To merely say that Covid-19 has added a fresh layer of stress over whatever else we all deal with daily is probably an enormous understatement.
The last couple of years have been hard on all of us. We have all been trying to manage our work, our families, and our lives in a constant state of worry. This goes for everyone – those lucky to have not gotten sick, for those who have battled the illness or frankly for ANYONE who has known ANYONE afflicted by this virus. The effects of this crisis run deep. Deeper than we may even yet realize.
With the lifting of many mandates and rules across the country, many of us have simply decided that we have had enough of worrying. However, is it enough to decide? Does it matter? The infection rates are still high – I have three of my family sick with it right now. The worry is still warranted.
The term ‘selfcare’ has been thrown around a lot but still seems to be connected mostly to spa days and mediation. A nice bath, while relaxing, is probably not going to help you very much as you plunge into the next day of worry, compounded by the previous day of worry.
The theme of this year’s Canadian Mental Health Week is Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and sadly according to a recent study our empathy for others is at an all time low. As they say, crisis can breed contempt. Out of necessity, we go inward and we tend to focus on our own. The survey conducted by the CMHA found that only 13 per cent of Canadians were feeling empathetic. This is a drop of 10% since the beginning of the pandemic.
This is not hard to understand. It is hard to feel for others when we ourselves are struggling. But empathy does indeed start with us. It must. If we can truly understand and respect what is happening within ourselves, we can indeed see that same struggle within others.
The first thing to remember is, you do not have to do this alone. Due to the pandemic, many of us have felt isolated and cut off from our friends and family, even our neighbours and co-workers. Reach out. Reach out. Reach out.
If you are fortunate enough that your employee benefit plan may have mental health resources available… use them. The CMHA website is filled with valuable resources too, like this Mental Health Meter.
Other resources include:
- Finding your local CMHA here
- Free mental health support at Wellness Together Canada
- For younger people and children contact Foundry
- And if any thoughts of suicide? Call 1-833-456-4566 (in QC: 1-866-277-3553) or visit crisisservicescanada.ca.
We are not alone and there is nothing shameful about the challenge of mental health issues. Now, more than ever, be empathetic with yourself – when you take care of yourself first, that care will reflect upon those around you who perhaps are also struggling.