Neighbourhoods

Neighbours Helping Neighbours During COVID-19 Pandemic

This pandemic has changed many of our lives. For some of us, we’re now working from home and some of us suddenly have more time on our hands. Many of us are wondering: how can we support each other? How can we deal with anxiety? What should we do with our spare time? Fortunately, we have each other to help us through, even if physically distant, and this page is filled with some resources, ideas, and initiatives to help us all.

Neighbours Helping Neighbours

It is natural to want to reach out to help others in a time of need. If you are looking for some organized initiatives or new ideas to try out, we’ve compiled a small sampling of activities that are underway in Victoria, and other cities. If you are interested in setting up or participating in a neighbourhood network, check out the resources below: 

  • Care Mongering has a Victoria page. Many Victoria neighbourhoods have pods on this Facebook-based campaign that connects volunteer neighbours with others in need.  
  • Community Connect is a compilation of helpful crowd-sourced local resources
  • Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program / BC 211. The province has launched a program that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community who are willing to help. Learn more at www.bc211.ca.
  • Check out this link if you want some basic instructions for creating a Neighbour Pod
  • Our community and seniors centres are running volunteer programs for those with some time to give.

If you’ve got a suggestion or know about a local initiative, please send it to us at neighbourhoods@victoria.ca 

 

Managing Anxiety

Looking for ways to calm your mind and reduce anxiety? We’ve put together a small list of ways to lift your spirits and reach out to your neighbours in a safe way. If you have children, it’s especially important to remember it’s okay to have some fun right now and stay socially connected to your community.

Look Outside - there are many great safe activities happening outside your home. Joining them may create a pleasant diversion for you. We’ve got just a couple ideas here to get you started.  

  • Hearts in Windows – This international Facebook group literally sprung up overnight and is a place where we can all come together during this hard time and feel the sense of community and love
  • Neighbourhood Window Walk - The City of Waterloo has instigated a Neighbourhood Window Walk, a treasure hunt for window art. Make up your own ideas, post them in your window and on social media and see what happens. Some suggestions include shamrocks, silly faces, animals, encouraging words, flowers and Easter eggs.
  • Send a Postcard to a Neighbour - An Edmonton woman has created a printable template to help people reach out to each other, in a low-tech way.

Look Inside

Give yourself a break. It’s okay to feel anxiety with all these unknowns coming at us every day. We aren’t really wired to navigate anxiety all the time. No one has all the answers for dealing with this, so don’t beat yourself up for the emotions you are feeling. Below we’ve collected some ideas from articles from mental health professionals to help us all get through these tough times with our mental health intact.

  • Acknowledge and name your feelings - David Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief and shared his thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it.
  • Listen to music - Music really does soothe the savage beast, so turn on your favourite tunes and dance it out or sit quietly and let the sounds wash over you. We have so many free options for access to music – take advantage of it and let music ease your mind and soul.
  • Move your body – whether it’s gentle stretching, working out like Thor, or walking outside, exercise is good for the body, the brain and the mind
  • Just breathe –Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Whether or not meditation is something for you, taking a break during the day to be present and breathe can be helpful. Find a quiet and a comfortable place to sit and just breathe. In and out, in and out – whether for a minute or 15, it will help. There are many ways to do this – find something that works for you.

For more information visit the Canadian Mental Health Association

 

How to Be Bored

You may be tempted to try to stay busy and productive as a way to cope with the pandemic, but it can also be a time to just be still, take stock and be there to support your family and neighbours. When it comes to spending some of your downtime, there are many organizations that have created online activities that will nourish your brain while being at home. Here are a few ideas to get started.

  • Tour 1,200+ of the world’s most famous museums from the comfort of your living room. To help creatives and history buffs begin their homeschooling journey, Google has compiled a list of the top 10 virtual museums
  • Watch penguins, jellyfish, and more via free live streams atMonterey Bay Aquarium. If you want to look at some animals, visit the San Diego zoo and watch their live cams.
  • Read a good book. Even though the public library is closed, you can still access electronic and audible books through the local library system. Download the Cloud Library app on your device and access hundreds of books instantly from our library. If you prefer to own your books, you can still buy books online, through the online book retailers and Apps you can download on your phone and tablet. Ask your friends for recommendations; share your favourites.
  • Become a Yale graduate. Yale University is offering people free online access to its most popular course, “The science of well-being.” Broken into short modules of videos and homework assignments, the course helps students engage in challenges that are designed to increase happiness and build more productive habits                        
  • Get outside and listen to the birds. We are lucky to have so many different birds in our back gardens and in our trees. Learn more about local birds and hear their songs online here
  • Plant something. Digging in the dirt is both therapeutic and teaches us patience, and we get the added bonus of flowers and food. Even if you don’t have access to the outdoors, you can grow houseplants or grow vegetables from scraps in your home

We’re going to keep updating this page with more ideas on different topics, building on what we learn. If you’ve got a suggestion or know about a local initiative, please send it to us at neighbourhoods@victoria.ca. And remember, be kind to each other.

 
 

What's Happening

 City Events Currently Postponed

 

Following the advice from BC’s Public Health Officer for social distancing and avoiding large groups, the City has decided to postpone all public events until further notice. This includes any scheduled open houses, workshops, meet-ups, and the Mayor’s Community Drop-In.

 

Please check back for updates at a later time.

 

 Find out more on the City of Victoria Response to COVID-19 page

     
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