I’m not going to talk about careers right now. I’m going to talk about human emotions because it’s been such an emotional 2 weeks being in isolation witnessing the effects that Covid-19 has had in the entire population.
The impact has been tremendous – people are stressed out, anxious, sometimes irrational and selfish, but it’s fascinating to see how every time I check my LinkedIn there’s so much support around, encouragement, and empowerment from all members of the community.
This situation has brought out the best of many, solidarity is spreading around the world faster than the virus itself, and that’s beautiful.
Before going into isolation I had been seeing the coronavirus as if it was a regular cold or flu that could be treated with chicken noodle soup and rest.
Two weeks ago the number of confirmed cases in Ontario were not scandalous compared to other places in the world, so the full scope of the virus and its impact on the population had not hit me by then.
On Friday, March 6th, I went to the supermarket at 12 noon; in normal circumstances, going for groceries on a Friday afternoon is like walking through a ghost town. When I walked in, I did see more people than usual but since I was grabbing less than 5 items, I didn’t pay much attention to that.
I collected my items and I noticed that the line up to pay went around the whole supermarket and a lady told me she had been waiting in line for 2 hours to cash out her groceries.
I looked at people’s faces; everyone’s expression showed concern, stress, and anxiety.
That visual impacted me on a deep emotional level even more than the thought of getting the virus myself.
The staff at the supermarket seemed overwhelmed trying to do their very best to remain calm. Kudos to them. They are doing an incredible job and not getting the credit they deserve.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep .. the sound of the cashiers across the supermarket scanning the items never ceased while I was there.
I took a deeper look at the different aisles and many of the shelves were empty. The toilet paper situation was actually true and that was a shocker! Folks in Canada use common sense so there was no one fighting for items – it was just the sad look on people’s faces.
I realized that it’s not only the COVID 19 that is killing us.
What is killing inside is knowing that the virus has knocked on our doors, and that is striking our mental health like a bolt of lightning.
I can only imagine what the most vulnerable populations are going through.
You are more than welcome to challenge me if you disagree, but I’m just speaking from what I perceived at that moment and during the 2 weeks that followed.
I’m thinking of the extroverts who recharge their energy through social interactions.
I’m thinking about the ones stuck with an abusive partner. That breaks my heart!
I’m thinking about parents worried about providing for their kids.
I’m thinking about social workers, health care providers who cannot work remotely.
I’m thinking about the homeless wandering off the streets.
I’m thinking about the elderly and their feelings.
I’m thinking about part-timers and contract staff with no benefits.
I’m thinking about folks in countries where the government will not provide any support.
I’m thinking about newcomers and international students who are away from their loved ones and don’t know how to navigate the system.
I’m thinking about our mental health!
This impacts everyone but it is definitely more difficult for some.
For self-care, I’m cooking every day and staying in touch with my closed ones through online meetings to express my emotions and check on theirs.
Lots of highs and lows but those two things are good for my mental health.
Even if we are in isolation, that doesn’t mean that we have to go through this by ourselves. Technology allows us to stay connected and share our emotions with the world.
Now more than ever we need support and reach out to others if need be.
I’m here if you need to talk!
What are you currently doing to keep your mental health on point during this time of uncertainty?
Written by David Mendoza for Orbit 5
EMPOWERMENT IN MOTION