Most people are struggling with uncertainly and fear related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have experienced or are currently living with the impacts of violence, abuse and trauma, we know that it is especially challenging right now.
If you are in an unsafe situation Haven Society is here to help. Our Transition House is open and you can call the 24/7 crisis line for immediate support. Call 1-888-756-0616.
Our offices are open and you can leave a message for program staff by phoning (250) 756-2452. We will check messages on our regular working days.
Our Victim Service Program can help you by providing legal resource information and safety planning, whether you have left an abusive partner or are currently living with abuse.
Our PEACE program for families can provide on the phone parenting support and tools and resources for safety planning with your children.
Our Outreach team offers practical support including information about where to access food and housing resources in Nanaimo.
Women’s counselling is providing ongoing telephone counselling and crisis support. Here are some tools that we thought you might find helpful at this time.
Practice Self Compassion
On social media it can look like everyone else is happy, baking bread, doing crafts with their kids or practicing daily yoga. The truth is that most of us are struggling in one way or another. If you find yourself using coping strategies that you wish you weren’t, please be kind to yourself. Know that it’s okay to slow down, nap, eat too much, leave the housework, forget to shower. Tell yourself messages like “I’m doing my best”, “I can get through this” or “one day at a time”. Try to speak to yourself like you would a dear friend or frightened child.
Befriend Your Emotions
Whatever your thoughts and feelings are right now, it’s okay. These are uncertain times and your fear, anger, joy, frustration, and roller coaster of ups and downs are totally valid. Sometimes it can help to notice the emotion or body sensation and name it out loud. Putting a hand on your heart can bring compassion to whatever you are feeling.
Connect with the Here and Now
Many things are unknown right now and it can feel like our lives and world are spinning out of control. It might help to connect to what you do know.
Take a moment to notice the sensation of your breath. Breathing out as if you’re breathing through a straw can extend the out breath.
Feel your feet on the floor and notice the earth supporting you. Wiggling your feet or pushing them into the ground can help bring you back to the present.
Look around the room, is there something that is soothing or comforting that can help ground you? Notice the color, shape or texture of the object.
If you look out a window can you see anything in nature that is soothing? If you open the window, are there sounds, smells or sensations that you notice.
Connect in Ways that are Nourishing and Helpful
Self isolation can be lonely and can remind us of the isolation that was imposed as a result of violence and abuse. Because of our trauma we may be disconnected from family for very good reasons. It can help to find simple connections that are positive and affirming. If you are out walking, waving to a neighbor or saying hello can remind us that we’re not alone. Is there a podcast or radio show that you like to listen to? Some people find music supportive and connecting. Do you have a friend, colleague or neighbor you can call, even for a brief check in? We hope that you will reach out to your counsellor or other mental health services in the community. Remember, the crisis line is available day and night.
Please take care and know that we’re here for you.