Put a checkmark on your door if you would like to hear from others. Photo submitted

COLUMN: Connecting with others, despite COVID

Mike Stolte offers suggestions for checking in with each other

By Mike Stolte

Are you feeling numb and without energy these days?

I certainly am. COVID-19 has changed much over a short period of time. Many people I talk to are feeling numb and directionless. They are feeling anxiety about an invisible menace, financial insecurity, lay-offs, being stuck at home with kids, lack of “real” contact, and grocery shopping.

The news is like watching a slow-moving train wreck — it’s hard to look away but it leaves one feeling even more distressed and helpless. This numbness is natural and a possible coping mechanism for grief around our losses. Yes, our losses. We have (temporarily) lost our freedom, routines and dreams (trips, graduations, an envisioned future, etc.).

Four years ago, I lost my life partner, Fiona Mooney, to cancer. This COVID time feels a little like that time of grief again. I would be numb for a while and then experience wild swings of emotions. This is tough for a guy born into a stoic upbringing where emotions were to be suppressed, and not experienced, and certainly not expressed. During that time of grief, I broke with my upbringing, and resolved that I would, above all, nourish myself.

This meant stepping into a daily practice where I noticed and wrote down things I was grateful for, aimed for good food (there were some chip binges, of course), good sleep, exercise, journaling to learn more about myself, poetry (and other forms of creative expression as an outlet), connecting with people who energized me (often reconnecting with old friends), sun, walks in nature, limiting my intake of media, and going very easy on myself. Fiona, who dove into being a health crisis coach even as her cancer progressed, would say “Never waste a good crisis!”

In that vein, here are a few brand new homegrown initiatives that hopefully will connect our community even in the midst of this.

1) Neighbour Check: If you need something – food, to hear a friendly voice — and cannot get out, put a small sign in your window/door with a large check mark on it that your neighbours can see from the street. If you want, also include your phone number or email so they can connect with you, without physically coming into your space.

Neighbours, as you are out walking the dog or exercising, please check out houses within a couple of blocks of your house to be on the lookout for the Neighbour Check signs. The rest is up to you. Please call or email your neighbours to help them with their needs. Also check out Nelson Helps on Facebook. This is another great homegrown initiative that is connecting neighbour to neighbour.

2) Conversation Café via Zoom Video: Every second Wednesday at noon, beginning April 22, we will have a free Zoom video meet-up to explore different topics. I will present the first one on Grief and Gratitude. Participants will get to discuss their experiences. Pre-registration is required.

3) Community CLICK via Zoom Video: Every second Wednesday at noon, beginning April 29, we will have a free Zoom video meet-up at noon to explore photos you have taken on different topics. The first topic is Isolation and Connection. Please email up to three photos to me by 5 p.m. the day before so that I can put them into a slideshow. When your photo(s) come up in the Zoom meeting, we invite you to explain your photo(s). Pre-registration is required.

For the Conversation Cafes and Community CLICK please check out the Kalein website (kaleincentre.org) and the new Compassionate Nelson Facebook page over the coming weeks for more info on topics and a registration link. Zoom is a free online video platform that can be used via computer, tablet or smartphone.

Mike Stolte is the director of dialogue and education for Nelson’s Kalein Centre and part of Compassionate Nelson, a Nelson-based movement that envisions a more compassionate Nelson. He can be reached at mike@kaleincentre.org.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Touchstones Museum has opened up Nelson’s Cold War bunker to the public. The unique exhibit includes artifacts from the 1950s and 60s. Photo: Tyler Harper
Take cover! Cold War bunker opens to public in Nelson

The shelter was built in 1964 in case of nuclear fallout

Tanya Finley will run as the Nelson-Creston candidate for the BC Liberals in the upcoming election. Photo submitted
Tanya Finley will run as the Nelson-Creston candidate for the BC Liberals in the upcoming election. Photo submitted
Election 2020: Tanya Finley

The second of four interviews with the Nelson-Creston candidates

Nelson’s Brian Boyes has been awarded a provincial honour for coaching junior golfers. Photo: Submitted
Nelson golf coach wins provincial honour

Bryan Boyes was honoured for his work with young golfers

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read