Personal Reflections in a COVID World

We have reached a one year anniversary of a COVID world. We made it.

How has it been a year and it’s still happening? I don’t know about you, but I look forward to hugging my family and friends, sharing food, and having adventures outside of my city limits! Those are things that help me get through long days and buffer me against the monotony and challenges of life. This last year has been an interesting one, one I didn’t see coming.

I have learned about myself and grown closer to my ‘inner circle people’ and further from acquaintances. I have realized how draining it is not to have fun and how I have sensations to ‘rebel’ against being responsible, when all it feels like I do is work, clean, cook and walk the dogs. I have learned I am not as good at backgammon as my husband and the allure of Grey’s Anatomy. I have learned I need diversity in my books. I have learned to be even more grateful for my beloved husband and our outdoor lifestyle. Walking our dogs by ourselves or with a friend or two has kept me going!

Even pre-COVID, I would sometimes daydream about time off work and what I would do if I didn’t have all these obligations, without them I could take up xyz hobbies, get through that stack of books and do two hours of fitness a day. And then COVID. With the weight, confusion and uncertainty of COVID, it’s hard to keep up that motivation and energy each and every day.

I listen to the CBC radio to and from work. I really appreciate the transparency of the house doctor, Dr. Raj. He said – so honestly – that he would love it if he could say he was one of the people who read 20 books in 2020 due to COVID, but he instead binge watched a lot of Schitt’s Creek.

UBC Study Shows That Canadians Mental Health has Declined in the Last Year

What has the impact of this last year been on the life of you, your family and friends? How have you come to mitigate risk with every decision you make? What concessions have you made and what have you prioritized? Most importantly, how are you doing?

That brings me to the mental health impacts of what it has been like to live one year in a COVID world. A national survey completed by UBC in early December found Canadian’s mental health has been impacted by the pandemic significantly. You likely didn’t need a survey to know how your mental health has been impacted. I’m sure you yourself have felt the reality of not having access to various people and activities you previously enjoyed.

The results of this report are notable. 40% of Canadians note their mental health has declined in the last year. 1 in 10 people have experienced suicidal ideation since COVID hit.

I Choose How to Interact With This Experience

As the Clinical Director for Healing Spaces, a private practice counselling agency, I have seen the human impact of COVID. I have been grateful for the role my team and I can offer our community and grateful people are reaching out for support. This is one of those times when humanity can and has come together to support each other. We can choose to interact with the impact of COVID in many different ways.

COVID is outside of my hands. Our public health orders are outside of my hands. Your choices are outside of my hands. Only I am within my own locus of control. How am I going to choose to interact with this experience?

Our Community is Our Responsibility

I will close this by a quote from my husband’s grandmother that has humbled me and grounded me. She sees a perspective of coming together, despite the difficulties that have pulled us all apart. She has taken COVID seriously and has been following our provincial health orders. She has struggled seeing the anti-masker protests and yet her wisdom of how she chooses to engage with this difficulty is to be admired. She shared with us that she is willing to care for those who choose not to wear masks. ‘All of our community is our responsibility and so I will wear a mask and I will follow orders to keep those who choose not to safe’.

Source: University of British Columbia