Covert Ottawa Weekly Newsletter: Pretty Fly Edition

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! I hope you are having a great long weekend. Despite all of the challenges we’ve faced this year, I’m sure you can still come up with a lot of things to be thankful for. Even though we can’t spend this weekend with our extended families, we need to keep our focus on the positive aspects that we’ve got in our lives. Think about what you’ve got going for you; do you have your health, job, family, etc? I think even those who have been directly affected by the pandemic can still come up with some things to be thankful for. As Rob Dial from the Mindset Mentor has taught me, every negative thought can be reversed into a positive if you compare it to what could be worse (paraphrased). “I have COVID:” be thankful that you live in a place that offers free health care and has the facilities to manage the illness. “I lost my job:” be thankful that you live in a place that offers social assistance to keep you afloat until you land back on your feet. Be thankful that you have loved ones in your life that you can rely on to help you when things aren’t ideal. Try to remember this when you encounter life’s challenges.

Photo: CBC news

We’ve reverted back to a modified phase 2 of the re-opening; maybe we should call it the re-closing now? I have to make an apology to anyone using the events calendar on my website right now, as I can’t guarantee much at the moment. I had just finished updating the events for next week when the province shut down again, and I haven’t been able to catch up just yet. So, with that being said, for any indoor events, I would recommend double checking that they are still on. I’m pretty sure that they are not. But I have to rely on event organizers to update this information, which often isn’t done accurately or efficiently with bar-hosted events (comedy nights, Karaoke, small concerts, etc).

Halloween Events

Most of the Halloween events are proceeding as they are primarily outdoors, but tickets may be a bit more sparce. I’ve been highlighting the longer running events in recent newsletters, and this week have added the “Acres of Terror” event that is being held at Cannamore Orchard out in Crysler. There are day and night sessions, so you can bring the kids to enjoy the festivities as well. Admission gets you in to see four different attractions, including The Spooky Wagon ride, House of Terror, Spooky Village and the Fog Maze. All the details can be found on their website. This event runs on weekends, and with people scrambling to find things to do this fall, is likely to sell out, despite the drive to Crysler. You can get your tickets by clicking here.

Amazon Prime Day

What is Amazon Prime Day? It’s the day where we solve all of our emotional problems with shopping! American Thanksgiving is coming up in about 6 weeks, which brings with it Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then we’ve got Christmas sales, and then Boxing Day week. So much spending!!! I think it’s ridiculous personally, however I do find myself looking for things to buy, just because it’s a good sale!

Amazon Prime Day is a massive sale specifically for those with a Prime membership. I suspect there are a few of us out there who have one. If you don’t though, don’t worry about that, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and take advantage of the deals (and then cancel it after 29 days of course).

 

 

This year, Amazon Prime Day is actually two days: October 13th and 14th, but some sales are already up. There are some great deals to be found, and as I mentioned, I want to buy things just because they’re on sale. But that’s the stupidest reason to purchase something. I came across this article in Wired magazine that provides tips on how to prepare for APD, and how to avoid making costly mistakes. I think they have some brilliant recommendations, especially if you’re impulsive like me.

https://www.wired.com/story/early-amazon-prime-day-deals-2020/

Oh, and in case you need some help deciding what to buy, CNN has published a story to help you out (hooray for commercialism):

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/05/cnn-underscored/amazon-holiday-gift-guide-2020/index.html

 

Also on the shopping note, Canada Post has advised that they anticipate their deliveries to be slower than usual for the Christmas season due to COVID and the current high demand for their services, so if you’re a planner, maybe APD is a good time to get some of your Christmas shopping done, and check off one source of stress, the dreaded Christmas shopping season.

Bits and Bytes

This is my random story and features section. These topics don’t necessarily have anything to do with Ottawa. It could include stories about current news issues, sports, funny videos, and/or perhaps just random things that I’ve discovered over the previous week. I hope you enjoy!

Return to Phase 2

I’ll start with the return to phase 2. We should take this new shutdown in stride and work towards getting healthy as a society. We need this time to do two things: first, to fight off COVID so it doesn’t keep ruining our lives. Second, we need to start working on our human interaction skills again. I had some time to kill over the weekend, so I took a little drive just to observe people and see how they interacted with one another. We’re disgusting. There’s so much anger towards one another out there, and I have no idea why. This is the time we should be joining forces and embracing each other (not literally) to work through what is likely one of the most challenging times we’ll have in our lives. Instead we’re fighting with each other, and it’s awful.

Your Mindset

This all comes down to our mindset; we have to focus on positivity. From what I’ve observed, in general, people are more aggressive in their day to day activities. This leads to more frustration and ultimately anger towards others. We choose what mindset we want to have when we encounter a situation. It is our choice how we react. We have to train ourselves to overlook the aggressive nature of other people, to accept that bad things happen in this world, and to make peace with the fact that there will always be ignorant and rude people no matter what we do. But we can strive to ensure that they don’t impact our day and bring us down. There are many ways to accomplish this, but what it comes down to is our mindset and how we react internally when we encounter a negative situation. Take driving for example. We are cut off by someone driving aggressively and are forced to slam on the breaks so that we don’t hit them. Our first instinct is to get mad at them, yell at them as if they can hear us, and flip them the bird. Then once this brief encounter is over, we may start tailing them to reciprocate the aggression, and/or we’ll stew on the incident for a while. You should stop and ask yourself what impact this a-hole has had on your day. I would suggest that it was minimal, and the net impact is that you may have added ten seconds onto your drive, but nothing else has been affected. Your best option is to brush it off as something that doesn’t matter, and therefore, something that is not worth bringing down your mood. If you’ve trained your mind to instantly realize that it’s a no-win situation and let it go, your day will not be ruined. This is a driving example only, but the same principle can apply to many stressors that you might encounter, particularly while dealing with the public (“That guy has 18 items in a ’16 items or less’ check out lane!!!”)

Journaling and my Morning Routine

In order to change my mindset, I’ve been working towards a routine to start my day off on a positive note. Although this is difficult with the #CovertBaby (who hasn’t figured out what sleep is just yet), I do my best to make it happen. This consists of getting up and having a glass of lemon water (you lose a lot of water when you sleep and need to hydrate first thing in the morning). I have some breakfast and make coffee. Then, before I start into my day, I take a few minutes to do a little journaling with my cup of joe. I didn’t really know what journaling was all about when I first started it, but I heard it could be therapeutic, so why not? I just take the time to write down my thoughts on the previous day and what I’ve got planned for the next 24 hours. Sometimes it’s a to-do list, other times it’s venting about something, but it gets my thoughts out of my mind and onto paper. I find it to be a great way to organize my thoughts and motivate me for the day ahead.

Photo: Stitcher.com

Shortly after this, each morning I go for a walk with the #CovertBaby and listen to podcasts. This week, ironically enough, was a great podcast featuring Ryder Carroll and the Art of Journaling. I listed to him on the Daily Stoic Podcast and it was great! As I mentioned, I don’t really know what I’m doing with journaling, and as it turns out, many don’t.

 

I do this to clear my mind, and get everything down on paper so I can start my day motivated to achieve something. I’ve recently started my own modified SWOT analysis but I’ve changed it to PNOT (Positives, Negatives, Opportunities, Threats). This creates a sense of drive and gives me something to work towards each day. An individual’s reason for journaling may vary, but there are some good tips that I learned on the podcast if it’s something you want to start doing (these are paraphrased and in no particular order):

  • Don’t start with a grand profound statement. It doesn’t have to begin in a meaningful way, you can start however you want with the first thing that pops into your head.

  • As a follow-up to that, you have to remember why you’re journaling. It’s not a performance, and you’re doing this for you, so don’t get all caught up with editing and format and grammar. It’s whatever works for you.

  • Take the time to do it on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid of a blank page, as your thoughts will spill out on to the page when they’re ready. Just write something. Start small and it will flow.

  • Start off by focusing on something that you are worried about, or an issue that you’re dealing with or expect to be dealing with, and go from there.

  • You don’t need a fancy journal. You can buy all kinds of pre-formatted ones from a book store, but you don’t need to do that, you can just get a notebook to spill your guts.

  • Finally, keep in mind that this should be motivational, so try and write something that will help you win your day.

Each of us should find our own coping mechanisms to bring positivity back into our lives. I’ve given you a brief start with some of the things that I do, but you should find something that works for you. I highly recommend that you try and find a solution so that the little stressors in life don’t add up and bring you down. Once you find a way to ignore these small irritants (like the a-hole driver), you’ll find yourself in a much better mindset, and able to achieve more throughout your day.

Thanks all for reading this week, I know it was a little different than usual, but in these times, and particularly with the recent COVID resurgence, I felt that it was time to have a positive message. Cheers everyone, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and look forward to the week ahead.

The Fly

OK, well I can’t leave this newsletter without a fly comment. It seems to be the most topical thing in North America at the moment. It’s the only fun thing about the US election, I guess. I don’t really want to talk about it, but I can’t leave it out.

 

Have a great week, stay healthy, and be kind to one another!

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