The coronavirus has infected more than 11 million people globally, but the virus’s impact on mental health has been felt by the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who have been forced into isolation to stop its deadly spread.
The mental health impact of the pandemic is a form of collective trauma, says Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a women’s and mental health advocate, mother of three, and wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Grégoire Trudeau recently launched a podcast, WE Well-being, to discuss mental issues and dispel the continuing stigma around them.
In conversation with Arianna Huffington at Fortune’s virtual Brainstorm Health conference, Grégoire Trudeau—who contracted and recovered from COVID-19 in March—spoke about her own struggles with an eating disorder and the resilience of the human mind to adapt and overcome its traumas through connection with other people.
“We’re all one trauma away from one another. One life event happens, one traumatic thing happens, you don’t know where you could find yourself the next day. And look at what’s happening now. We’re all in one very similar trauma—experiencing this virus, this pandemic,” said Grégoire Trudeau. “So we have to adapt to this situation and use our creativity to connect with one another and tell our own stories. We’re all connected through our traumas.”
Speaking about her own self-care regimen these days, Grégoire Trudeau said she’s careful about her media and social media diet: “We become what we consume…Why is it that we can’t put our screens away for 10 minutes to be in silence? When we slow down, we gain perspective.” She said she practices meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, being in nature, and exercise to “recalibrate her internal self.”
Grégoire Trudeau said she’s inspired by how the pandemic has been a trigger for empathy and creativity, and ended the conference on an optimistic note: “Having studied empathy and development in babies, we tend to be happy. Our true nature is to be loved and understood for who we are. And we want to express freely our own creative selves. And in situations of fear and stress and anger and divide, I think human goodness is being triggered and ignited.”
More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:
- Why black-owned businesses were hit the hardest by the pandemic
- Pop-up retail was made for the pandemic
- How the coronavirus crisis has affected female founders
- The enduring history of health care inequality for black Americans
- E-book reading is booming during the coronavirus pandemic