Now that things are opening up more in the province, I want to try to take better care of both my emotional and physical health. So, I’ve started swimming two nights per week, when I can get a booking. The local pool has been doing 45-minute lane-swimming sessions, bookable no more than a week in advance. There are only 5 lanes set up, and the maximum has been set at 5 people per session. The first time my son and I went, I took this picture before we got into the water:
So peaceful. For the first 15 minutes there was only my son and me in the pool. And then a 3rd person joined in his own lane and that was it for that whole big pool! I could float and stretch and swim as I chose, all in my own lane. In addition to my physiotherapy, the swimming seems to be helping a lot with the flexibility and pain issues in my right leg and hip.
Next time, we brought my husband, too. Of course, being an extrovert, his comment was that he missed seeing other people! I guess the demand to swim is increasing, though, because next week they are going up to 10 people per session. Not sure how that will be safe in Corona times, but we’ll give it a try. Socially distanced aqua-fit is starting up next week, too, which sounds like fun. We may have lost the utter peacefulness of an empty pool, though.
Another great place for some exercise, as well as some potential peace within nature, is the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, where my son and I have an annual membership. During regular times, it has become very crowded with tourists, which isn’t fun, but the video in the link above made it look like their timed entry policy would mean very few people in the park. So I booked us a time last weekend, hoping to enjoy some peace in the trees. Well, little did I know that on long weekends they have been getting 1,500 guests per day, even with the new rules! So, a half-hour wait to plod slowly across the bridge, then way too many people on the smaller bridges through the treetops. It’s really difficult to have a proper bit of exercise when you have to keep stopping and waiting. The best part was down around the pond, where it is not as exciting for tourists. There, we had a nice bit of quiet. The recommendation for the future is to come during the week, when there are fewer people — if my work schedule will allow that.
I sometimes try to find peace in the beautiful view from my favourite viewpoint near home. However, we have been experiencing very high risk air quality (now at 10+ on a scale of 1-10) due to the smoke mainly from the Oregon and Washington fires. I can’t even imagine how bad it must be down there, if it’s this bad here. And at least we are safe from the fires themselves.
We are socked in with smoke, though. In fact, I just learned that Vancouver for today is ranked the 2nd worst city in the world for air quality, 2nd only to Portland, Oregon! It’s actually easier to breath outside with a mask than without! The highest risk is from fine particulate matter (less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter), which in my neighbourhood is currently 144.4 micrograms per cubic metre (as opposed to the 25 ug/m3 target), down from 166 earlier in the day! It seeps into the house through the cracks, too, and we don’t have any central air conditioning to help keep it out.
To give you an idea, here are some pictures from my favourite viewpoint.
Typical, non-smoky day:
Tuesday, as the smoke rolled in:
Friday, looking pretty bad:
And today, around noon:
Based on the charts, it’s actually even worse now than it was at noon. In a scary way, it kind of reminds me of the movie Interstellar that I watched last night, although there the earth was being ravaged by dust and dirt storms and blight. (Excellent movie, by the way, with some interesting ideas about time and relativity. The acting is great, too.)
So, I think I’ve given up on anything peaceful right now. And turned to chocolate. Last year, for my birthday, my husband gave me a gift-card bouquet. What a great idea!
The last unspent gift was for a local chocolate shop. So, this week I spent my $25 gift card and am now drowning my stress in chocolate! And a little bit of Rob Thomas’ stress relief song, “Breathe Out”.