Christian Blake was really looking forward to the new Marvel Film, The Eternals, when he spoke to the audience attending a recent Humber Wellness Talk called "Museums, movement, medicine? A pandemic reflection on doing the things we do."
“Not doing things, staying home, it kinda sucked,” he said during the live-streamed talk.
Returning seemed daunting, though. He was nervous to watch a movie in public after a year and a half of doing so from home. But he knew he had to get back to living his life doing things.
“I’d like to make a case for doing. If not for you all, then for myself, still sitting at home on my couch by myself watching Disney+.”
In the hour that ensued, Blake talked to students, staff and community members through their return to doing things like going to work, having dinner with friends or watching a movie in the theatres.
He even talked himself into going to the cinema to see The Eternals, sharing at the end of his speech that Disney+ just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
Reintroducing yourself to the world – as it is safe to do so – is possible, and it can be enjoyable.
A wholescale re-evaluation
He explained that, at its core, occupational therapy focuses on the things we do that contribute to the way we feel.
“If doing certain things can positively contribute to how we feel, then a world without doing, a wholesale re-evaluation of what we do, can be tough,” said Blake.
Reducing our public life has been tough. Returning to that life can be just as challenging.
Blake polled and studied the groups he works with at MLSE Launchpad as they came back after a year away during the pandemic.
The first phase examined how young people experienced sport (or not) during the pandemic.
The second phase is underway. Blake is exploring the differences in the way the athletes are returning and whether that affects mental health and well-being.
“As I saw these young people coming back, I was thinking a lot about how they did it. Some will come once a month, and others will be in the gym every day,” he said.
It got him thinking that maybe the way we return to doing can impact our return to life.
A little can go a long way
For now, Blake, a self-described toe-dipper, is taking it slow.
“We can rekindle that ember,” he said.
Blake suggests a gradual re-entry. While some may be ready to dive in, most people he knows are still navigating the shallow end of the pool.
“Small reintroductions help us get our confidence back,” he said.
Returning to work, eating meals with friends and family or going to the movies are easier to do than they were last year, and Blake urges people to enjoy them – gradually.
“There’s solace in knowing that doing a little can go a long way toward our health and well-being,” he said.
Blake’s Wellness Talk was supported by the Lakeshore Principal's Office, Humber Centre for Creative Business and Innovation and Humber Galleries.