This redeployment assignment has tested my emotional and physical strength. I’m still hanging on by a thin thread. It will be interesting to look back on this time in the future but right now it’s never ending hardship.

How I’ve coped so far.

  1. Making the most of ‘my’ time.

I wake up at 4am each day. When most people are hours away from waking up, I am giving myself the mental and physical push to do get through another work day. I meditate, cook all my meals for the day (or two), work on something creative and spend time being active in nature. After work I spend 2-3 hours of social time online with friends and family, watch some inspiring/funny videos before I meditate again and go to sleep. 8.5 hours of each day I am a worker bee for the city of Toronto and the other 8 hours are mine, not counting my sleep time.

2. Being in the present.

My life as a fitness instructor/personal trainer for the city before COVID-19 is a blur. I’m uncertain what the future of teaching group fitness will be. I try not to think about the future. Nor the past I miss so much. I just focus on completing each task and try to be present for them.

My walk to work, I choose the route that’s an extra 4 minutes to be away from main streets. On the way home, I take the most direct route. As the weather gets hot, I’ll probably ride down to be out of the heat longer.

3. Constantly reminding myself this is temporary.

One of my current co-workers asked me if I would work permanently as a food service worker. I told her the truth, I love and miss my old job. The question made me realize that my co-workers don’t know what to make of me. I’m an outsider. I’m temporary. Even though I’m making their jobs easier than it was before, things are still awkward for all of us. Being an outsider is lonely but since it’s temporary, this too shall pass.

I spend a quarter of my work day with these two. The other quarter of my day is spent with two more on the other side of the room. Residents have four kind of diets, regular, soft, minced and pureed. Appropriate cutlery goes with each type of diet.

4. Joy comes in small packages.

It’s nice to see other redeployed staff that I know from teaching for a brief moment most days. It reminds me of my life outside the floor I’ve been assigned to in long term care.
I have a pretty view to look at. I could be doing the same job in a basement. Food service worker is the second hardest job in long term care. At least I’m not in the hardest job, a personal support worker.
Constant reminders and cheers from my friends and previous co-workers (who are not redeployed) to stick it out to help Toronto’s vulnerable population.

5. Realizing that all my long distance walks were training for this job!

Endurance training is the reason my mental and physical strength has stayed strong during this work sentence. Those long distance weekly walks serviced a purpose after all. I just keep going, one step at a time.

I still do long distance walking but it’s done close to home so when I need a washroom, I can use my own, then continue. I’ve only done one long distance walk the same day I worked. That day I explored this path I see from the window at work.