Here we are at the letter P. I was going to write about Perimenopause but given how the world has turned, perhaps taking a break from straight up hormone talk and looking at the most pressing issues related to the current global health situation is more relevant. And will be more helpful to you right here, right now. Stay tuned though – we will return to our regularly scheduled ABCs of Healthy Hormones. (please know: perimenopause is still a very important topic and if you can’t wait to get your questions answered, you can always reach out directly to me for some support).
As I write this, it’s just shy of one month since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. So much has happened in just four short weeks, right? Unless you are living under a rock or off-the-grid in the farthest reaches of this earth, not one of us has escaped the impact of this virus. Sickness, evolving health guidelines, economic or employment uncertainty, food security, toilet paper wars, lock ups, lock downs, – who hasn’t seen a change in their lives?
We’re inundated daily through traditional and social media channels with ‘news’, and the attending opinions of everyone and anyone who has a theory or a solution or a bone to pick. We parse each tiny detail as we search for answers, direction, comfort. To mask or not to mask? Can we go to the park if we are dog walking? How about just going for a run? Is Vitamin C effective in stamping out the virus? Will there be enough PPEs or ventilators or hospital beds or loaves of bread to see us through?
We wonder and worry about ourselves and our loved ones, and are forced to think about subjects that we generally don’t want to – like, is our will up-to-date? Do we have our power of attorney in place? Have we discussed and documented our end of life preferences with those who matter? Is all our paperwork in order ‘just in case’?
We go through a roller coaster of emotions each day and our daily routines have been upended. Working at home at a makeshift desk on the kitchen table in yoga pants or not working at all. Figuring out how to teach our grade 12 kid about calculus and vectors or how to help our very social 86-year-old mom get her groceries and prescriptions delivered and stay connected without her weekly library visits from 3 provinces away.
And so, we feel upended too. Physically, mentally, emotionally.
And the worst of it is – we have no idea how long this is going to go on. A few weeks? A few months? Is this the new normal forever? And if so – how will be figure out how to adjust and be happy again?
It hurts. It sucks. It is unfair. It is untenable. But it is the way it is. At least for the present. So we must summon our human resilience and begin to march forward. Together.
Sure, but what can we do? How will this end?
I certainly do not have a magic wand or a crystal ball to change or predict the future. Oh how I wish! But nay.
Like you, I am searching for ways to find my path, to light my path and to walk whatever this new path might be. Some days are more successful than others.
I dunno what is going to unfold in May or August, in 2021 or 5 years from now. All I know is that I’m going to keep doing what I can to support my family, my friends, my BOOL community and the wider community as we continue to navigate this new frontier. Even if it’s not perfect, even if some days it’s raw. Even if all I can do is provide information to help you take the best control of your health that is possible through this blog, my newsletter and webinars (to be announced). Consult with you privately as needed. Tell you what I learn from reputable sources so you can assess and make the choices that are best for you. Be your cheerleader on some days and your dang butt-kicker on others. Hopefully along the way, it will reinforce the ever-present sentiment that ‘we will get through this together’. Because we will.
Someone said to me the other day that we are ‘pandemic pioneers’ – because we are all striding off into an unknown future, without benefit of knowing what adventure or ambush or ending lies ahead. Sometimes we are brave. Sometimes curious. Sometimes just gritting our teeth to get to the end of the next mile in our socially distanced covered wagon. In part this is true. In our lifetime, we’ve not seen or dealt with a situation quite like this with so many tentacles and such fast and grievous devastation in human, economic and social terms. But we can draw strength and support and smarts from other events and issues to help us build a roadmap. And that’s what we have to do.
I’ve been making a list of a few resources that I’ve found helpful and that contribute to boosting my resilience. I’m sharing some of them below as kind of a tool kit in case they are helpful to you too. And will continue to do so as I find more. And I’d welcome knowing about any others that you’ve come across or have found to be helpful in your own life. Good ideas can come from everywhere and we can all use every tool and maybe a sprinkling of pixie dust we can get right now to lift us and enlighten us, right?
You are not alone.
One last thing: this pandemic should not rob us of our human connection. Physical distancing does not mean social isolation. Yes we need to stay home right now. But check in on others – phone, text, ZOOM, skype, email a card. And if you are alone or retreating deep, deep, deep into your introvert’s cocoon, let people check in on you and offer their help. Remember what Barbra said: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world”.
Let’s all press our luck and recognize that despite the tough times we are in right now and those we may still have to walk through, if we have people, if we reach out and support people, we are stronger together.
By the way, there’s help available if you need professional support. Here’s a list of distress and crisis support lines across Canada.
They are ready to hear you out and to direct you to the best place for more help if need be.
Recommended Resources for your Resilience Tool Kit
What we are all experiencing right now is grief.
We are grieving for our old lives and until we sort through that, we won’t be able to thrive in our new. Whatever the new will be.
David Kessler is an expert on grief and he provides an insightful perspective in both this article from the Harvard Business Review and in conversation with my girl Brené Brown on her new podcast. The upshot is that finding meaning in life can help us cope with whatever is thrown at us.
Feel the need for a little movement after sitting at your kitchen table-slash-workspace all day long?
I know lots of great movement experts who have pivoted to provide some online help and inspiration. I’m going to start with my dear friend Sandra at Go Pilates because she’s awesome but also because she’s easy to work with 1:1 so if you’ve never tried pilates, or just want to get some individual attention, this is the place. Sandra also does some free online classes so reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn all about what she offers.
Interestingly, Sandra is also a death doula, an end of life caretaker who helps individuals and families navigate that import and sometimes difficult time leading up to and through death. She was recently featured in the Huff Post talking about how funerals and rituals have changed in the wake of the pandemic. It’s a compelling read.
Are you doing more cooking since you are social distancing and all your favourite eating spots are temporarily closed down? Are you relying more on stuff that’s in your pantry so you can limit your grocery store trips? Let me help you with some ideas!
Here’s a FREE recipe collection focusing on using ingredients that are likely sitting in your pantry or freezer.
Breathe, just breathe.
As you know if you’ve been following me for any length of time, I believe that meditation can profoundly change your mental and physical health. It did for me and I was once a ‘fidgety skeptic’ just like Dan Harris says he is. I highly, highly recommend checking out 10% Happier – the book, the podcast, the app. Even if you believe that you could never meditate – you can. Dan’s a testament to that, as am I. When life is uncertain, finding a way to control your ‘monkey mind’ can reduce your stress and build your resilience.
With love, hope and gratitude –