• Monday , 26 September 2022

In this together: physical distancing is compassion in action

KYM MARTIN

PEACHLAND WELLNESS CENTRE

Over the last few weeks, Peachlanders have proven over and over again that we are family.

Every single member of this family is facing our own coronavirus challenges. Our worry for our loved ones is compounded by distance and by health systems that might not be able to help them. Things are changing rapidly, and the news is rarely good. It is hard to find balance in the emotional turbulence of our times. For some of us, our loved ones are not close by and in these times of isolation and quarantine are left feeling fearful and completely alone.

We are witnessing many acts of courage, compassion and community that provide inspiration and underline the power of people. We can see all around us, a profound desire to not only survive but to thrive. Let us continue to support each other through this extraordinary time. Let’s ensure that at the end of this, the stories we tell are of compassion for the most vulnerable, of coming together, of countering the fear and blame.

What can each of us do? This is where compassion comes in. Compassion boosts the immune system, it reduces anxiety, and it’s the easiest way to keep our hearts open to others. The struggle to contain the coronavirus is our number one priority as people and as a community. Life and death decisions are not only being made by doctors and nurses but by each and every one of us as we practice physical distancing. In the case of COVID-19, taking steps to not contract the virus IS taking care of others. Physical distancing is compassion in action!

While it is crucial to self-isolate, we must not lose our sense of community and interconnectedness. Peachlanders are demonstrating every day that it is possible to maintain a safe physical distance and still stay connected by showing compassion and comforting others, through checking in on each other, to drive-by birthday parties, to volunteering we are a caring and compassionate bunch. Early on in the crisis, the Peachland Wellness Centre made the decision to stop its social programming and to focus on maintaining key services. Continuing to offer Transportation Services (shopping, deliveries and safe transport to required appointments), Friendly Visitors (via telephone calls) and Community Income tax (safe drop off and pick up) allowed us to continue to support the most vulnerable members of our community.

In anticipation of the increase in demand, we put a call-out asking for Peachlanders who were willing and able, to become a volunteer to help. Oh, my goodness, Peachland, how you stepped up! Thank you so much to everyone who has stepped forward and offered to help. Note that this is also for those returning snowbirds who must self-quarantine for 14 days. Don’t go out; call us and we will pick up your merchandise for you. We need to support each other, now more than ever. Let the people around you know that you care about them. Make special effort with the elderly and vulnerable by dropping off a meal with an encouraging card to raise their spirits and their hope they can make it through.

If you are fortunate to still have income, please be as generous as you can to those in need (our food bank comes to mind). Unprecedented times require unprecedented compassion. Compassion for others can boost your own mental health and well-being, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression that you may be feeling yourself right now. When this pandemic passes our collective character will be defined by the choices we made to protect the most vulnerable. It will be strengthened by the lessons that we learn. Each and every one of us holds a piece of the better world we need, where compassion and cooperation are key.

Hope, flowing from compassion, is the active conviction that despair will not have the last word. Hope itself is not a strategy, but hope is necessary for every strategy – including our fight against COVID-19. We have hope because we have each other, and we will go through this together. We are in this together, and we will get through this together.

 

 

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