COVID-19 has certainly been an interesting time for Terra, our families, and the greater community.

The recent closures of schools and childcare centres has meant that many of our young parents aren’t able to access their typical supports. For so many, attending school at Braemar meant childcare, a nutritious lunch and being able to access diapers and other necessities at our Clothes Closet.

During this time, we’ve needed to be flexible to ensure that we can continue to provide sustainable, innovative, and person-centred care to our young families.

We are still supporting our families, just differently. While adhering to social distancing best practices, we have moved to delivering emotional support virtually – through video chats, texts and phone calls.

Holly, our Youth Leadership Program Facilitator, providing “contact-less” support and dropping off essentials to Terra families.

Since our buildings are not open to the community, we have moved to a contact-less delivery model to help our families access essential items without putting themselves at risk for infection by taking public transportation.

This week, our team of support workers were working hard to create packages to drop off at the doors of our families. With schools and daycares being closed, our teams have also created activity kits for our families to use to keep their children engaged in play and learning while at home.

These are uncertain and challenging times, but our team has risen to the challenge. We are relentless in serving our families.

The change in work and general uncertainty we are all facing reminds us that the wellbeing of our staff is just as important as the families we serve.

This week, our Mental Health Therapist shared some mental wellness tips with staff to help make navigating these uncertain times a little easier.  These tips aren’t exclusively for front-line workers, so we wanted to share with you as well in hopes that they may provide you with some comfort during these uncertain times.

Laughter is great at any age!

  • Laughter– Laughter releases the same energy that anxiety holds on to. I encourage you to find something that brings laughter to your everyday.
  • Tears/Water – Our Indigenous Elders tell us Water is Medicine. And Tears are the natural medicine and problem-solving tool of our brains. Additionally, Dr. Gordon Neufeld tells us that tears are the only way for the brain to adapt to things it can’t change. By finding time to allow tears, we release neurons in our brains that support natural problem-solving Tears are most helpful when we feel “stuck” and repetitive. And if you can cry in the shower, you add the opportunity for visualizing the water washing away the stress and worry. Drinking water is also critical…not just for our health, but for medicine. 
  • Creativity and Curiosity – Even for people who do not consider themselves “creative” there are many ways that we can welcome creativity and curiosity into our world. There is much research around the healing powers of journaling. This is a unique and interesting time in history. Pull out a book or recorder (voice or video) and start telling the story of the times. Journaling, scrap booking, taking/collecting photos/news clippings, memes (they are hilarious, too, and can bring laughter!! *see above for why this is relevant), creating a play list that helps you feel different emotions (energized, safe, calm, colourful, spunky, etc.)
  • Acts of Kindness-Science has shown that whether we DO, RECEIVE, or WATCH an act of kindness, our brain secrets dopamine – a feel good chemical that is released when we feel good, and is the basis for Depression medication. So get out there and find these little gems in your life! And, as we get our own dopamine shots through hearing about yours, please share them with us all!

These are just a few of the many ways you can cope with stress, we also have a post on helping children cope. We’re in this together and would love to know if there are specific ways you or your family are coping during this time. Please tell us! More information on mental health and coping with COVID-19 can be found here.