No person has been immune from the immense challenges 2020 has posed: recent days have seen our collective strength, faith, communities, health, and mental well-being tested like never before. Out of necessity and an unparalleled willingness to help, the medical professionals on the frontlines have become the champions of humanity’s shared present and future.
We can only begin to imagine the mental and physical strain that is being put on these courageous individuals as they spend countless hours navigating health risks and saving lives. As much as we may agonize over being locked down, our hearts ache for those who do not have the luxury of staying safely at home. During this time of duress, it’s inspiring to see the gestures everyday people have made to express support for medical workers. If there’s any positive aspect to this tragic situation, it’s the solidarity and togetherness many communities have reached for in previously unimaginable ways.
Many of us find ourselves turning to video calls to stay connected in the midst of social distancing. Sometimes the conversations can be light and uplifting, and other times they reveal the intense strain we are all facing in different ways. A particular Zoom call between Lipovsky and her friends from her time as a pre-med student led to the birth of this project, Our Love Letter To You. It’s one thing to watch the news and be in awe of medical professionals’ extraordinary efforts, but it’s another entirely to hear firsthand accounts from friends who are on the frontlines day after day. Doctors, medics, nurses and techs are facing exhaustion that can’t be eased with sleep — sleep that in any case is wrought with anxiety and nightmares. What can the rest of us do but show our support and share messages of love and encouragement? It’s impossible to gauge the impact any kind gesture, big or small, might have — all we can do is reach out and try.
In an inspiring show of support, IFF has donated bottles of Maison d’Etto’s yet to be released fragrance to include in 500 care packages for medical workers. For this endeavor, the fragrance is named, For You, it will launch this fall under the name of the special horse who inspired the scent. This undertaking resonated with a number of brands proudly named as partners for this project: Royal Fern donated Phytoactive Hydra-Firm Intense Masks with moisturizing and regenerative properties; Costa Brazil’s Óleo Para A Face Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil is packed with vitamins and antioxidants to enhance skin’s natural glow; Diptyque contributed exquisitely scented lavender hand lotions and soap; Natureofthings donated Fortified Magnesium bath soaks with ingredients to ease muscle soreness and detoxify skin; and finally The Conservatory has provided the beautiful packaging materials and the space for assembling and delivering the care packages.
This donation was deeply personal for all involved: the care packages were distributed to the friends and loved ones of the people behind the participating brands. Maison d’Etto humbly offers these products and their healing properties as a token of appreciation to healthcare professionals; we hope they can serve as tools for these individuals to find the moments that bring them inner peace, as well as a reminder that there are better, brighter days to come.
There is no guaranteed timeline or outcome for this pandemic. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we know it is there. Humanity’s most powerful weapon is empathy — if we can keep that light in focus, with one eye to the future and open hearts to those in need, we can find strength in our oneness to move forward together. While medical professionals face an insurmountable task now, it’s impossible to predict how the aftermath will leave today’s heroes. We have a duty as human beings to reach towards those who cared for the world before themselves, to help them pick up the pieces however we can.
The garden of mental health is one that requires tenderness, patience, and often exposure to different methods. In these times in which we are faced with adversity at a scale the world has not seen before, anxiety and stress are running rampant, tearing up the seeds of peace so many of us have worked hard to nurture and grow. May 2020’s Mental Health Awareness Month presents an opportunity to reach out with kindness to our friends and our families, to those who make us feel strong and whole, and to also turn inward and be gentle with ourselves and how we are feeling. There is no correct or single path to inner peace, but a gesture can be all it takes.
In Store Photography: Madeleine Villamarin