Alex Bruce Alex Bruce

IN IT TOGETHER: Trying something new can help

In this time of stress, change helps overrides negative feelings by tricking nervous systems

By Alex Bruce/Special to The News

Right now we are all experiencing some kind of stress.

This looks different for all of us, and may result in being more tired than usual, more sleepless than usual, edgy, grumpy, angry, anxious or depressed.

All of these reactions, and whatever else you may be experiencing, are normal.

You are okay, and we will make it through these times together, as a community.

Anything we can do to help our nervous system to calm down will bring our body back to homeostasis, which promotes everything from proper digestion and sleep to feelings of well-being.

One of the many things that we can do is to try something new.

Trying something new overrides any negative feelings that we may be experiencing and works to tell our minds and bodies that we are safe.

This is because, if we were in imminent danger, we would not be in a state of creativity.

By consciously changing our routines, we can unconsciously change the messaging to our bodies. Cool, right?

So, try something new today.

Try a new recipe, a new genre of book, or an outfit that you’ve been meaning to pull out of your closet.

A friend of mine – who used to play the tuba when he was younger – is using his time at home to teach himself how to play the piano.

Knowing that there wasn’t going to be any school or social gatherings for a while, my adolescent daughter just gave my son a homemade haircut. Be creative and see if you can try something new every week, or even something small every day.

When we introduce our bodies and minds to different things, or fresh ways of doing the same old thing, we stimulate new neural pathways in our brains, which promotes growth and feelings of positivity and well-being.

Even if you’re not good at what you introduce (such as me with photography), enjoy a good laugh and give yourself a pat on the back for giving it a shot.

Try a new food, new physical activities, keeping an open mind when conversing with others, experiment with new skills or something you’ve always wanted to do.

Organize your day differently, sleep in a little later or experiment with getting up a little earlier.

Get in touch with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Investigate different ways of becoming more mindful, sit in a different seat at the dinner table, play with staying in the moment when you brush your teeth, clean out the junk drawer that everybody has, try spending less time in front of a screen, change the layout of your room or garden and try opening the window for a breath of clean, fresh air.

Learn another language, express your artistic side, or write your memoirs.

Try some face yoga and smile at life as often as you possibly can.

Whenever we introduce something innovative or novel into our lives, however big or small, we tell our nervous systems that we are safe.

We open up and develop and strengthen the part of our brains that houses our creative side.

Get others involved; invite your family or roommates to join you or start a new challenge on your social media.

Good luck!

*Join us on Facebook at and post your pictures depicting Learning at Home. Share your creativity during these times and be sure to include names, ages, and details for an opportunity to be highlighted in a future article.


FIRST COLUMN: Maple Ridge woman offers series of wellness tips amid COVID crisis

SECOND COLUMN: We mammals are in this together and will thrive together


Alex Bruce is a meditation and mindfulness instructor who primarily works with children and adolescents in crisis.

She has lived in Albion for 17 years now, and as a mother of children, ages 14 and 12, offers tips and suggestions for mental health and wellness that might help adults and children alike in her community of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows during the current COVID pandemic.

“I am honoured to be on this journey with you as we introduce ways to reduce stress and increase resiliency during these challenging times,” Bruce said, noting that each day over the next few weeks she will uncover opportunities to establish more positivity and self-compassion in our everyday living.


• Stay tuned tomorrow for the next COVID-19: In It Together column


• If there is more to this column, please let us know about it. Email us at We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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