Here’s 10 HELPFUL TIPS to help you keep those nerves in check as you follow the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic:
1. Keep it in perspective – the majority of people who have been (or will be) affected by the virus will have a mild impact and recover without medical care. 98% of people will recover. The only deaths we have had in Canada were in long-term care homes for the elderly who had underlying medical vulnerabilities. In China 80% have recovered already. A vaccine is being developed right now. Having said that, we all need to take safety precautions to protect those more vulnerable than ourselves.
2. Stay connected – if you are ill or practicing social distancing, then remain connected virtually to avoid the negative impact of isolation. Host a “virtual brunch” or celebrate a “Virtual Birthday” or Anniversary. Also try to honor the social commitments you may have previously made pre-pandemic. Don’t take the people most precious to you for granted. Stay connected to what you value most. During this crisis, our circle of responsibility includes our immediate families, ourselves and it also extends to our community, such as seniors, and others who are alone and who may be in need.
3. Disrupt Rumination – Instead of endlessly worrying, take action on the things within your control. Do what you can to be safe, practice good hand-washing, keep your environment clean and practice social distancing. If your worries are beyond your control, disrupt the rumination with mindful activities such as meditation and yoga. I’ve been doing Dr. Rick Hanson’s meditation for Feeling As Safe As You Reasonably Can each day and it’s very grounding. Try it by clicking HERE
Dr. Shefali says,
Yes, things are inconvenient
Yes, things are chaotic
Yes, the kids at home are a handful
Yes, yes, yes
But you know what else is a YES?
Yes, to quiet
Yes, to stillness
Yes, to self reflection and growth
Yes, to being and connection
Yes, to healthy eating and exercising
Yes, to creativity
Yes, to decluttering and organizing
Yes, to finishing to-do lists
Yes, to reaching out and catching up with all
Yes, to meditation
Yes, to all things we never had time for before
HOW ARE YOU SAYING YES TODAY?
The earth is saying yes to the reprieve
To no cars on the road
To less garbage in the oceans
To less pollution from the factories
To fewer accidents and carnage
The earth is breathing a sigh of relief – are you?
REMEMBER: you can look at this through the eyes of scarcity or abundance. Which do you choose?
4. Rely on FACTS – its easy to fall into opinion-based thoughts during times of stress. Try to avoid one-sided views by keeping your thoughts factual and balanced.
5. Reduce news and social media consumption – Notice how exposure to media coverage impacts your felt sense of safety/threat. While staying informed is important, notice how you are impacted by what you read/watch/ and hear on the news. At a certain threshold of saturation, information often turns into a loop that generates anxiety, which undermines your well-being. Try only checking for updates occasionally, instead of a constant stream of fear coming at you and clogging up your mind.
6. Avoid fatalistic thinking – we are adaptable and our society will be able to adjust.
7. Maintain self-care and healthy habits – we tend to forget these things in times of stress, and it can effect our mood negatively when we do, so make an extra effort to keep them up.
8. Use your coping strategies – now is the time to put them into action. Do what works for you. It can be grounding techniques, visualizations, deep breathing, meditation, exercise, laughter, aromatherapy, etc.
9. Give back – help others when able. There’s lots of vulnerable people in need right now who could use your help, no matter how big or small. And, helping others and giving back has a direct positive effect on our mood and well-being. One family in my neighborhood is practicing Social Distancing done Right!! They invited everyone on their street out to their driveways at 5pm every night to check in. Last night they brought tea and wine (and a tablecloth) and yelled across the street waving. They call it “Signs of Life” and will do it this every night and they want it to spread around the community. We have to look out for each other because we are all in this together.
10. Talk it out – use your support system(s) and/or talk to your therapist if you are struggling with your mood during this pandemic. Larry Borins Counselling Services offers VIRTUAL COUNSELLING via phone and/or secure video platform such as ZOOM for increased safety for those who are symptomatic and/or practicing social distancing. It’s our civic responsibility to slow the pandemic down with social distancing and the practice of good hygiene. Using technology to stay connected -AND at a distance will allow for the provision of necessary patient care while reducing the risks of unnecessary exposure to both patients and the public. Social distancing is the most important thing we can each do right now to flatten the curve.
Remember, if you have traveled abroad (including US), are presenting with symptoms (ie: cough, fever, difficulty breathing) or have been in contact with someone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19: please stay home, self-isolate yourself, and contact your local public health authority for further guidance.