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Survive in the Trenches of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic landed on us like a ton of bricks. Uncertainty about how we emerge from this pandemic is causing anxiety, depression, stress and downright panic. Concerns remain about opening up safely and the potential of a second wave of infection.

Losses related to COVID-19, have been various and devastating. Families are reeling from the death of loved ones and are in pain. Individuals are grieving the loss of their businesses, incomes, jobs and normalcy in their lives. Women are especially feeling burnout from unequal housework and care giving. These experiences can result in anxiety, stress, depression and anger. Regardless of the state of events, approaches that motivate people to cope, become resilient, resurface in high spirits and inspired to exist in a new normal are necessary.

Here are some suggestions to help you survive in this restricted environment.

1. Protect and take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Also, reduce caffeine and alcohol intake. Don’t neglect grooming and self care. Enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air while still adhering to strict preventative measures. Stay safe by practising social -distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Call your Doctor’s office or Telemedicine for further direction, if you have a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, dry cough, or if you generally feel unwell. Ontario has recently announced the location of test centres, where one can get tested for the COVID-19 virus, if needed.

2. Stay in touch with family and friends. Communicate often by phone, video, emails, and text messaging to lessen isolation and keep you connected. Connect with employees or colleagues virtually for “shout outs”, meetings or classes.

3. “Zen up” to calm down. Practice mindfulness by connecting to nature, for instance. Be at one with nature and draw from its healing powers. Find tranquil scenic areas of tress, mountains, rivers or lakes and lose yourself in their healing and calming abilities. Enjoy purposeful, undisturbed bird watching. Delight yourself from their interaction and calm yourself down. Meditate regularly and practice deep breathing exercises. Listen to very soft, soothing music in a quiet bedroom setting. Get a massage. Cut back on the news and social media engagement. Only use reliable sources of information. ‘Infodemic’ is real. Engage in hobbies and continue practising your religious beliefs. Stay spiritual.

4. Remain strong. Maintain a positive self esteem. Reinforce positive self talk when feelings of hopelessness begin to creep up on you. Validate yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have realistic expectation of others. Keep a daily gratitude journal and record what you are grateful for. Have a written plan on what actions you will take to help you cope when you are in distress. Activities such as going for daily walks, or listening to favourite music are great ways to cope. Treat others with respect and fairness. Stand up for others when you witness them being treated unfairly.

A new attitude and a determined response are key to surviving in the trenches of the covid-19 pandemic. Knowing how to overcome stress, anxiety, grief and panic associated with the pandemic, helps you cope effectively, stay in control and motivated to find new solutions to your situation. It’s time to come out of the rain. Resurface. Get happy.

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