As the world faced many challenges due to COVID-19, how did you feel? I’ll be honest! I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. Initially, there was sadness, overwhelm, and shock. I’m sure you felt it too.
However, as a mom of two young boys, I tried not to let those emotions show. I wanted to remain calm and be the voice of reason and strength for my children because their lives were also turned upside down – no school, no visits with family and friends, no activities. My husband and I sat our kids down and explained what was going on, the why and the how, and what we could do to help “flatten the curve.”
Very quickly, our household changed overnight. We were homeschooling, juggling work, and everything else in between. It was a new and unexpected reality, and it quickly became evident that it was going to be a major adjustment for our family. I stopped to realize – I’ve never faced a challenge of this magnitude in my lifetime. And wondered like everyone else, how would this journey evolve? When you’re faced with the unknown, how do you cope? Pivoting has become the new normal, a word I rarely used before COVID-19.
As a naturopathic doctor and educator, I have spent years teaching stress-coping strategies to my patients, which include nutrition, daily activity, dietary supplements, deep breathing, and my favourite, a good night’s sleep! However, as I reflected on the most significant life event, we have ever faced as a family, a community, and a world, I realized I was going to need more tools in my approach to get us all through. I did what felt instinctual – I naturally connected with the women in my inner circle, and it was there that I found unconditional support and the many helping hands needed to help us all adjust. These women have been my lifeline. Through their humour and honesty, they have helped make each day manageable. Sending random funny messages and gifs, homeschooling help (there’s been lots of this!), exchanging recipes, and meaningful chats are only a few positive tools of support that we have shown one another. In these trying times, we dropped all facades and upheld one another during a very unpredictable time. These women have been much-needed breaths of fresh air during a very stifling phase. It was this type of uplifting energy that was needed for many of us to stay motivated and at peace.
It’s not surprising that social support helps individuals manage difficult life situations. Support from family, friends, and community during stressful situations has been shown to improve our mental health and self-esteem, enhance our coping strategies, and reduce the effects of emotional distress. How do you feel when you are supported in your life? While it was important that we stayed home during this time, physical distancing measures challenged our accessibility to support others. However, although we were apart, we were not alone. No one could ever take away the social connection we all need to survive in our lives.
Support from family, friends, and community during stressful situation has been shown to improve our mental health and self-esteem.
This has been an experience of a lifetime. One that I will never forget. One that has taught me some very significant life lessons. Without a doubt, as human beings we need to care for one another. Women need to comfort and encourage other women. When we inspire and bolster each other, we become united. Think about who supported you during this time and join me in giving thanks to the individuals that strengthen and help us grow each day. When COVID-19 is over, let’s continue to travel the path of positivity for a healthy and promising future.