My name is Michelle Ng, I'm a mom, wife, immigrant and founder of the award-winning food tour business, Vancouver Foodie Tours.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Vancouver in March of 2020, I paused the business to help bend the curve. Two days later, I pivoted to launch Granville Island Delivery Co., a company that began as a grocery delivery business, connecting locals to their favourite Granville Island merchants. Many iterations later, Granville Island Delivery Co. operates as a local Vancouver gifting company, building gorgeous gift boxes filled with products from retailers on Granville Island.
Amid the anxiety and uncertainty during the first weeks of the pandemic, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour and scheduled to go in for brain surgery on April 1. I knew I had two weeks to get my brand-new business up online before taking a step back to care for my husband and support my nine-year-old son.
I was the pillar of strength for my family for most of 2020 as I supported my husband with his recovery. My son, who we later realized was deeply traumatized by my husband's health ordeal, spiralled downwards and struggled greatly with mental health. The first year of the pandemic tested all of our limits. Fortunately, both my husband and son received the care they needed and made strides in their recovery.
One year into the pandemic, as my family was doing much better, I started to crash. For about six months last year, I struggled with low energy and drive, and a general lack of excitement for the future - a real problem for a pivot start-up founder. For someone who is normally a goal-busting go-getter, this was not good. I tried to will myself back to a good place, but I just couldn't. I was languishing, and at times I was depressed.
I know a lot of people share my experience. They are not clinically sick, but they just can't pick up their feet. They want to feel better, but they can't find a way out. The evolving challenges we continue to face further exacerbate the problem. But I believe it doesn't have to be that way.Michelle Ng
In late summer last year, I told myself enough is enough. I tried many different things to help myself get back to a good place. I started working out, doing a 30-day cleanse (extremely hard for a foodie who swore she would never go on a diet), changing my eating habits, seeking out friends for support, meditating, and going to a business coach. Slowly, I started to feel alive again and began to feel more excited about the future.
I am still healing, but I am back in a good place. I am now very careful about the food I put in my body, the company I keep, and the information I consume – it turns out scrolling endlessly through the news every morning wasn't a great way to kick off the day!
This has been a year of great learnings for everyone in the family. Fortunately, my husband and son are thriving again. I have redesigned my life to be as energizing as possible. This means being proactive in connecting with people for interesting conversations, being present and spending quality time with people who bring me joy, consuming brain-fueling food, performing random acts of kindness, meditating, and waking up a couple of hours early to create the space and time to start each day on my own terms.
For others who feel like I did, I want to tell you there's hope. You have the power to change your outlook, change your habits and take back your life. It's not easy, but nothing truly worth doing is.