Each of us will relate to this article. Hell, we could write a very similar story of the past 15 months.

From Morning Chalk up:

Last week, we reported on a new study based out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario that illustrated how a lack of access to gyms due to COVID-19 closures has been devastating for mental health.

Today we introduce you to Karen Armstrong, a 10-plus year member at Sled Dog Strength and Conditioning in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a gym that — notwithstanding a short period last summer when they were open for outdoor workouts — has been closed since the first wave of the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Her story: “For me, the gym is my safe place,” 53-year-old Armstrong began. “It’s a piece where I can go and be me…This time belonged to me.”

She continued: “That space and time to myself carried me through some tough times, where I learned to breathe and be strong. I developed my strength, both physical and mentally. It’s a place of my own.”

Fast forward to 2020: Armstrong’s husband retired and she was forced to work from her basement. At the same time, the parents of her two-and-a-half year-old grandson separated. 

In the aftermath, her grandson’s mother attempted suicice and was recently arrested for a DUI and assault, and her grandson’s father (her son), who suffers from anxiety and depression, works long shifts that makes it difficult for him to look after his son on his own. As a result, Armstrong and her husband have become full-time caregivers to their grandchild.

“Becoming responsible for a small child is not something I thought would be happening at the age of 53, let alone one with the challenges of being non-verbal and (with) autism,” she said. 

Read the rest here

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