How are you?

I mean, really, how are you? How are you coping? If it helps to know that others are feeling anxiety, let me start by saying that I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been stressed by the challenges this year, including me.

This isn’t exactly how I pictured things would be when I retired in January. And I see my colleagues working under very different and difficult conditions.

I always found stress spurred me on to do my best. A little adrenalin pumping through the system is called for when it’s game time. But when it’s constant, it takes a toll on our physical and mental well-being.

It seems we are being poked at constantly. How do we talk to young children about major changes to their school, or birthday parties or vacations? How do we deal with the people who refuse to wear a mask or who believe COVID-19 is a hoax?

Are you going to have a job tomorrow? Is your small business about to collapse? What’s happening to your savings? What is going on with real estate?

And then there’s the huge social upheaval going on related to race relations and inequalities. And what in heaven’s name is happening in the U.S.? We are all consumed by that story, what their future holds and what it will mean to us.

So. How are you? Are you getting enough sleep every night? I’m not. And I think that’s probably appropriate. We are all carrying a little more baggage these days.

Every year at Bell Media we focus on mental health through Bell Let’s Talk Day. The year 2020 is different. And we need to recognize the effects our changed world is having upon us.

I want to know when a low grade depression or anxiety turns into something where we need professional help. What are the telltale signs? And what do we do if there is no help available for months? What is it like to live alone without people to talk to, touch or hold? How difficult is it to be confined in a small apartment during these times? What role is social media playing? Are there things in our diet that are making things worse? What about sugars, caffeine and carbs? How are you doing spiritually?

Let’s investigate strategies and solutions. I’m going to talk with different Canadians and health experts over the next several weeks. We’ll share these discussions on television and feature extended interviews and mental health resources here at CTVNewsToronto.ca.

Are you in a good place? If not, let’s see how we might get there.

ABOUT THE SERIES

COPING THROUGH COVID is a new interview series dedicated to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Canadians. Hosted by former CTV NEWS TORONTO anchor Ken Shaw, segments will air weekdays beginning Monday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. ET on CTV Toronto’s CTV NEWS AT SIX, with extended coverage at CTVNewsToronto.ca. The COPING THROUGH COVID podcast is also available to download weekly.