In the last two weeks of January, the editorial team moved to a basement room with an old futon, a tiny artificial Christmas tree, and a visiting cat that only wanted my attention during an interview.
Due to multiple cases of COVID-19 confirmed at my son’s school, my family spent these weeks working and studying from home. For me it meant creating an office downstairs.
My employees worked from home for a few months in 2020 due to the pandemic. Finally it was my turn. I found the days were fine, the lunches were all homemade, and the drive home was non-existent.
Working in self-isolation made me appreciate phone interviews even more – despite the strange and somewhat embarrassing meowing in the background. But the importance of social interaction was also highlighted, being able to share conversations, ideas and laughter personally with colleagues. Sure, communication was possible through Zoom or Slack or any other internet-based app, but you know as well as I do that it’s just not the same.
We now have so many ways to connect with each other through various social media platforms and other technological offerings. It seems like it should be next to impossible to feel lonely – to be deprived of the ability to maintain social interaction. But I would argue that people have become more lonely and disjointed, especially during this time of lockdowns and restrictions designed to protect our physical health.
Continue reading: BC expands COVID-19 collection restrictions as infections slow down
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Mental health, however, was a different matter.
The pandemic and its related restrictions continue to worry and fear people around the world. And while much of it has to do with human health concerns, the spin-offs have included job losses and / or downsizing, school closings, and an increase in separations and divorces. There has also been an increase in opioid-related deaths in parts of the country.
Now that we are allegedly in the second wave of the pandemic, the Canadian Mental Health Association and UBC have found that “the feeling of stress and anxiety that causes alarming despair, thoughts of suicide and hopelessness” has increased among Canadians.
None of this is healthy for us individually or together. In order to get out of this dire state of physical separation, our individual and collective actions remain important.
We have learned that BC congregation restrictions will remain in place through February. And with the slowdown in vaccine distribution, all of these simple, daily precautions – hand sanitizing, distancing and masking – must continue. And hopefully by the end of summer we will be at the point where we can safely reconnect personally with family and friends whose companies we have had to do without for far too long.
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