How to Keep Sane in a Time of Pandemic
Choosing Low Stress Over Panic
It can seem like everyone and their dog are rushing to the supermarket, mass retailer or grocery store to stock up on household items like “the big one” earthquake is going to happen tomorrow. While prevention is the best intervention, there is also a fine line between preparation and panic purchasing. This blog will provide some simple tips to keep calm amid the current upheaval across the globe.
Get Real About Your Risk
Identifying Protective Factors and Risk Factors
- Sufficient sleep
- Good nutrition (lots of fruits and vegetables)
- Exercise regularly
- If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing). Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is an option if soap and water aren't available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick
- If you have travelled out of the country (even for cheese or fuel), stay at home for 14 days to make sure no symptoms arise
Give More to Yourself to Get More From Yourself
Self-care (Put Your Mask on First)
Yes, self-care gets a mention as a protective factor and has its own dedicated section. The idea of giving more to yourself to get more from yourself is like the phrase: you can’t pour from an empty cup. “When you’re calm, rested, and energetic, you’re better able to deal with challenging circumstances” (Gretchen Rubin).
At these times, we might be caring for our loved ones, coworkers, colleagues and clients. It’s important to remember to put your mask on first. Many people in helping professions and helping positions are running themselves ragged, working tirelessly to help sick people to recover. Dedication to your job at this level is admirable, it’s honourable, and I also want to encourage people who have the privilege to consider the level of care others are getting if you’re not feeling 100% or even 50%. If you have the opportunity and capacity to reduce your load, please take the opportunity to give back to yourself.
Love Thy Neighbour (From a Safe Distance)
Social Interest During Pandemic
Ground Yourself in the Reality of the Situation
Relaxing at Home
- Practice a calm place visualization
- Relaxing breath: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds
- Use calming scents, like peppermint, vanilla or lemongrass in the home (or whatever smell you prefer)
- Play calming visuals
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation
Stay At Home/Stay Sane Plan
Activities to Avoid Cabin Fever!
- Take a break from the news to reduce your stress and anxiety
- Plan a bucket list
- Have a movie night
- Re-make your favourite movie scenes with your family, pets or solo!
- Plan a scavenger hunt at home
- Pick up hobby that you’ve let go of
- Read some fiction (escape reality!)
- Master a card trick
- Play some board games
- Catch up on podcasts
- Practice baking
- Try a new recipe
- Play an instrument
- Spring clean your closet
- Try the KonMari method
- Plan an indoor picnic with your partner
- Spa day at home
Have a virtual hangout with your friends
Host a virtual dance-off on Instagram or Facebook live
Have a virtual dinner party- your home, your own meal, your favourite guests--virtually!
Anxiety is a normal response to a possible danger so try not to feel anxious about feeling anxious. Taking breaks from news media and asking your loved ones to change the conversation topic is totally acceptable. This can help you set boundaries to reduce your stress. Take action to reduce your stress by increasing your protective factors and talking with others. If you aren't feeling better after talking to your loved ones, consider talking with a counsellor. Virtual and telephone sessions will be available.
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