With all the uncertainty that’s going on, I have been reading a lot about how we are all in the same boat, which in my opinion is not the case at all. We are in the same storm but not the same boat. My boat can be floating and someone else’s can be shipwrecked.
Let’s take a closer look at what it is like being quarantined. For some, this time can be optimal but for others it has created financial and emotional stress. Let’s not forget that there are two sides to every coin, so we should all be mindful of both sides, which I want to highlight below.
I have been seeing a lot of posts on social media about how this time has created a moment of reflection, increased family bonding, and flexibility in how people are working (and even what they wear!). Unfortunately, for others it might not look the same. They may have lost their jobs, meaning there is no source of income for their families. In addition, the stressor of applying for unemployment and not knowing when and if you will be approved and, if approved ,when the checks will be arriving, can add an additional stressor during this already unprecedented time.
Unemployment payments have increased. While that is a blessing for some, others may not even meet the requirements to claim unemployment. On the other hand, those that are still employed may have suffered from salary cuts making it difficult to make ends meet. Some families of four received the stimulus check of $3400 while other families of four didn’t receive a stimulus check at all.
It is also important to remember that for some who are living alone this is a time of extreme isolation, while for others this is a time of peace, reflection, time spent with their children, or mothers or fathers.
Some families are spending 3-4 hours of time with their children doing their school work while other families have to build in homeschooling around their existing work schedule. There are other families who don’t even have the capabilities or equipment to work from home or home-school their children. For those individuals where English is not their first language, an additional barrier is created since they are unable to be the teachers for their children.
Some have lost their loved ones as a result of this virus. Most in this situation have not been able to hold their hands, tell them one last time how much they loved them, or even get a chance to say goodbye. There are some who can afford to get tested, while others may not have transportation to even get to a testing site.
Some are experiencing such high levels of stress and anxiety and don’t have the access to support, which can lead to substance use. Reports have shown that alcohol sales have gone up 55% in the last month.
Some are getting engaged and married and others are living in isolation and loneliness. Some are trying out new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen while others are sitting in long food lines getting staples for their family. Some have their faith while others are struggling with seeing the end in sight. For some the unknown is a stressor in itself and not having the ability to see past this social distancing is difficult.
As you can see by these examples, we are not all in the same boat. I do believe we will get out of the storm at some point, by listening to trusted leaders, science, and practicing guidelines set out by public health officials. However, it will take a toll on many people’s mental health as this has resulted in anxiety, additional stressors, and a collective global trauma.
There are little steps that we can take each day that can help us during these times. For example, having gratitude, having compassion for each other, and seeking understanding during this storm, which can look different for everyone. We are all in the same storm but each of our journey’s through the storm will look different.
Pray for each other, be kind and remember compassion can go a long way.
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