We’ve all felt the impact of Covid-19 in one way or another.
But some of us have been harder hit: those infected, those who’ve lost a loved one to the virus, those suddenly unemployed or experiencing lockdown-related financial hardship, fragmented or challenged relationships and those living alone with nowhere to go and no one to see.
Challenging for most of us. Almost unbearable for others.
Rolling lockdowns have been a constant for nearly a year now, and they don’t look to disappear anytime soon. From coast to coast on any given day, there are places just heading into them, areas already in them, and places just coming out of them.
And while we know how effective they can be — and their importance to the greater good — it’s vital to remember that we are not all in the same boat, despite being on the same water.
Not everyone can work from home. Some won’t continue to work at all. The virus is spread across all socioeconomic and cultural groups. It doesn’t care who you are, where you are, or what you do.
Aside from the obvious financial strain, that can destroy the sense of fulfillment and well-being that comes from working or studying. From doing something.
The way we’ve always lived our lives and contributed to society — at least for now — is gone.
Recognize the Strain
Let’s be actively mindful to not place any unnecessary judgment, pity, or imposition on anyone. Not ourselves. Not those we know. Not those we see.
Let’s actively support as best we can. Ourselves. Those we know. Those we see.
There are no bad emotions. All emotions are a direct response to a situation and our thoughts on it, and should be open to discussion. Bottling them up inside can have disastrous consequences if and when the pressure gets too much and we explode.
We’re not wired to hold thoughts and emotions that way. We are wired to have them, to recognize and release.
The role of mental health in our overall well-being can not be overstated. It’s pivotal. If you or someone you love is struggling and thinking about hurting themselves, call 9–1–1 or your local suicide prevention center. Both Canada (1–833–456–4566) and the United States (1–800–273–8255) operate 24/7 national hotlines for when you need help the most.
Be There for Each Other
Knowing someone else cares can often be the difference between getting on the road to recovery, and tragedy.
It can be as simple as checking in on others. If dropping by in person is not possible, a quick phone call can literally save a life.
We can’t help unless we know someone needs it. And that includes ourselves.
The desperation, uncertainty, exhaustion, loneliness, and disconnection that many of us are experiencing can also increase the risk of neglect, abuse, and other types of pain transference.
We must be open to authentic support and reduction of abuse. Actively, consistently, and to the best of our abilities. That’s true at the best of times, and it’s safe to say the pandemic has not been the best of times.
We need to be there for each other. Without judgment, pity, or imposition.
A Constant Grind
It’s already been one year of this. Four seasons. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days.
No one — no matter how strong or self-assured — can keep this up forever without help. It will eventually wear everyone down.
Uncertainty. Anxiety. Lives derailed, some irrevocably.
In addition to the physical distancing, masks, hand washing, and lockdowns, we should be prioritizing life, too.
How can we best maintain our quality of life during a global pandemic? How do we take better care of ourselves so we may take better care of others? How do we show support and offer assistance to those too afraid or proud to ask for it?
There are no easy answers. But that shouldn’t stop us from asking the questions.
If you’re still working, focus on the blessing of that. Even with reduced hours or lost revenue, you’re in an enviable position. Others aren’t so lucky.
We shouldn’t complain over a meager meal while others are starving. Instead, let’s be the greatest source of hope and support for each other.
The lockdowns will continue. While they are well-intentioned and necessary, there’s no denying they are equally erratic and damaging. Be there for each other.
We are not alone.
Reach out to those you believe may be struggling. Reach out to others if you are. And if you have no one else, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may not all be in the same boat, but we are on the same water making the same journey. My love goes out to you all.
I may not know your individual stories, but you are the writer of how you deal and respond to it.