Why We All Matter in the Time of COVID-19 & Beyond
The lockdowns, deaths, and economic devastation of COVID-19 can be overwhelming. In the midst of a massive global crisis bringing the world to its knees, it can be difficult to know just what to do next. So many of us feel insignificant. This is especially the case for those struggling with mental and physical disabilities. Yet it is in that same struggle that you and I find purpose. You matter because everyone matters, and in a time when people are asked to keep apart, we can only get through this together.
Self-compassion is always important, especially for those battling anxiety and depression. It is now more critical than ever. Mental Health Research Canada reported that the number of Canadians with high levels of anxiety quadrupled from 5% to 20% due to the pandemic. Self-reported cases of depression increased from 4% to 10%. You are far from alone. Think of the words you need to hear right now to reassure yourself about your importance. Try placing a hand on your chest in a quiet, comforting place, and taking slow breaths. Practice mindfulness by making yourself very aware of the present moment, and meditate to calm your mind. Your negative thoughts are normal. By addressing them honestly and with self-compassion, you can in turn help others in need.
Even in the age of social distancing, you have a profound impact on the people around you. Physical and mental conditions do not change that. More and more people are eschewing materialism and excursions that do not always allow those with physical disabilities to partake, in favour of phone calls with friends and visits with family standing two meters apart. In this difficult time, these connections have proved to be invaluable no matter what mental or physical conditions you are facing. Make a call or send a text to the people in your life, who will be happy you checked in. Talk about what you are both experiencing; instead of making COVID-19 the central topic like every news headline, focus on emotions and personal challenges. These are small steps we can all make to help the world during this time.
Globally, about 15% of all people live with a disability. Many of them have underlying medical conditions increasing their vulnerability to COVID-19. Lack of helpful government policies frequently makes it hard for these people to access the assistance they need. Realizing your importance and reaching out to others during this time helps us act to push for greater inclusion in government response plans. In many condominiums and neighbourhoods, people are volunteering to keep others company and help those in need access medical services. None of this happens with the actions of just one person. Whether you offer emotional support, assist those with disabilities, or receive aid with your physical or mental condition, you are playing a role in the push for greater inclusion and stronger government programs that help us all.
So many of us struggle with our sense of self-worth. Mental and physical disabilities can make it even harder to feel like you matter. But the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the value of our individual words and actions. From families to those living alone, we all need one another to get through this. Either all of us matter, or none of us do. You must make a conscious effort to choose the former. Recognize your self-worth, reach out to your friends and family, and play your part in building a better world.
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Kinder, Michelle. “You Matter: Self-Compassion During COVID-19.” Thrive Global. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/you-matter-self-compassion-during-covid-19/
Root, Rebecca. “How to ensure a disability-inclusive response to COVID-19.” Devex. https://www.devex.com/news/how-to-ensure-a-disability-inclusive-response-to-covid-19-97134
Slaughter, Graham. “Anxiety and depression have spiked among Canadians: survey.” CTV News. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/anxiety-and-depression-have-spiked-among-canadians-survey-1.4919741