All posts by Daniela

Daniela

About Daniela

Daniela is a Children's Librarian at Woodbridge Library. She loves books of all genres, from children's fiction to adult non-fiction, and everything in between. She is always up for expanding her literary horizons.

Together Vaughan: Celebrating Community in Difficult Times

Angela, from Pierre Berton Resource Library, and her daughters Maya and Kara, created this beautiful wall chalk art outside their homes to express their gratitude and thoughts on COVID-19. #TogetherVaughan

I’ve been thinking a lot about what community means. How do we define community? What brings communities together during times of hardship?

I’ve seen a lot of people uniting for the greater good lately. From demonstrations of appreciation for frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, to peaceful protests against systemic anti-black racism and police violence. Our communities refuse to back down. We are strong, resilient, and we won’t stop fighting for justice.

Community isn’t just a group of people inhabiting the same place. Community is about solidarity, empathy, and respect. It’s about acknowledging the often invisible ties that link us all. To be a member of a community is to be a member of a team — something greater than yourself. You can’t spell community without unity.

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Laughter is the Best Medicine

When’s the last time you laughed – a hearty, can’t catch your breath, rib-tickling – kind of laugh? Maybe it’s been a while. Maybe you just don’t think there’s anything to laugh about these days, during this challenging, tiring, and seemingly endless monotony we are living in. Maybe you feel guilty to laugh knowing that people in your community are struggling and suffering, knowing that life may not return to the way you remember. Maybe you are still reeling from the unforgivable atrocity against George Floyd, and rightly so (please see Karen’s enlightening blog post on allyship and anti-racism).

Yes, even with all these sorrows, our collective anger and outrage, we must make room for laughter. Humour can lighten our mental load, provide a much-needed respite from the unrelenting flow of bad news, and help us cope with this new world in which we find ourselves.

We have much to be grateful for. Many of us are surrounded by a loving circle of comrades who are enduring quarantine right alongside us. We have seen so many of our community members dedicate their time, resources, and energy to help those less fortunate. And we have prevailed, finding new and innovative ways to connect, exercise, relax, and nourish our souls (#TogetherVaughan). We are gonna get through this!

I’m here to tell you that laughter truly is the best medicine. It’s a scientific fact! Laughter decreases stress hormones, increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, and thereby actually improves your resistance to disease. Take a moment to let that sink in. Laughter, yes, plain old-fashioned heart pumping laughter, is actually a disease-fighting superhero!

Below are some of my tried and true favourites to ease the doldrums, put a smile on your face, and warm your heart. Most are available in digital form, however, if you prefer a physical copy, Vaughan Public Libraries has you covered with curbside pickup at select branches. Continue reading

Ponytails & Pyjamas: Beauty Routines in Self-Isolation

Did I brush my teeth today? I wonder as I fire up my laptop for another day of working at home. As I sip my coffee and reply to the latest emails, I become increasingly aware of my unwashed hair, but since there’s no one to see it, what’s the harm in leaving it just one more day? Then again, I do have that important Zoom meeting at 2 pm. I should probably look a little more presentable for that. Surely some muted lighting will help hide the tired, dark circles under my eyes. And there’s nothing that a high ponytail can’t solve.

As each day melts into the next during social isolation, it’s easy to neglect even the most basic self-care rituals. I was never a high maintenance gal to begin with, but I feel myself slipping even further into lazy habits. The problem is, once you start wearing your pyjamas around all day, the malaise can trickle into other areas of your life.

Beauty isn’t just about the superficial. How you feel about your appearance can have a strong negative impact on productivity and energy. You might stop video chatting with your family and friends because you “don’t look good right now.” You’ll probably skip that afternoon walk worried because your hair is frizzy and your grey roots are showing. And now that you’re in your pyjamas – so soft and warm –  a little nap couldn’t hurt. But once you’re in that cozy bed, it’s oh-so-hard to get back up again.

So what can we do to feel better in these challenging times? How can we create a realistic and manageable beauty routine while being kind to ourselves? Continue reading