From the Desk of Our Founder & CEO

posted Mar 15, 2020, 10:59 AM by Walk Strong Calgary
My Dear Friends and Avid Walkers,

I worked for a Class 1 railroad here in Canada for over 15 years and was on duty in our 24-hour operations centre the morning of 9/11. I can still remember the heightened sense of urgency, the tension, the intense focus of all of the managers as the situation evolved that morning. A war room was set up down the hall from my desk for departmental heads and other executives to gather and monitor the situation - a large-screen TV was set up in there with a continuous news feed, and my supervisor in the cubicle adjacent to mine was on the phone trying to account for staff members in the USA, one of whom happened to be a member our our administrative team who was on vacation. Oh the RELIEF when she called in to report that she was safe! I still get chills and well up with tears when I look back and remember one thing that really stood out through it all... I saw people banding together like a closely-knit family looking out for each other, supporting each other, hugging each other. It was an amazing feeling. 

In this current situation, while some things feel similar, it's very, very different. The aggressive preparedness worldwide... the sense of how real and close to home this is... is palpable. Even the flood here in 2013 was not like this. Seeing video footage of shelves in grocery stores empty, the aisles in disarray with items on the floor, lineups longer than I've ever seen... It's hard NOT to get caught up in the sense of urgency, anxiety... and in some cases... panic... if you're watching the news feeds and seeing people fighting in the aisles. 

In my local grocery store, the situation Thursday was much as described above (minus the panic and fighting) and I was impressed... so very impressed... and touched... by how patient everyone was. There was no shouting, no pushing and shoving. On the contrary - I saw total strangers smiling at each other as they made room for people to pass through their line to get to the next aisle. People said "Please" and "Thank you" and "Can I help you with that?" A man bumped into my cart and immediately turned around and said, "I'm so sorry!" We exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways.  Even the staff were smiling, calm, helpful, and efficient - the lines were moving much more quickly than I expected. 

We ARE going to get through this. A year from now, we'll look back and say, "Wow. That was a wild ride!" In the meantime, I encourage you to keep things in perspective. At the time of this writing, there are 39
confirmed cases in Alberta, a province of 4,345,737 people. While this virus spreads incredibly easily and fast, most people recover relatively quickly (healthy folks with no pre-existing risk factors), and they DO recover. Some experience only mild symptoms. While I'd hate to see any of you contract the virus in the first place, the more vulnerable people are the ones we need to watch out for and protect with due diligence, which means taking sensible precautions to prevent the spread (I just glanced up and saw a plane fly overhead and couldn't help but wonder where it's headed... how many passengers are on board... and are any of them carriers...). Folks with compromised immune systems or who tend to be susceptible to respiratory problems and/or infections are definitely higher risk, along with our beautiful Seniors. Symptoms will vary in severity from individual to individual. Remember, most do recover, but let's stop this thing in its tracks. Some tips:

1. Check the following sites for updates on the situation:  Alberta Health Services - COVID-19
2. Use this Self-Assessment Tool to help determine whether or not you should be tested, and remember, at this time, Alberta Health Services reiterates that you do NOT need testing if in the past 14 days you have not been outside the country and/or have not been in contact with someone who has or who has been diagnosed.  
3. Keep scrolling. The more posts you read on Social Media about COVID-19, the more anxious and stressed you may feel. Scroll by the posts about the virus. Check for updates once a day using one of the above sources. 
4. Eat your fruits and veg - these help build immunity! 
5. Do something every day that brings you joy! 
6. Keep up your exercise! A walk in the park can do wonders for you physically and mentally.
7. Do some breathing exercises daily (see my post on Facebook). 
8. Wash your hands often and self-isolate as much as you can and/or keep your distance from people. I just might start walking to and from work to avoid crowded buses - extra steps for me - Yay! (2 1/4 miles one way).
9. Stay connected. Continue to reach out to people daily, whether that's by phone, text, e-mail for video chats.  
10. Focus on the positives. We have a beautiful sunny morning here in Calgary, and after a bitterly cold day yesterday, that put a smile on my face when I opened my drapes earlier!

I was overwhelmed with emotion a couple of days ago when I saw a video from Italy of people out on their balconies singing as a sign of solidarity during the country's lock down. I have a friend who lives in the region and she wrote about it on her daily blog. Regarding the lock down itself, she said everyone was very calm about it. I love the idea of people uniting through music!!! If anything good were to come out of this situation, I hope that it brings people of the world closer together. We. Are. One. Race. The human race. Be kind. Be patient. Show love. Sing your song. Play your lyre. Spread your joy.

Keep walking strong out there my lovely Walkers!
Much love,
Nancy Ehle
Founder & CEO
Witness 4 Fitness
(no soliciting calls or e-mails, please)