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Opinion: Staying the course is best defence against increasingly stressful times

(via File photo)

Whether you look near or far, you have to pause and wonder if the world is slightly off balance. I feel it is. As we near the mid-point of 2020, I can’t remember a year that has brought so much tragedy, so much hardship and so much change.  

Here in our little community there is plenty of evidence that things aren’t right. Someone is laying inhumane animal traps in Beach Grove. Drunk drivers are on the rise in Delta and the aggressive speeding I have witnessed over the past two months is shocking. 

The future of our hospice is under threat from an interest group vehemently against Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). Local businesses are hanging on by a thread, and many people are barely making ends meet. Our young children have lost their innocence, wondering if their schools will ever feel safe again.

Looking south beyond our border we see and feel for our American neighbours who are in a crisis. The recent death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was so disturbing I had to turn away from the screen. 

Floyd’s death has ignited violent protests and upended U.S. cities. Racism, polarized politics and economic hardship is a toxic mix for social unrest that I don’t see ending any time soon in America.

We know racism is alive and well here in Canada too. Recent violent and verbal attacks on people of Asian descent here in the Lower Mainland have shown that ignorance and prejudice is just below the surface in our communities. There’s no place for racism and it must not be tolerated.

The pandemic has made the world feel smaller to me. Every person on earth has felt the ripple effect of COVID-19 on some level. It’s not a Third World problem, or a First World problem, it’s everyone’s problem. Perhaps that’s why Floyd’s death feels so personal and so disturbing.  

Our communities are under stress with the threat of COVID-19 constantly lurking in the background. We continue to be on edge, I see it all around me, in my family, in my workplace and out in public. 

Even as we appear to be successfully navigating Phase 2 of our restart plan, we are suffering from the weight of the unknown. We must continue the practices we have been using so far: Stay in touch with loved ones and neighbours. Take a break from the news, exercise, eat well and get regular sleep. Reach out if you are feeling increased anxiety, you are not alone.

Tolerance, empathy and kindness are values that must continue to guide us as we move forward into uncertain times. In public a smile goes a long way, an encouraging nod or a joke can ease the tensions we are all feeling. Let’s continue to be thoughtful and accepting of one another in this beautiful place we call home. 

- Ingrid Abbott is a freelance broadcaster and writer who is excited to be going shopping again and encourages everyone to support local businesses