Health is wealth. This common phrase is frequently used within our community and its message is abundantly true. When you feel good, you do good and nothing has taught us this lesson more than the outbreak of Covid-19. 

Although we have gotten extremely more conscious of the ways our health impacts our livelihood and what it means to be well, this time has caused us to deprioritize other personal matters. With medical resources being made less accessible due to the pandemic requiring urgent support to combat the virus, many of us have had to put our usual healthcare routines on hold. In partnership with the nonprofit Vaccinate Your Family in collaboration with Merck, Gabrielle Union and her family have teamed up to present the “Don’t Skip” campaign which is encouraging families to schedule regular checkups and routine vaccinations in order to keep each other safe. 

The Hollywood veteran, author, wife and mom shared her experience getting her family back on track during the pandemic and lessons learned about health and wellness.

EBONY: With COVID-19 mandates being lifted around the country, many are hoping for a return to “normalcy.” What does normalcy, or a new normal, look like to you?

Gabrielle Union: I’m one of those people who is not mad at not being sick so wearing my mask in places I probably wouldn’t have worn it before, at times I probably wouldn’t have worn it before pre-pandemic, will be a part of my new normal. As someone who suffers from allergies and seasonal colds, I’m okay with wearing a mask. Just being a little more conscientious about shared spaces. Things that we took for granted before make us now realize the potential for bacteria or germs. I’m more cognizant of my own health and that of my fellow man.

13-year-old Zaya Wade prepping for a TikTok video.

What are some rules and routines that you and your family have adapted or gotten rid of during this time that you hope to continue moving forward?

GU:  For me and Dwyane, we still made sure that we got up early even when things were shut down. We also made sure to work out and get enough water or make therapist appointments. Everyone else was alarmed and asked “why are we getting up so early?” so we adjusted and eventually did not make everyone else get up at the crack of dawn. We realized that we are dealing with this time differently. So if you want to skip the gym or skip calling every single person on your contact list, that's okay. It's okay if you don't feel safe doing the things you used to do or you don't feel comfortable. It’s okay if you don’t feel like it. We skipped a lot of those things.  

Dwyane and his 2-year-old daughter Kaavia.

How did your family get back into the "swing of things" with scheduling check-up visits and getting back on top of your health and wellness? 

GU: Throughout the pandemic, we have had various random health things that popped up, like dental emergencies. Whereas other people may have wanted to stay away, we had to get over our fears of medical facilities early. Once we got over those fears, we realized all of the precautions that healthcare professionals were taking to make sure that patients were safe. We did not miss a lot of our routines out of necessity but we also have family members with pre-existing conditions so we worked to stay on top of our health, wellness, and eating in a way that did not exacerbate other conditions we’ve had. We tried not to fall too far off-track from our normal schedule but we had to find ways to hold each other accountable. Over the past year, we’ve become much more aware of everyone’s needs such as the medications my mom and mother-in-law need to take or that the kids need. Or, what happens when I go off the rails and have too much gluten because I just feel like it and then immediately face the body’s repercussions. We took being self-starters for granted but we had to really rely on each other and keep each other on task and lift each other up.