It has been too long since I have written in this category. It is Tuesday, right? With everything that is happening in the world right now, I felt the need to write a new blog post. The Tishspiration posts will be on my new website when it is ready.
I was a little disgruntled this morning while I listened to the local radio station. It seems that while I decided not to listen to Prime Minister Trudeau’s daily news briefing (it is a little surreal to even write that bit) he talked about trying to help more people who were falling through the cracks of the current emergency benefits program the Canadian Government is putting into place.
Great, man. Way to steal my thunder. I had this title since last week, thank you very much.
As I contemplated the idea of choosing another title, I decided to keep it. It is timely and relevant. More than I thought it was when I first began working on the concept for this post.
The Canadian Government is helping people.
They are working hard to help Canadians maneuver through the world which is very different than it was only three weeks ago. Three weeks. Has it only been three weeks since we were all told to stay home? It seems like longer to me. Maybe that is because I have spent more than a year at home, working on building my own businesses.
I had unemployment insurance until November of 2019. The government, because of many years of being a part of the workforce in Canada, offers this while people are in between jobs. I was an employee, of several different companies for most of my adult life. I am not lazy, but I have been selective in which jobs I have applied for since the pogey (unemployment insurance) ran out. When things started happening three weeks ago, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, started holding daily press conferences on his front lawn. He said we would all be okay, and that the government was working on emergency benefits to help Canadians weather this storm called COVID-19.
I had hope. He said people who were self employed would be able to apply for this benefit, to help cover the bills while our businesses were unable to run normally at this time. I thought things were going to get better for me, at least for a short period of time.
I do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
In my business, in the last 12 months, I did not earn the minimum of $5,000, needed to qualify. While I do not expect a free ride through this crisis, I was led to believe that there was hope for me. Although I am not surprised that the Representatives of The House Of Commons added stipulations to what the Prime Minister was offering to help Canadians, I am disappointed.
I am not alone. There are people in this country who also do not qualify for what is being offered. Thankfully, my husband is still able to work at his full-time job from home, and able to continue working at his part-time job, outside of our home. I am not able to look for employment outside of our home at this time. I am a person with a chronic disease and therefore considered immunocompromised. To stay healthy, I need to stay home, and to be honest, I haven’t gotten any calls for interviews in the last month.
We made the decision to take advantage of the offers available to us while we weather this out. Deferrals do not help us in the long term, but they do help us right now, and like many other Canadians, we will take all the help we can get.
Where is the Tishspiration in this article?
It is here. With me. I am also writing to tell people to not sit quietly in anticipation of the worst possible outcome. I am my own best advocate, and you are your own best advocate. Speak up. Do so with intelligence. If you whine and complain, nobody will listen. If you look for one thing to be grateful for every day, share it. Give others hope.
Follow the guidelines, but if you, like me do not qualify, don’t apply for the benefit. It wastes your time, and it takes time and energy away from people who qualify for it. Tying up the system for no good reason doesn’t help you or anyone else.
I know things are wild out there. People are yelling at people about the safe distance and who should or should not be out and about. Remember that they are not intending to be ignorant, they, like you, are scared of what is happening, because they, like you, have no control over things they normally would have control over. Like going to work and getting a paycheck. Going to the mall. Seeing their friends and family.
Get creative. I know, a lot of people do not think that they have any creativity in them. We all do, to varying degrees. Ask for help if you need it, but don’t just give up when technology decides to be uncooperative. I haven’t told my husband, yet, but I am considering painting the link for this website on my living room window, to see if I can generate more followers, but even more importantly, more book sales. I wanted to paint a picture, and I think I will incorporate it into a white, fluffy cloud, so it can be easily read from the street, and snapped in a picture on a cellphone by the people in my neighbourhood who, like me, are walking more as it is something we can still do.
If you have ever considered working from home, the time is now!
Stick with me for a moment. People are at home. They need things. Network Marketing has the answer for the needs of many people, worldwide, right now. You can support someone you know by purchasing the products they sell, and they will be delivered to your door, to avoid leaving the house to get the things you need. I am currently offering makeup and books for sale, and I do make jewellery. Jewellery designing has taken a back seat for now. It is more of a hobby than a business, and I am okay with it as it is. My supplies will be there when I am ready to play with beads again, or if there is an order I need to create.
The only way I have available to me right now to earn an income is through my online businesses. I am working very hard to grow my entrepreneurial dreams, and it is a way for me to lay a plank across the path to hold myself up, to keep me from falling through the cracks. What I do isn’t going to be what everyone else should do, but I want to encourage you to be open to what your friends and family are offering, and even a stranger might have the opportunity that will help you stay on top of the path. Do your own research, like I did, before taking the leap, and jump in with both feet when you find something that you could see yourself promoting as something you love. Whatever that is for you!
To the Extroverts and to people who suffer with mental illness:
This is not an ideal situation for anyone who falls into these two categories. If you are a people person, call a friend, every day. Schedule a video chat with your family. Write a letter to someone you love. When is the last time you got a letter in the mail? It is something that ALWAYS puts a smile on my face, to open the mailbox to find something there that is from someone I know, and someone I want to get mail from.
To anyone who is suffering from mental illness, my heart goes out to you. Things were hard before COVID-19, and they are likely to get worse before they will get better. I want you to know that someone out there cares about you, even if that someone is only me, a stranger trying to spread a little hope into the world. Please reach out if you need help to get through the next second, minute, hour or day. You are not alone, the world is struggling with you. The world may not have the same struggles that you do, but we are all struggling in our own way right now.
One last thing.
Things will get better. It can and it will. It has to because every roller coaster has its ups and downs. We are in a down right now, but we will be going up, maybe even stronger than we ever have before, if we just keep on working on the things we can control, and not getting lost in the fear of what might be. Focus on what will be, and make it a reality.
Please don’t ever give up hope. It is all we have to hold on to in times like this. I am going to grab on and pull myself up out of the cracks I am falling into, and when I am on solid ground, I will reach out to see who I can help up to stand beside me.
When we support each other, we rise together. I believe this with my whole heart and soul.
The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
This week I am pleased to share the story of another friend. It is written in her own words, and she submitted it earlier this week with her permission to share it as a part of the series.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Bonnie’s Story
My story begins all the way back to when I was five years old. I was always small for my age until then, when my parents got divorced. All of the changes and upheaval that happens with that sort of thing, is what seems to have contributed to me eating more and gaining weight. Still, I was only chubby as a child. I wasn’t truly overweight until my preteens. I believe I was about ten years old when I realized that I was bigger than most of the kids my age but other than some minor teasing from other kids that usually went over my head anyway, I did not feel bad about it. At age twelve, I weighed 180 pounds and that’s the age that I really started noticing how heavy I was and feeling body conscious.
I never did anything about it at that age though, except maybe some walking for exercise. Other than that, I did a lot of wishing and dreaming that I would just wake up skinny one day and everyone would like me because I wasn’t a big girl anymore. I remember feeling bad about being overweight, not being able to wear the types of clothes my friends were wearing, and receiving some teasing or comments here and there.
When I was sixteen, my mom and I joined a women’s gym together. There I learned about exercise and how beneficial, as well as fun, it could be. The first workout left me so sore I could barely move and I didn’t want to go back, it hurt so much. However, I did go back a few days later and started to realize a love for exercise I never knew I could have! The trainers there, one I’m still in touch with to this day, were so kind and really involved. They provided me with so much quality guidance that I really needed. Due to a move across town, making the trip to the gym too far for me to go, I stopped going once our one year was up there and turned to walking more for exercise. Slowly the weight I had lost from exercising at that gym for a year crept back on.
Another few years went by where I tried various things but never stuck with anything consistently, until 2009, when I was twenty. I started a weight loss journey by cutting back my calories significantly, exercising five or six days a week, and drinking Slim-Fast and changing my eating habits to include more vegetables and fruits. Soon I joined the SparkPeople website where I received support, information, and resources I needed to keep losing weight. I lost over 75 pounds during the seven months I was on there and actively working to lose weight. Right around my twenty-first birthday though, I ended up suffering from gallstones and pancreatitis, spending a whole week in the hospital and having my gallbladder removed. After that and some dramatic changes in my life that happened directly afterwards, I pretty much gave up on losing weight. I mean I tried, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I wasn’t consistently working on it any longer.
The next few years after that I continued to try to lose weight at different points, but it never lasted and I never stuck with it long enough to make a significant difference. Finally in May 2014, I started my final and last weight loss journey. This was it! I was going to lose the weight and keep it off! I had gained all of the weight I had lost in 2009 and then some, as it often goes. I was a whopping 309 pounds at this point, when I had sworn I would never get over three hundred pounds! I was shocked and appalled, and I knew I had no choice but to make changes so I could lose that weight. By August of 2015, I was in what is often referred to as “onederland,” finally breaking into the 190’s. It took quite a while after that to get into the 180’s, but my lowest weight was 181 in April 2016.
Enter this past summer that brought issues with my grandparents and their health, a big cross country move, having to leave behind my siblings and their kids when my parents and I moved, and so much more, I just let things go. I had just completed my first ever half marathon in May of last year, which was one of the most rewarding and invigorating experiences of my life. It was so much fun that I’m doing the same half marathon again this May. After the half marathon, the summer was full of all of these huge, and very stressful, events that kept the next few months super stressful and overwhelming. I started gaining weight back because I just felt too overwhelmed to devote the attention and dedication to my nutrition that I had before.
Even with the weight gain, I am still 60+ pounds down from my highest weight, but it has been a huge struggle to get back on track and the weight has kept creeping on due to my struggles. I know I can do it, as I proved it to be the case before, but it seems harder. I lost that momentum, I stopped being consistent, and I guess I gave up. However, I still had a huge passion to help others, and had restarted a blog for the purpose of helping other women find a way to not only lose weight, but believe in themselves, find their inner strength, and practice self-love. Still, at some points in the past few months, I have felt like a fraud because I had been struggling so much. It is all a part of my journey, so even though it felt horrible and disappointing all the same, it has been a learning experience and has made me stronger!
A positive thing that has come out of my struggles is that a little over a month ago, I made the decision to join Beachbody as a coach. Using the container system, Shakeology, and workouts they have in their programs is truly making a huge difference for me both physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean that it is easy or that the changes are instantaneous, and I am still slowly getting my nutrition back in check in addition to working out more consistently again. I am also drinking Shakeology everyday and noticing how much it makes a difference in my energy levels. I never realized how beneficial it could be! Besides that, I also have a huge support system with the coaches that are part of the team of the coach I signed up with. As a friend, she is someone I trust, feel comfortable talking to, and know she will help me the best way she can which is a huge deal to me and made the decision that much easier!
I have complete faith that I will lose the weight I’ve regained. I felt so skinny at 180-190 pounds, even though I still wanted to lose 30 more pounds. Now I glance at pictures from that low weight and wish I could be that small again. However, I can’t live in the past and I can’t beat myself up anymore. I am ready to continue moving forward, working on improving my healthy lifestyle, and helping other people do the same thing in their lives. The greatest reward for me is to help others realize how they can really live the life they dream of living, whether it be to lose weight, go after their dream career, or whatever else represents happiness and success in their lives. On SparkPeople, helping others and providing feedback was more than just helping them. It helped me to stay on track too!
Bonnie McConaughy is the owner and founder of Inspire the Best You (www.inspirethebestyou.com), where she writes about healthy living and personal growth, and provides health and wellness coaching. She is also a freelance and ghostwriter (www.bonwriterfreelance.biz).
Thank you to Bonnie for sharing your story. You have inspired me to try harder, because like you, I know I can do this, I just have to stick with it. Although we are travelling on different paths, there are some similarities in our journeys. Keep working on your goals, and you will achieve them, I know it! Something that resonates with me after reading is that you are not alone, you have a support system, and you are building your own skills to help others. This is really a great thing, to take what you have learned to help you guide others in their journies. I wish you all the best, and have faith that you are going to be a success.