France has a rich cultural tradition. It is the birthplace of several artistic and social movements and is home to a diverse musical tradition. If you’ve listened to the opera Carmen, a song by Édith Piaf, or a bagpiper’s band from Brittany, you’ve heard a bit of France’s rich musical repertoire…
KEEPING BALANCED DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
PROTECTING YOUR MIND AND SPIRIT AS WELL AS YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Whether you are in self-isolation because you have been travelling abroad, or practicing “social distancing” – we are all feeling anxious, stressed, and somewhat fearful due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, public health experts have outlined what to do to keep ourselves safe and help stop the spread of the virus.
We need to wash our hands often (using soap and water for at least 20 seconds), cough and sneeze into our elbows, and avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth – which has proven to be harder than most of us thought.
We have also been told to avoid non-essential travel and gatherings, and keep a distance of two metres (6 ft) away from other people.
“But along with your physical health, it’s also important to take care of your mind and spirit during these uncertain times,” says Allison Frame, co-founder of Divine Destination Collection.
TAKE TIME TO BREATHE
It turns out the more you stress, the more you decrease the functioning of your immune system. That means you will be more susceptible to all viruses.
Harvard Medical School says that yoga, meditation, and controlled breathing are proven ways to relax during stressful situations like the current COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, if you’ve always wanted to try yoga, maybe now is the time to give it a try. Harvard also says that trying new activities can be a welcome, healthy distraction, and many yoga studios are offering free online classes.
This could also be the time to read that book you’ve never had the time to pick up before. Many public libraries offer online books, and there are many other free online resources, such as Open Culture, as well as free online learning courses.
To help people stimulate their minds while in isolation, several famous cultural institutions are offering free online art and entertainment. For example, New York’s Metropolitan Opera is streaming live performances, and you can even take a 360 degree virtual tour of a US national park without leaving your couch.
CONNECTING WITH EACH OTHER AND OURSELVES
Besides giving us online access to books, art, and information – technology is keeping us connected and making our forced isolation more bearable.
“Technology has helped bring our humanness back,” says Allison. “We are reaching out and checking in on each other. I know I’ve been more in touch with my family and friends than when I could go out and see them.”
Even without technology, people are finding innovative ways to connect while keeping a distance, such as the now famous video of Italians singing together from their individual balconies shows.
And since we can’t go outside, this is a golden opportunity to look inside, and connect with ourselves.
“We have the time to look at how we have been living our lives, and examine what is important to us,” says Allison. “Instead of looking outward for validation and trying to keep up with others, it’s a chance to flex our spiritual muscle and get back to the basics of what makes up a good life.”
TRAVELLING DURING THE CRISIS
While travel is an important part of many people’s lives – especially the people who have gone on adventures with the Divine Destination Collection – it is not safe to travel out of your country right now.
Besides the possibility of contracting COVID-19, many countries have put travel and border restrictions in place. Airlines are cancelling flights and suspending service, and new restrictions are being imposed with little warning. As a result, there is a real chance you could become stranded and unable to come home.
“This is a very fluid, ever changing travel environment,” says Allison. “It may be best to contact your airline or tour operator to find out your options for cancelling or postponing your trip. Many airlines and hotels have revised their change and cancellation policies to make it easier for customers to alter their plans and resume travel when this crisis has passed.”
If there is a bright spot, it could be the fact that some of the world’s most beautiful travel destinations are getting a break from tourists and having the chance to rejuvenate.
It has even been reported that the usually crowed canals of Venice are now clear enough to see fish and dolphins!
“After this crisis passes, and we are able to travel again, I hope we will learn from what has happened, and appreciate the opportunity to visit other countries, cultures, and people – and do a better job of taking care of each other, and our world,” says Allison.
STAY HEALTHY AND HELP OTHERS
These are uncertain times, so it is especially important to get your information about the evolving COVID-19 situation from reliable sources.
You can look to the World Health Organization for accurate information on the global situation and the latest, most effective health precautions. Their website is continually updated to provide protective measures based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. It also includes an informative section on myth-busters, such as the fact that cold weather and snow cannot kill COVID-19, and the latest flu vaccination does not protect you against the virus.
To learn more about what the COVID-19 virus is, how it works, and how important it is to do the right things so you don’t get the virus and pass it on to others – take a look at this video featuring Dr. Peter Lin, a family physician from Toronto.
“Get your information from trusted sources, keep washing your hands, don’t touch your face, avoid gatherings – and remember to look out for each other,” says Allison.
“Reach out to friends and family, check in, and have a truly fun and meaningful conversation with them. If you know a senior, or someone with a medical condition that prevents them from being able to go out for groceries, buy a few extra items and leave it at their door. By showing kindness and consideration, and helping each other out, not only will we get through this, but we will have the ability and opportunity to change the trajectory of where our world is going, and change the way we live in it going forward.”
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