I know I’m not alone, in expressing my gratitude for all our front-line essential services staff and support workers that are currently dedicating their lives to our care, often at the cost of extreme self-sacrifice. The toll it can take on their overall wellness is undeniable. In my opinion, it’s when clear and tangible ways of expressing our gratitude for their service are demonstrated, that we can emerge TOGETHER with greater resilience.
Continuing to do our part in following Health Canada’s current guidelines for hygiene and social distancing, https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/social-distancing.html , is one way we as individuals can clearly demonstrateour gratitude. In my mind,ensuring that our healthcare team is well equipped:
- to recognize their own need for self-care both physically and mentally,
- to recognize what that care might look like, and
- to have resources readily available for them to access supplemental care whenever necessary, is also key.
Taking a break or initiating a self-care strategy to help prevent a mental health crisis, can look very different for everyone and can evenvary for an individual over time. In general,something that helps to increase resiliency, or your ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune, change or stress can be the most helpful. For some,self-care can includesomething as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, or talking with a friend. Occasionally,an effective breakmay even require all three, depending upon yourcircumstance. For myself, I recognize that it often requiresa fair bit of effort toconsciously shift from certain tasks and thought processes to what feels like a truemental break. However,the benefits are worth it!
As a first-year beekeeper, beekeeping continues to be a reprieve amidst the feelings of isolation and uncertainty that the pandemic brings and what I consider to be one of my mental resets. It’s been a way for our family to connect with each other and with nature and to see the value in life’s small but mighty miracles as we learn and grow together. It’s also been a gift to be able to share our bounty of liquid gold with friends, family and ANYONE who’s curious. It’s a real toss-up as to whether the honey itself or the joy of sharing it with others is what brings the most gratitude and continues to stoke my mental health.
A couple of weeks ago we approached our hives for the first time since fall, after having had them insulated and undisturbed all winter, and we did so with a mix of excitement and apprehension. Believing that we’d done all we could to follow proper procedure, we were at some point left to trust the process. From there, it became essential to rely heavily on patience, faith and hopein order to trust that we would be returning after an unpredictable prairie winter to a thriving hive, never a guarantee.
Even before the hives are unwrapped, it becomes apparent that our efforts and the process has prevailed. Our colonies are highly active as they swarm around a small opening thatremains for necessary air flow. Clearly, no social distancing memos have been received here! It seems we’ve done enough to give our bees a solidchance of carrying on into the emerging spring. A clear sign of hope and some much-needed light on the path of the future to come.
Are there new challenges or experiences that have offered you reprieve in this time of crisis and waiting? What are some of your most trusted self-care or mental break strategies?We’d love to hear from you! Also,stay tuned for our upcoming presentation on the importance of including exercise as one of your self-care strategiesin managing your mental health.
~ Elizabeth Stefanyshyn-Alonso, Physiotherapist
1) Government of Canada – Physical Distancing - How to slow the spread of COVID-19 https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/social-distancing.html
2) Mental Health Commission of Canada – The Working Mind https://theworkingmind.ca/home
3 ) Merriam-Webster Dictionary - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resilient
4) Government of Saskatchewan Mental Health Support Resources - https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/mental-health-and-covid-19