How are you staying cheerful?

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Banner Staff COVID activities


The dark months of winter are difficult during a normal year. Add a pandemic to the mix and it’s not surprising that we’re feeling more frazzled than usual. To help beat the blues, we asked our Faculty of Arts community members:  How are you staying cheerful this time of year?
  • “I’m building myself a man cave with a home cinema.” (Benoit Lafleur, Arts IT)
  • “I adopted a puppy named Radar, he’s growing so fast. He’s keeping me busy during the lockdown. I also did my first vegetable garden last spring. Seeing something grow, that is not affected by the pandemic, is very calming. This time of year is a good time to start planning and order seeds. And lastly, I cross-stitch. It’s a long process, and it’s the perfect thing to do while binge-watching shows or listening to audiobooks during the pandemic.” (Marie-France Jolette, Senior Officer, Academic Development and Operations)
  • “I drink cold brew. It’s so good! And we order take-out on Fridays, especially from Bistro Coqlicorne.” (Karen Massey, OLBI) 
  • “I made myself a craft cart full of supplies for painting, paint by numbers, candle making, and more. It’s great to relax while listening to my favourite vinyl: Arcade Fire, Elton John, Father John Misty, Chris Stapleton, Jean Leloup, Harmonium, etc. I also got plants! Since the beginning of the pandemic, I filled my apartment with plants and flowers.” (Melissa Hachey, Marketing)
  • “I teach myself to play the piano, using Simply Piano app.” (Suzanne Bray, External Relations)
  • “Lots of baking and new recipes (here’s a new favourite: I also listen to stories and meditations on this blog  and do puzzles in my living room.” (Jenepher Lennox-Terrion, Vice-Dean, Student Affairs)
  • “We’ve stepped up our family board game nights (and weekends) and have challenged ourselves to play every board game in our collection… currently almost 100 games! Some nights we play a quick and easy game, on others, it might be medium weight and most heavy games we reserve for the weekends… some of the more intense games can take 2-3 hours. This hobby is a great break from our daily lives but still stimulates the mind! Board gaming has come a long way since the days of Monopoly, Sorry, Life, Risk etc. Board gaming is much more mainstream and there is something for everyone’s taste… You need recommendations. I’m more than happy to talk to anyone about board gaming!” (Patrick Provencher, IT)
  • “We did not adopt a pet, but we are caring for the Grade 4 parakeet until the kids go back to school and we are trying out new baking recipes—last week was Kentucky butter cake; next up is biscotti.” (Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research)
  • “A glass of wine bundled up under blankets by an outdoor fire, with or without marshmallows!” (Natalie Béland, Alumni Relations)
  • “We adopted a dog from the SPCA last August. Although he was already 6 years old, Lucky (his existing name, we didn't want to change it for fear of bad luck!) had never taken a step in the snow. So that's my favourite thing these days: hanging out with him and watching him run and sink into the snowbank!” (Marie-Claire Harvey, Office of Vice-Dean Research, and Governance and External Relations)
  • “I never thought I’d say this, but I started a paint-by-number project and I love it! It’s surprisingly meditative.” (Fidèle Lavigne, Marketing)
  • I'm learning Portuguese on Duolingo (I'm at 282 consecutive days), and I’m doing Sudoku. (Hélène Knoerr, OLBI)


Many are turning to physical activities:
  • “I watch YouTube videos while doing spinning in my basement.” (Karen Massey, OLBI)
  • “I do yoga every day! During the week, instead of one big session, I do many 5 to 10 minutes sessions throughout my workday. Sometimes I just put a song and I simply do yoga for the length of the song. It’s more motivating and energizing this way!” (Melissa Hachey, Marketing)
  • “To stay sane, I try to run 3 to 4 times a week, and I play outside with my kids.” (Karine Charron, Marketing)
  • “Walking most days and snowshoeing on weekends, weather permitting, and make sure I do 30 minutes on the stationary bicycle while watching the news at lunch.” (Suzanne Bray, Development Officer)
  • “Lots of walking my dog (7-year-old Springer Spaniel named Neil) outdoors every day and sometimes with friends, and Spin Classes in my living room” (Jenepher Lennox-Terrion, Vice-Dean, Student Affairs)
  • “To maintain a better family-work balance, which wasn’t possible in 2020, at the end of the work/school day we have started taking a walk as a family every day. We’ve set ourselves a daily steps goal for each individual. At the end of the work/school day, we verify our steps count and our walk will be the length it needs to for the person with the lowest steps to reach their daily steps goal. Interestingly enough, it changes regularly as to has the lowest steps when it’s time to go for our walk. The dog gets included in every walk… he doesn’t have a steps goal.” (Patrick Provencher, IT)
  • “Cross-country skiing (classic), the only way I can embrace our long winters.” (Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research)
  • “For me, going outside a lot! I go for walks alone, with my partner or with friends. Pre-lockdown we would do impromptu visits outside.” (Natalie Béland, Alumni Relations)
  • “We’ve taken up skijoring with our dogs. It’s basically cross-country skiing with the assistance of a dog in a harness. It’s great fun! And since I’m not commuting anymore, I get to walk my son to school every morning. It’s such a great way to start the day.” (Fidèle Lavigne, Marketing)
  • “Like I used to do pre-covid, I continue with an hour of exercise per day.” (Hélène Knoerr, OLBI)
  • “On weekdays I do my best to go for a walk at lunch, and I do downhill ski on weekends with the family.” (Sébastien Maillette, Marketing)


TV recommendations:
  • The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) - Hélène Knoerr, OLBI, Karen Massey, OLBI, Jenepher Lennox-Terrion, Vice-Dean, Student Affairs
  • The Crown (Netflix) - Hélène Knoerr, OLBI
  • The Umbrella Academy (Netflix) - Karen Massey, OLBI
  • The Boys (Amazon Prime) - Karen Massey, OLBI
  • Emily in Paris (Netflix) - Karen Massey, OLBI
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+). Grog is adorable! - Karen Massey, OLBI
  • Defending Jacob (Apple TV+) – Karine Charron, Marketing
  • Private Eyes (Amazon Prime), Suzanne Bray, Development Officer
  • The Office (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • Good Girls (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • The Ranch (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • Queen of the South (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • Cobra Kai (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • Sons of Anarchy (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • Tiger King (Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English
  • Schitt’s Creek (CBC Gem, Netflix) - Elizabeth M. White, Secretary, Department of English


Books recommendations:
  • Edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader  - Gerry Arbach, Department of English
  • David Sedaris, The Best of Me - Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research
  • Jerald Walker, How to Make a Slave - Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research
  • Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec, Une Arme Blanche - Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research
  • Patrick Keefe, Say Nothing - Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga, This Mournable Body - Eric Allina, Vice-Dean Research
  • Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Anti-Racist - Jenepher Lennox-Terrion, Vice-Dean, Student Affairs
  • John Grisham, A Time for Mercy - Suzanne Bray, Development Officer
  • Barack Obama, A Promised Land – Karine Charron, Marketing


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