There have been several experiences in my personal and professional life that have taught me how resilient and strong people really are. I've worked in Wilderness Therapy with at risk youth, spending 8 days at a time in the back country facing wild weather and wild animals with teens struggling with significant issues. I've had personal and family traumas that have showed me just how much we can overcome. And I've volunteered as a Disaster Mental Health responder with the American Red Cross after natural disasters. I've stood next to people in the tornado ravaged rumble of their home as they tried to pick up the pieces, I’ve talked to a mother who held her small child in her bathtub as the roof was torn off her home, and I’ve sat in hospitals with families grieving loved ones lost. I’ve seen how individuals cope in crisis and after a disaster and I’m seeing connections in how people are responding to COVID-19. People are reacting normally to abnormal events. In this case we are trying to cope with a continuously unfolding disaster that we can’t predict what the toll will ultimately be.
So many of us are feeling the weight of this global pandemic that has now reached our little corner of the US. It’s one thing to watch an event unfold across the globe and it’s another to have it land in your own community. Both can be stressful and scary in different ways and many of us have been watching this unfold for weeks and are experiencing fatigue already. Just as it’s important to take care of your physical health during this time, your mental health and wellness are equally important. And, much like the world we live in, we humans are a mass of connected systems all interconnected and affecting each other. Our stress and mental health impacts our immune system and physical body and vice versa our physical body is hugely connected to mental health.
There's much we can do for ourselves and others to mitigate the long term negative affects of situations such as our current global crisis.