Not even a pandemic can stop Creative people

Creative People: not even a pandemic can stop us from doing our day to day things.  As March rolled in so did the stay at home order and the baking of sour dough bread (I still have sour dough starter in the fridge, but it has been ignored for months so, although it looks fine, I doubt it is, but I still never have the heart to toss it out.  So, I will have to google the shelf life of unfed sour dough 😊.  I have, and will no doubt continue for some time, Tuesday council meetings via zoom, monthly book club via zoom, monthly PARO meetings via zoom, and will start up the weekly Friday zoom Trivia night we had started back in March/April but stopped over the summer.  We may not be able to be in each other’s homes, but we are face to face on zoom regularly. We are used to seeing the grandchildren via facetime so that is nothing new.

As entrepreneurs, we have stepped outside the box, have created new and often better ways of doing business, have learned to clean more thoroughly, have learned to step outside, take in the views, breath in some air and destress.

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider what parts of normal are worth rushing back to”

Creative Working from Home options

As I sit here just before midnight my day has been pretty much a normal day, regardless of Covid-19.  I have attended two meetings this day.  Pre-covid they would have been face to face, and although just a quick less than 5 minute drive for me, for others it would have been almost a hour drive one way to attend.  During Covid these meetings have been held via zoom where, from the comfort of our homes, (sometimes with pets taking centre stage), we were able to attend the meetings and provide the necessary input, have discussion, and make decisions; to me that is a positive.  Knowing that these meetings can be effectively done via zoom will mean that going forward, post covid, a meeting can be scheduled via zoom when inclement weather occurs, when someone is not feeling well and does not want to spread germs, but can attend from the comfort of their living room, will allow much more freedom and flexibility. To me this is a great Covid-19 benefit.

Creative fun can be had via zoom with a broader audience

Creative Friends and Family Time

With covid-19 came an end to our weekly tavern trivia night.  Although an opportunity to sit and visit with friends over a beverage and some wings, we found that being creative during covid-19 that this weekly gathering did not in fact have to come to an end but could be “altered”.  We started a weekly zoom trivia night, ordered wings from the tavern to help support the local community, poured our own beer, purchased from the local brewery or made our own coffee, and had a great get together.  Everybody rolled their own dice and one couple moved the pieces around the board and asked the questions.  When it was our turn, someone else with a box of questions asked us ours.  The best part was that we could have friends from out of town attend our trivia night as well, so people from Toronto and Oshawa were able to be regular attendees. The benefit of Covid-19, now we can meet with friends and family from afar and have some fun even without being in lockdown.

We have still not found a way to have a couple play euchre via zoom….. sorry Richard.

Creative Sales Opportunities and supporting local entrepreneurs

Creative Business WOMEN stepped up, thought outside the box and like the one Mary Kay representative told me, became so busy with zoom parties that it will be something she continues post covid-19.   The best part, the normal party with friends from just down the road, became a party where sisters who lived all over the world could come together for an evening, no matter if they lived in Little Current, Toronto, Australia or Singapore.  Pre covid-19 the thought of having a virtual Mary Kay (or other direct sales party) was probably never even on the radar.  The benefit of Covid-19 is that post pandemic these virtual parties will be a sure thing!

My other friend held a pampered Chef party via email, we looked at the catalogue, ordered what we wanted, it got delivered (in a socially distanced manner) with a face to face visit.

I was able to order Christmas gifts on-line from Poppies and Peonies and just select a local influencer (who I had never met, but she will get the benefit).

Creative town council meetings

Creative Government. Although we had to get provincial permission to do so, the council meetings moved to zoom and the Mayor got to learn all about how to move people into and out of the waiting room.  The first few were a little rocky with some folks getting use to technology and the odd issue with bandwidth and internet connections, but all in all the meetings have gone off without any issues.  The public can join in, in-camera portions are workable via use of headsets and moving people out to the waiting rooms and everything has run smoothly.  Like my other meetings, post covid-19, on stormy nights, when a person doesn’t want to spread germs from a cold, or is out of town, they can join into a regular council meeting via zoom.  Being creative in how we do things going forward is a benefit we have learned from this pandemic.

Creative Exercise classes via zoom

Creative Fitness Instructors. Now I myself have done my exercise routine at home using a you-tube video or a DVD (albeit and oldy but goody) for a long time; but some folks who were used to being face to face in a physical gym/fitness location had to move to virtual (or outside – that is coming up next) classes.  My friend told me her virtual spin class was harder than her in person class and she got to track her statistics against others.  I think she has a peloton but there are lots of other virtual spin and other classes you can find on line. The benefit of Covid-19 for my friend is that she can now do her exercise routine at a scheduled time that suits her ever changing job hours.   Some friends are not sure they will go back to the gym full time, but instead continue to use a mix of both.

Creative Teaching via Zoom

Creative Teachers. Kudos go out to all of our teachers who have come up with creative, inventive, interactive, fun, and effective zoom classes to keep the kids engaged and learning.  This has been out of the wheelhouse of many but they have come out strong and we give them our thanks.  Great job.

The Senior Zoomers/Facetimers

Creative Seniors. I can not even begin to say how proud I am of the many seniors who have taken my technology classes over the past 3 years who are now savvy and able to zoom or facetime into a family gathering, where they can see and speak to their children and grandchildren or visit with friends.  To all of you seniors, way to go!  I told you all that you could do it and you are proving me right.  As I said, the more you use the technology the more comfortable you will get.  With the Christmas holiday soon upon us, and people being asked to stay at home and only holiday within your household, many a Christmas morning of opening gifts will be done and seen virtually.  I urge you all at this time, as difficult as it will be, only have Christmas & New Years celebrations with those who live in your household.  Stay safe.  This pandemic will come to an end, you will get to see your grandchildren again, but now is not the time.  We want you here with us and your catching and dying from covid-19 will not have been worth it.

When my classes resume in 2021 they will now have a broader reach as people from far away communities can now join in via their tablet.  Seniors have gotten comfortable with technology and can now take classes from the comfort of their homes.  No more worries about getting a ride, driving in bad weather or that extra hour of travel time.  I will be coming up with some ways to do this socially once Covid-19 is gone and you can gather together so stay tuned!

Creative Churches and places of Faith

Creative ways of bringing their congregations together have been a blessing for many who are missing their Sunday church service.  The various church groups and others places of faith have done a great job in reaching out and gathering people together.

Creative Doctors and health care providers

Creative doctors, physiotherapists and other health providers have made sure those who  needed care got care.  Maybe it was a phone or zoom call with a mental health practitioner.  You may have had a virtual physiotherapy session.   Maybe you had a chat with the doctor to just check in or to see if your issues could be resolved over the phone or if an in-person visit was necessary.  Regardless, we were kept well.  Many practitioners tell me that this may be the way of the future for a lot of care as people were finding it much more convenient.  Those regular check ins to see if you are doing okay may be more and more popular and the seniors becoming comfortable with virtual visits has been a fabulous benefit of Covid-19. Visits with Specialists were able to be scheduled via medical-zoom type calls and access to them was much quicker than waiting for an in-office visit.

Creative ways of being outside

Exercise out of doors

Creative Fitness.  With gyms having to shut down many people moved to doing their workouts outside with gym friends, socially distanced in the park (some instructors held their classes outside).  Some gym instructors started having people run or jog or speed walk the many trails we have here.  So wanting to stay fit does not mean you have to be inside the gym – lots of things (most things) can be done outside with personal weights and bands etc.  Yoga and tai chi are lots of fun outside.  Maybe a benefit of Covid-19 is that it got you (and your instructor) thinking about doing some outdoor routines from time to time.

Walking to clear your head and destress

Creative walking routes.  Many people found that just the thought of having to be in a lock down was stressful.  Just go outside.  Breath in the air, look at the view, whatever that view may be, stay socially distanced and just enjoy.  No need to get stressed out and frustrated, staying home did not mean staying locked within your house (at least not here in Canada).  You could always go outside, just not use park equipment, or exercise equipment that is often on walking trails.  With trails closed, sidewalks and roadsides were always available, they were pre-covid-19 and will still be there post covid-19.  So the positive benefit from Covid-19  is that maybe people learned that when they feel a little overwhelmed from whatever, that just getting outside, breathing in the air, taking in the view and taking some steps can lead to a better mindset and better health in general.

The unbelievable creativity of entrepreneurs

Given lemons, the entrepreneur knows how to make lemonade!  When you have a little restaurant that provides premade sandwiches and a soup of the day, opening a window and creating a drive thru may never have crossed your mind, then along came Covid-19, the window got opened, the cars drove thru, and business was better than you could ever have anticipated.  Post covid-19 that window will now stay open. The benefit of Covid-19 is that it caused entrepreneurs to think outside the box and do things they may not ever have considered but turned out to be fabulous for their businesses going forward

When no retail website existed for your business, along came some funding and lo and behold that website you had never found the time to get to is now up and running and sales are amazing.  Pre covid-19 the idea was there, you just never found the time or the funds, thanks to Covid-19 you have a fabulous website, greater sales and more customers from across the country.

Supporting Local

Covid-19 had the Ontario government create “made in Ontario” branding and a made in Ontario website to identify small businesses here in Ontario.  You applied for and got your branding, your items are on the website and sales are continuing to rise.  The push to supporting local has not only gotten your business identified but expanded to local being something people in Canada now look for.  So the shop local movement has taken hold.  Shopping in your local stores, for us that is here on Manitoulin Island first, then Espanola, then Sudbury, then Ontario, then Canada before we leave the country to find our products.  The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that having a supply chain outside Canada is a detriment so hopefully post Covid-19, this will no longer be the way things go.  Many new businesses started up, now making product here in Canada to support our needs. A new one here in Wiikwemkoong  being a new PPE factory to make N95 masks.  So going forward supplies of N95 masks and other PPE to support hospitals, will be made locally.  So out of Covid-19 came a new business to the Island that will create many new jobs.  Now there is a great pandemic outcome!

Supporting Local Restaurants

We are far from getting through this pandemic and the restaurants are still being hit very hard.  There are many more months of this pandemic to weather and possibly some further shut downs.  So, if you can, at least once a week, order a take out from your local restaurants (check out the business section for local eateries).  When this is all over, make sure they are still standing.  These small business owners are our friends & neighbours and it is important to support them.  Pre-covid-19 we went to them to get them to support our hockey teams, our baseball teams etc. and they stepped up for us, now it’s our turn to support them.

Support Local Retailers – not just during Covid-19 but all the time!

I am confident that all of the local retailers will very much appreciate your shopping locally this holiday season.  But they are here year round to support you and provide you with what you need.  Therefore, it is important to keep the shift that the pandemic brought forward and continue to support local ALWAYS!