Well, we made it through the long weekend.
I would like to thank everyone who maintained self-isolation. I know that it’s so hard not to be with family and friends on special occasions, particularly if there is a feast.
I just wanted to check in with you all to make sure you’re doing alright. We have never had to deal with this type of a situation before. It’s not unusual to feel anxious, depressed or frightened at this time. Emotions may come out as annoyance or anger. Please be kind to yourself and others, we can work this out together.
At this trying time, all of the tried-and-true stress management strategies apply. Eat healthy meals, get plenty of sleep and meditation can be helpful. The following are additional actions you may want to try:
- Stay Informed – Insufficient or contradictory information may intensify anxiety. Only use reliable sources of information. (i.e. nawash.ca, publichealthgreybruce.on.ca, canada.ca)
- Information Overload – limit the time taken to seek information about COVID-19. Information overload can aggravate your reaction to stress, anxiety and depression.
- Connect with Others – all of us need reassurance, advice or a sympathetic ear during difficulty times. But be careful who you choose as a sounding board. Avoid talking about the virus with people who tend to be negative or who reinforce and ramp up your fears. Turn to people in your life who are thoughtful, level-headed and a good listener.
- Be Kind To Yourself – this is an extraordinarily taxing time. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You are allowed to feel the way you do. You’re not alone in your struggles.
- Breathe – if you feel yourself starting to spiral out of control, grounding yourself in the present moment can stop the negative spiral. The technique is simple: bring your attention to your breath and your body. Focus all of your attention on the here and now: noticing the sights, sounds and smells around you. Continue to breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer.
- Maintain a Routine – try to stick to your usual routine; go to bed at your regular time, get up at your usual time and make your bed, eat your meals at your regular time (avoid excessive snacking), feed the pets or take your dog out for a walk as you would usually do.
- Get Out in Nature – sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Going for a short walk can make you feel better. Even just sitting on the porch can help.
- Exercise – staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress and manage your mood. You can look for exercise videos on line such as, yoga, tai chi, stretching exercises.
- Find a New Hobby – have you always wanted to learn to bake, paint, sing? It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it takes you out of your worries.
- Avoid Self-Medicating – be careful that you’re not using alcohol, food or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it in the best of times, it may be a good idea to avoid it for now.
If you feel that you really need to talk to someone, the following services are available:
- SOAHAC – will provide counselling to their registered clients
- Victim Services – are available 24 hours daily, providing counselling over the phone or by video chat.
- Mental Health Crisis Line – is available 24 hours daily, providing caring and non-judgmental support
Stay strong! You can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, we’ve got this.
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse