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Tell Your COVID Story

March is Women's History Month. The theme for this year is "Celebrate Women Who Tell Our Stories." All of the women who are alive today, each one of us, has a story to tell right now. Right now, today, we are part of history. If you have been alive since 2020, you have a story to tell that is part of history. Your story and the stories of those around you will be studied for years to come. 

The pandemic affected all aspects of life. It affected our individual and national economic stability, our neighborhoods and physical environments, our education system, our ability to access and acquire food, our community safety and how we viewed ourselves in society, and our health care system and providers. In public health, we call these things the social determinants of health. 

During the pandemic, the Surgeon General issued health advisories regarding health worker burnout and, most recently, the youth mental health crisis in this country. He made these topics priorities for our nation's health. These priorities are far-reaching and may seem daunting. It may seem like a difficult task to tackle health worker burnout and youth mental health at the same time. However, there are things we can do as a society that can help.

One thing we can all do is tell our COVID-19 stories. Storytelling is essential to developing social and cultural relationships and to creating connections with one another. Storytelling provides a sense of belonging, self-esteem, and individuality. Sharing our stories makes us vulnerable. Our vulnerability is what allows us to form and forge close bonds with one another and to create lasting relationships. Those stories help us to find our "tribe," as Brene Brown says.

Storytelling is also healing. Telling our stories can help us heal as a nation. Telling your story can increase oxytocin levels and may reduce cortisol levels, which increases stress and anxiety. Narrative therapy (storytelling) has recently been a tool used in addressing post-traumatic stress disorder, as well. Narrative therapy is essentially telling and retelling the story of what happened. 

When you talk about your problems, you are sharing that story. You may share your story with a friend, a colleague, a complete stranger, on the internet, or even engage in "empty chair" therapy. You may then gain new insights or understand the situation better. Most importantly, you are releasing the story. Sharing that story reduces its power over your life. You also start understanding more about yourself. Maybe you will look back and be so amazed at how awesome you are because you overcame so much. 

In the second half of the video, I share my COVID-19 story. Please watch, like, and subscribe. And, please share your story!