At the Beginning of Last week…
I was feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work after a relaxing holiday. With uncharacteristic optimism, I was keen to write a blog on resilience, full of the many examples from our local food community.
Then by the end of last week…. I was not feeling resilient, just deflated and exhausted.
It only took a few days of juggling work, homeschooling, and a constantly full house to take the wind out of my sails.
And I know I am not alone.
I watched as each member of my family struggled to stay optimistic as online school was extended. The fatigue of adapting to constantly changing routines and goals, was quickly multiplied as people lost patience with each other.
Each of my friends and family who took the time to listen to my venting last weekend had their own stories of struggling to take in the chaos of the first week of 2021.After some moping and feeling frustrated and unsure how to move forward effectively I slowly found my footing to regroup.
I believe a community is simply an extension of a family, so I’d like to share with you the shift in my thinking that helped us personally to regroup as a family.
Life can be hard, but we are not weak or helpless.
The first part of this statement may seem simple but it is important to understand. Life can be hard! Covid does suck! We have all had to make sacrifices. Some of us are really hurting. It is ok to be tired.
We are like marathon runners in the middle of a race. Feeling fatigued at this stage does not equal weakness. It is to be expected, we’ve been at this for a long time. We know we still have a long way to go and that is ok. It is time to look back to remind ourselves how far we have come, so we can look forward and plan to use our energy effectively.
We have already accomplished much and made changes we might have never thought possible before. We have all relearned how to shop, work and socialize while keeping each other safe and numbers low. I loved watching this community learn new skills around our food. Many people have learned to grow their own food for the first time, others stepped up to teach and encourage. It was great to hear about people enjoying the bounty of their gardens and sharing it with others as well as the local food bank. Way to go!
The strain we are under now is causing many cracks to show, but it is also showing us where we are strong.
Covid has put a strain on our mental health, our finances, and our local and global food systems, to name just a few areas. The cracks in our systems have been easy to see. Take a closer look at each issue and you can see the areas that have held together. This is where we can see our strengths and find the best lessons on how to rebuild.
In our food system we have seen major issues with large scale processing plants, but our local small butcher shops have continued to work hard throughout this pandemic. This has helped to buffer some of the resulting issues. Now imagine if we could rebuild a local food system that takes advantage of the strength of many small businesses. Imagine how much more stable it would be with many small supports rather than a few large ones.
Lastly; each of our blessings, skills and resources are different. By sharing them with each other we can support each other effectively.
We all know, by now, that we are in this together. It also helps to remember that we are stronger together. It is because of our differences that this is true. There is strength in diversity.
Taking stock of our gifts, allows us to be grateful and remember what is most important to us. It also allows ust to take stock of the resources that we have and identify what we may need. Some days we will be able to share what we have with others and some days we will need to ask for help.
In our house this meant me taking advantage of the flexibility of my work hours to provide extra support for online school, household structure and meal planning. In return many of the evening jobs were reassigned to the kids so that I could get some work done in the evening hours. Readjusting the expectations allowed us to share our time resources more effectively.
After a deflating start to 2021 we have finished the second week in much better shape. I imagine we will have many more days when we need a regroup this year. Sometimes we will do it well and other times it will be messy, and that is ok.
Being intentional about the way we regroup as a family, or community, can allow us to rebuild something better than before. In the process I hope we can continue to look after ourselves and each other. It’s ok to be exhausted at times, that is not failure or weakness, but rather a sign of what you have accomplished so far.