May 7, 2020 – Message from Elder: How to Deal with Loneliness during COVID-19



How to Deal with Loneliness during COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic may remind of past stories or relatives impacted by colonization and inter-generational trauma.

In our First Nations culture, we have traditionally supported each other by sharing stress collectively. We often carry the stress of relatives in our bodies, so that they do not need to carry their stresses alone. Through connecting this way, we thrive in the best of times and survive in the worst of times.

For support, we lean into our cultural strengths, knowing that First Nations in BC have a long history of resilience. We have traditions and practices that ground us in the present and keep us well spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Our holistic practices can help ease feelings of personal, collective and inter-generational stress during the pandemic.

Taking care of our wellness will calm us while we fulfill critical roles within our families and communities.

We have many cultural strengths to draw upon to stay connected and keep well, even while we practice social distancing.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Support those around you: call one another to check in using the old fashion way by using the telephone (landline). You can also face time with family members using social media.
  • If you don’t have access to a phone or the internet, distraction techniques can also help reduce isolation and loneliness. With many of us stuck at home, now is the time to get on with things we haven’t had time to do before.
  • Get out on the land and reconnect with nature. Pick Traditional medicine and foods. Take a walk. Get out on the Lake.
  • Share traditional stories and traditional knowledge
  • Kind words and thoughtful gestures help. Be kind and compassionate to yourself and others.
  • Practice your traditional songs and language
  • Do some traditional beading, arts and crafts
  • Going through photo albums and organizing pictures
  • Integrate life skills. Teach young ones how to do daily household chores, cooking, baking, cleaning and yard work.
  • You can learn to garden as a family.
  • Plan home-based activities: have some family members visit you outside your house in your yard or on your deck.
  • Play cards, have tea, talk about the old days (history)
  • Structure your day

Having to stay at home all the time can make the days merge into one and seem endless. Therefore, it’s important to try to stick to a routine, even when things are different and strange.

  • Plan some activities that get you moving, connecting and thinking.
  • Look after yourself
  • Keeping physically healthy can boost mood and ease loneliness too, so it is important to eat as well as you can and get some exercise.
  • Even if you can’t get outside, there are plenty of online videos to follow indoors. Get plenty of rest/sleep.
  • Focus on positive aspects of your life and things you can control

It’s okay to ask for help. If you feel worried, reach out and ask for help.

Community is important to so many and being in a group or being social is vital to our well-being. Reminding yourself that you are well and safe.

The world may seem smaller for now but it gives us an opportunity to slow down and rest.


Stay Healthy

Stay Connected

Stay Positive