Dear 2020,

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You’re no good! You have been one of the most challenging years of our lives. You’ve thrown a full-fledged pandemic our way and forced us to reevaluate and reframe every single thing about the way we live. At the start of the year, we have seen wild bushfires ravage the Australian landscape and have seen people come together for black human rights and to protest police brutality. The stock market crashed, and March 9th is the day we saw it hit a record low. We have seen history made in the United States with the first woman ever to become vice president elect.

There have been so many monumental changes this year that it feels like we have lived through a hundred! We have definitely experienced enough uncertainty, heartache and stress, to last a lifetime. But not all hope is lost! The silver lining in these times is that, because we have all had to become resilient and adapt to the adversity that we now face and have faced, we’ve come out stronger, unified, and have learned a few new things about ourselves along the way.

HEALTH

We all know the importance of taking care of ourselves and not taking our health for granted- this year drove the point home. You’ve taught us the importance of washing our hands and staying home when we do not feel well. Wearing a mask will most certainly become a necessity (post-pandemic) for when we are not feeling our best but must venture into the world and interact with others. You’ve taught us that we must care for our most vulnerable and to ensure their health and security.

Mental health is health.

The mental health implications have been especially significant this year. Forced to remain indoors, isolated from family and friends, has taken a massive toll. Substance abuse is also on the rise in Canada during COVID-19. A recent poll found that 25% of Canadians aged 35-54 and 21% of those aged 18-34 have increased their alcohol consumption since social distancing and self-isolation due to COVID-19 began. Another study found that Canadians who described their mental health as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ were more likely than those with better mental health to have increased their use of alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco during the early stages of the pandemic. (Source)

And, with many families having to choose between paying rent (or risk eviction) and putting food on the table, their sense of security and normalcy has been put in jeopardy, which leads to a crescendo effect where a whole family is ultimately affected. Without our health, whether it be physical or mental, we truly cannot live a meaningful, healthy, happy, and productive life. In times like these, any type of support system is vital. We have included some organizations below if you are experiencing a crisis, need someone to talk to, or require legal advice:

And remember: there’s no shame in asking for help.

technology

Technology has been a rapidly growing tool we use to work, play, and connect. This year especially, we’ve reached a monumental peak of how much time we are spending online. Whether it be school, work, or family check-ins via zoom, technology has been a great unifier during these times where face to face interactions have practically become obsolete. Many programs are available online for school, support, and health resources. Small businesses were forced to move their services online: restaurants became food stores, gyms made their workouts available online. We are now able to work remotely for months with the apps and platforms available. Tools and innovation of the entrepreneurs and the greatest leaders are making a difference in our everyday lives. This all wouldn’t be possible a few decades ago.

Our relationships

Unfortunately, our relationships have been hard-hit this year. As distancing is encouraged during these times, the lack of face to face interaction has been quite a difficult transition. We are taking actions today we would have never considered 30- 60 years ago: checking in regularly online, on the phone, or through video calling apps, has been often the only way for people to stay connected.

On the other hand, many of us have finally had a chance to spend time with our families – more than just over a weekend. We re-discovered our partners’ flaws and we do appreciate our kid’s teachers for being patient with them more than ever. One we know for sure: the key to any relationship is communication and this pandemic is reminding us about our shared humanity.

Thinking ahead

We bet you’ve heard about the dolphins’ return to Italy’s coastline during the first lockdown. We’re witnessing how quickly nature can revive without us. The question is: can we keep it this way once we’ll go back to a new normal?

With extra time we gained when not travelling to work every day, we can now implement the tips and tricks for more sustainable living, for example: cooking meals at home (choosing plant-based meals over meat), taking this extra time to make sure we’re buying local ingredients, supporting local businesses and purchasing reusable bags, food containers, and everyday items. We can switch to second hand books and clothes. We can look around and discover that we have furniture we can repair or restyle and reuse it or give it back to the community.

Helping those less fortunate

There has always been a need for shelter, food, clothing, and furniture in our communities. In times like these, the need for support is magnified. People are still trying to secure housing, gain security through having furniture in their homes and having warm clothes to wear.

Yes, we all took a toll of this pandemic: physically, mentally or economically. Yet, if you’re reading this post right now – it means you have access to the Internet. If you’re staying at home, you feel warm and you’re not going hungry – you’re very fortunate but unfortunately, not everyone can say the same.

Please join us for the Giving Tuesday event on Tuesday, December 1st and help make a difference. If you can contribute a donation-big or small-it could go a long way for a family or individual struggling during these times. Have a look at our impact and consider donating today:

So, what can we say, 2020? It’s been one for the books. What will next year, the next 5, or 25 years look like? If one thing is for sure, the resolve and the resiliency to keep fighting despite what you’ve thrown our way will stay with us forever. And in a way, we will be forever grateful for the lessons you’ve taught and for the lessons we’ve begrudgingly had to learn.

 

Lastly, we wanted to share this John Levis Christmas ad: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody gave a little love?” Because, giving love is something we can all contribute.

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