Well-Being During COVID-19: Back To School Edition

By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA

You’ve been doing #AllTheThings to take care of your family and MAYBE even yourself - if there was any time or energy left.


Have you checked in with yourself lately? How are you? No, REALLY, how are YOU?


Deep breath in. Slowly, deep breath out...


Many of us have felt overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious, disoriented and like we’ve had the rug pulled from under our feet since the arrival of COVID-19, the novel disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) (1).


The world as we knew it ceased to exist when the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic back in March (2). Consequently, our government declared a state of emergency, which granted them extraordinary powers that have included closing down schools, businesses, and public spaces, like libraries and recreation centres (3). Some of us were sent home to work, while others were released from our jobs and had to apply for employment insurance. The rest were considered essential workers and had to brave the uncertainty of this ever evolving virus. No matter which way you sliced it, we were all being challenged in one capacity or another. All while having to educate our children, maintain our homes, check in with loved ones, sustain our health, stay current with the news, manage our finances (some with a fraction of their normal paychecks), and make sense of this new normal; to name a few things on our plates. 


COVID-19 has highlighted the economic and health disparities that plague our society. In fact, similar to what we've seen happening in the United States, “COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black and immigrant communities in Canada” (4). Access to healthcare, food, employment, education, housing etc. all play a role.  For instance, as a result of the discrimination that Black people experience in the job and housing markets, Dr. Onyenyechukwu Nnorom, a public health physician explains, “they end up taking on service industry jobs or...end up unemployed. But all of those contribute to living in situations where [they] can’t socially or physically distance” (5).  


Moreover, the government recently announced that schools in Ontario will be open full-time come September (6).  They also shared that school boards will provide distance learning options for those families who choose not to have their children attend elementary or secondary school in-person for the 2020-2021 school year (7). While this may be possible for families who have access to various resources that will allow them to educate their children safely in their homes, for many, opting-out of in-person schooling is simply not a viable option.


Mamas, Papas, and Caregivers, we have some TOUGH decisions to make. Here are some things to keep in mind as we maneuver these tumultuous times.


As a Mama, I know how demanding this period has been. Give yourself the grace and space to navigate accordingly.


  • You are doing the best you can with what you have; whatever option you choose is the BEST choice for you and your family. Find peace with your decision.


  • Engage in solo or communal activities with your family that bring you joy, revitalize, and strengthen your spirit. It doesn't have to be expensive or “fancy”, it can be as simple as spending time in nature or playing a family board game.


  • Consume whole foods that nourish your body, boost your immunity, and increase your brain health.


  • Ask for help when you need it, I know this may be hard (for some), but now, more than ever, (virtual) community is important; you are not alone.


Finally, I’ve shared some links below. Please visit them as they contain various resources from mental health, financial, to housing support and more.


Take deep and unapologetic care of yourselves and your families. Sending you all the utmost love, support, health, and empowerment. 

Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA

Certified Transformational Coach | Certified Essential Oil Specialist |

Certified ARōMATOUCH Practitioner | 200 YTT , Wholesome Mind Health Coaching


Resources


References

  1. Is ethnicity linked to incidence or outcomes of covid-19? https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1548
  2. Archived: WHO Timeline - COVID-19. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-04-2020-who-timeline---covid-19
  3. COVID-19: What you need to know about states of emergency. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-state-of-emergency-1.5500054
  4. Black neighbourhoods in Toronto are hit hardest by COVID-19 — and it’s ‘anchored in racism’: experts. https://globalnews.ca/news/7015522/black-neighbourhoods-toronto-coronavirus-racism/
  5. Black neighbourhoods in Toronto are hit hardest by COVID-19 — and it’s ‘anchored in racism’: experts. https://globalnews.ca/news/7015522/black-neighbourhoods-toronto-coronavirus-racism/
  6. Elementary students will be in class full-time come September, Ontario says. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-coronavirus-ontario-july-30-back-to-school-1.5668495
  7. COVID-19: reopening schools. https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-reopening-schools#section-2