As a long-time resident of Johns Creek, I’ve seen our community come together to support each other through the years. Now, more than ever, it is time to focus our collective energies to help families who are experiencing additional pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Resiliency while facing loss of income, loss of time, and loss of a sense of freedom is possible if we recognize we are all in this together. The “Shecession” articles, published recently in The Herald, focus on the particular impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women. In Part 5, the author paraphrases Dr. Rebecca Gomez in sharing, “Data shows women are reporting greater emotional distress related to the pandemic compared to their male counterparts.” I would like to echo the concerns, while also sharing words of encouragement.

The article suggests the pandemic has created the “perfect storm” of stressors and disrupted traditional self-care activities. I know women who work full time, support young children in virtual classes and still manage their home. Add reduced hours or furlough or an ailing parent and “too much” quickly becomes overwhelming.

So where’s my encouragement? Get to know your neighbors. Ask someone to go for a walk and truly listen to their story. Maybe your new neighbors are a young couple with a new baby and just need someone to talk to on a regular basis. Maybe your neighbor’s spouse is deployed and there are some minor repairs needed in their home, and you just happen to be pretty handy. Even a hand-written note can mean so much. Physical distancing does not mean emotional connection has to end.

The pandemic has radically altered what we consider “normal,” but this is an opportunity. This disruption may be just what we need to discover that we need each other. We are stronger together. When we recognize our differences and choose to be connected in a compassionate and supportive way, our relationships are healthier. When our relationships are healthier our communities become healthier.  Humans need to feel connected to something outside of us, something “bigger” than us. Start by getting to know your neighbors.

Lynne Smith

Johns Creek

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