It’s been a while…a long while since I’ve typed anything here. To say I’ve been in a funk is like saying the pandemic has been a hiccup when we all know it’s shifted every aspect of our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined. This has been a journey where I’ve used every coping tool I know and learned others simply to deal with the unknown that seems to happen daily. Some days I did really well and others I used food or other things like Netflix to numb out. It’s now over a year and I seem to have embraced healthier options for stress coping rather than quick fixes. I suppose it’s the realization that this isn’t changing anytime soon that spurred me on.
I live in Ontario where we have been in “lockdown” or restrictive measures constantly. Last summer I cannot tell you how glad I was for the warmer weather to allow us outdoors because of the restrictions on gatherings. As of today we are back in a provincial lockdown where the kids are homeschooling, stores are curbside pick up and no gathering with anyone outside your household. Having two teenagers this could have gone sideways fast but thankfully my girls have accepted the situation and we’ve implemented healthy habits to deal with the stress. We have had distanced visits with friends, gotten a puppy and managed to have many laughs.
I keep saying “healthy” in reference to coping and actions so I should really list them to give some ideas to others who are finding this as challenging as we are. Firstly last spring we realized our 14 year old was experiencing her first mental health challenges so we had open talks about feelings and encouraged her to share them. The first thing we worked on was having a schedule for all of us. We made sure we talked about sleep health, nutritious eating and getting in some kind of exercise during the day. Next, we lowered expectations as far as school performance and tried to balance her courses. Attending school online is tough so we did our best to spread out subjects that were challenging for her and moved some to complete during summer school. My girl also decided to begin a daily gratitude journal and yoga. We found free sites for inspiration and she’s found it helpful.
Personally, I found I was not doing well having spare time in the evenings during the colder months. I had been floundering with little to do other than housework so I began looking at what I could do. In the end, I decided to pursue a dream of obtaining a University degree and found the Indigenous Social Work program that intrigued me. It had been over 20 years since I’d been in organized school so when I began in September I was prepared to face a major challenge and I wasn’t wrong. I have a brain injury and had been out of school so long that I had to learn how to learn again. It’s been a ride…one that is liberating and thrilling and now that I’m at the tail end of the first year I can tell you it’s been a sanity saver.
This year has held birthdays, two small weddings, holidays, family time and my hair growing from a mohawk to a bob. It’s been a topsy, turvy ride but as of today we are all here doing our best to look forward and stay connected with the outside world as much as we can