I ❤️ Revy
This article is part of an ongoing initiative to build community resilience in Revelstoke by raising awareness of shared experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic. You will find first hand stories as well as results from the Community Well-being survey.
If there is one thing we can say with confidence, it’s that the pandemic has certainly shaken us out of the ordinary. For some, workloads increased as businesses had to transition to online platforms and modify their services and offerings, whereas others saw a stark decrease in sales and clients, questioning whether or not their business would survive. Still others found themselves thriving with sales through the roof, while some found themselves mostly or completely out of work.
Parents and families found themselves juggling home-schooling while trying to work, or needing space from too much time together in close quarters, while others found themselves lonely and isolated.
Regardless, everyone has been impacted mentally/emotionally on some level. Single parents were hit especially hard, having to do all of the above on their own. In fact, recent Community Well-Being Survey results found that single parents were one of the groups most impacted by the pandemic.
Such has been the experience for single mother and local business owner, Sophie, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy. Nearing bankruptcy due to the toll the pandemic restrictions are having on her business, Sophie said her business struggles feel like a personal failure.
“I had no idea how to balance my anxiety with home school, trying to support my child’s well-being and figuring out the mess of a teetering economy,” she said. “I’m exhausted all the time, my body is so tight from holding on that tension headaches and body aches are more of a norm. I have little energy for being creative and for the first time in my life I’ve walked into the sea of hopelessness.”
Sophie is not alone. Half of single parents living alone said their housing was unaffordable and 23 per cent reported that their bills were mounting during the pandemic.
It wasn’t just single parents either, the amount of respondents who reported they were thriving financially before the pandemic dropped eight per cent during the pandemic. Those who reported they were stable, with enough to meet their needs, dropped from 67 per cent to 57 per cent. People who reported having mounting bills increased from six per cent to 17 per cent and those in financial crisis increased from one per cent to four per cent.
Of course, the financial impact of the pandemic is only further compounded by the anxiety and isolation brought on by the uncertainty of finances, housing and health.
For Sophie, coming to terms with the pandemic means being honest about our experiences. “I don’t think we should normalize fear, nor loneliness,” she said.
This is because of the universality of the pandemic. According to local counsellor and therapist, Julia Steele, MA, MTC, COVID is a collective experience, no matter how it has impacted you personally – whether driving you to the brink of bankruptcy, or thriving financially selling PPE or outdoor equipment. “Everyone suffers, either acutely (directly) or anxiously (guilty/indirectly),” she explained in an email.
There are ways to support each other through this experience – kindness and compassion with each other, and seeking out mental health supports. For Sophie, she practices yoga, meditation and other personal well-being practices, as well as doing things for others, as part of her wellness routine. “It keeps my mind clear and stops me from obsessing about myself.” While not everything will work for everyone, inviting some personal wellness practices can be beneficial to managing stress through this ongoing pandemic.
I ❤️ Revy is a collaborative well-being initiative by the City of Revelstoke’s Recovery Task force. This is the third in a series of articles. Together, the I ❤️ Revy team hopes to build community resilience by sharing information, tips, tools, and stories. Contributors are: Taha Attiah, Lisa Cyr, Jocelyn Doll, Benjamin Dorsey, Simon Hunt, Myles Williamson, and Sarah Windsor.
To join the conversation go to talkrevelstoke.ca/i-heart-revy