By Marianne Tai
For most dragon boat lovers, this time of social distancing or physical distancing has been stressful. It has been cause for many mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression.
Dragon boat is a team sport, even though we are far apart, our community is strong.
Dragon Boat is a Community
If you ask anyone why they decided to take up paddling, the reasons are usually because of friends, co-workers, to meet new people or because it looks like a fun sport.
For the more experienced crowd, it’s definitely for the competition against some elite athletes within Canada and abroad. Having been in this sport for more than 10 years, paddling has become a lifestyle. It consists of having teammates and friends of different age groups and from all around the world who are like family.
It’s about working out in the gym or as a team. Pushing your limits in a variety of exercises, healthy eating, competing and sharing some of the happiest and saddest moments of your life together. Paddling becomes so intertwined in your life, that it’s a part of you in every sense of the word.
How Paddlers Have Overcome Social Distancing, Together
In the last couple of weeks, the corona virus pandemic has become a major disruption in all of our lives. Social distancing and isolation are a common theme these days. While this has been the norm in some countries for weeks now, for us Canadians it happened in a matter of days. Everyone’s career and lifestyle have drastically changed, and it’s no surprise that this has caused everyone to be rather distressed.
Furthermore, the news and social media outlets have had nothing but depressing stories to report on a daily basis.
Some paddlers have turned to social media to bring positivity to the situation. Instagram and Facebook have been exploding with posts and stories of different workout challenges, and paddlers have been inspiring others to do the same.
These are paddlers who are connecting with each other from different teams, clubs and even other countries. We have been uplifting and connecting with each other in ways we never tried before as a community.
Paddlers have also been connecting through video calls, and being creative with how they are “hanging out”. They share evening cocktails with each other and even have their children meet virtually, often for the first time.
Thanks to these apps, there has also been fun drawing challenges or questionnaires to get to know each other better. The variations are growing every day and it’s really motivating to see how connected this community can be.
Stay Strong as a Community
Mental Health matters. Social isolation is a real problem and while it may be overwhelming to watch another push up story, it could mean something really different for another.
Everyone has a different situation, but with some compassion and empathy, we can support each other through a difficult period. We are lucky to be surrounded by such motivated individuals, as long as we stick together, it won’t be long before we can hold our “Paddles Up”!