each day with no Netflix, social media, news, or chatter to enjoy a Headspace session or just be quiet and stare at all the new leaves on my plants. Thank goodness Rebecca and my Mom have patiently coached me from a black thumb to a plant mom!
  5. Reach out to a loved one. At the top of my worry list for this pandemic was the fear that my loved ones wouldn't be okay. Connecting with someone once a day to see how they are doing has really helped me. I've lived abroad and currently have family and friends in other parts of the world. Relying on video or phone calls to connect isn't out of the normal for me. What has been challenging is making sure we're not caught in talking only about the events going on. When we loop the conversation to only include the things that are bringing out some negative or scary feelings I leave the call tenser than I started. Talking about how we are feeling, sharing new information, and brainstorming solutions with someone is awesome! But I've also been setting time limits to COVID talk and asking to change the subject when it gets unproductive or too much. 

My days aren't always consistent but I'm doing my best to keep perspective and let them start and end without carrying anything over to the next day. There are days where that is easy and ones where it is tough. Every single one of us is trying to deal with some extreme changes right now. It can be hard and it can be full of silver linings, just be kind to yourself.

- Maryanne

 

Whatever your routine might include, we hope you're being gentle with yourself and those around you. There is no right or wrong way to get through this, as long as we're trying our best each day. Follow the health advice from Dr. Hinshaw and fit in whatever makes sense for you today. We've included a few links below for things to fill your time and connect.

 

Resources:

Canadians Create - Founded by local Edmonton artists Amy Dixon and Brittany DeSantis (Peak Paper Co.) they offer weekly tutorials on all sorts of artistic projects hosted by artists from across the country.

Live Concerts - So many artists are doing live sessions and if you're looking for a great organization helping to bring it all together check out Side Door Access, founded by Dan Mangan. We also love checking in with favourites Arkells for their Flatten the Curve Music Class. Find the music in their highlights here and follow along for a daily lesson from Max.

Podcasts - Maryanne is a huge fan of them! Current favourites include Armchair Expert and Second Life.

Books - Online shopping is great but don't forget to check out EPL for digital options! Some of Rebecca's book recommendations include: Open Book by Jessica Simpson and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

 



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