Over the past year, we have experienced a great deal of uncertainty related to COVID-19. What stage of the framework are we in now? What can we do at this stage? Who is eligible for the vaccine and when? Etc.
This ongoing uncertainty and rapid change can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in yourself or a loved one, whether they are an adult or child. We have been asked to follow public health measures, which can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. These measures can also make us feel lonely and isolated, stressed and anxious.
If we can learn to cope with our feelings in a healthy way, it can help us, and the people we care about, to become more resilient.
Some of the symptoms people may be experiencing right now can include:
· Feelings of fear, worry, anger, frustration, sadness, or numbness.
· Changes in appetite (eating more or less).
· Changes in energy levels (decrease slinked to apathy or increases corresponding to hyperactivity).
· Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
· Interruptions in sleep patterns(difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, nightmares).
· Increased experience of physical symptoms (headaches, body pains, stomach problems).
· Worsening of chronic or mental health problems.
· Increased use of substances (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, or other substances).
If you have noticed these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to know that these symptoms are a normal reaction to stress. Here are some helpful ways to cope.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
· Eat well-balanced meals mostly composed of whole foods
· Engage in movement daily
· Prioritize sleep
· Avoid the use of excessive alcohol, tobacco, or other substances
· Continue with any other preventative health measure
Including these behaviours into your daily life can help strengthen your mind and body to deal with everything life is throwing at you. Taking time for yourself is essential for your mental and physical well-being. To be at your best at work and at home, carving out even 15 minutes per day will help you achieve so many benefits (more energy, revitalized mindset, etc.). Med-I-Well Services provides support for individuals and organizations through 1-on-1 coaching and implementing comprehensive workplace wellness programs. If you are interested in taking better care of yourself and/or your employees, please reach out to us to see the various customized services we can provide to meet your needs.
LIMIT YOUR MEDIA CONSUMPTION
It might be very tempting to watch, read, or listen to the news about COVID-19, but limiting our exposure to news communications can be helpful. Be aware of how you feel after watching the news- is this helping you lead a productive, healthy day, or not? Are you watching it before bed and it is disturbing your sleep? It’s important to be informed and check in with recent developments. However, if it is having negative effects on your well-being then it might be worth changing these behaviours. Also, always make sure that your information is coming directly from a reputable source. Limit the time you spend on these activities within a day and set a curfew for yourself. Avoid watching it before bed. Grab a book or talk with a loved one.
DO THINGS YOU ENJOY
Make time for things that you enjoy doing. This can be a good distraction, but also create some joy and fulfillment in your day. Life has changed a lot for many of us over the past year. You might have more time now than ever before to try new activities. Have you explored all the beautiful hiking or biking trails in the city? Is it time to dust off your woodworking tools or try your hand at landscaping? Feel free to reach out to Med-I-Well to access our Family Health Playbook- full of tons of activities you can consider doing with your family.
FIND WAYS TO CONNECT
Physical distancing does not mean social isolation. It’s important to find ways to connect with others who are important to you. You may also want to consider talking with people you trust about how you are feeling. Additionally, consider connecting with your community- or faith-based organizations. Even though we can’t be together in person, we can connect using online platforms, telephone, email, mail, or through social media.
REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT
If you are struggling to cope, there are many ways to reach out for help. Sometimes, we just need someone to speak to, someone to be a listening ear, or provide some unbiased support. You can call your primary care provider, reach out to Med-I-Well’s Mental Health Coach, or access the variety of community resources available.
During times of extreme stress, some people may have thoughts of suicide. Suicide completion is preventable and help is available in our community and beyond. When in doubt, reach out. Here is a list of contacts for the Sudbury area:
Health Sciences North 24-hour Crisis Line (705) 675-4760
Crisis Services Canada 1-833-456-4566
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 1-855-242-3310
Transgender Crisis Line 1-877-330-6366