During this current time of crisis, it is important to understand how to manage many things in order to survive and thrive. Navigating the requirements of isolation, limiting your exposure to others, ascertaining necessities, and managing illness during this time can be stressful and confusing.
While there does not seem to be an enormous number of cases in our area at this current time, BC’s Health Officer Bonnie Henry and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau have made it clear that all Canadians have a part in staying home as much they possibly can in order to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the virus.
We have all watched as China and Italy’s infected and death rates have climbed over the last few months, certainly not something we want to see here.
Everyone is affected by this situation and in a great variety of ways. For many, work in an office is no longer an option at this time and they have been sent home to work, others have been laid off, and there are those who are on the front lines as doctors, nurses and paramedics who are at risk of exposure to this virus every day. Many families are working through issues surrounding children are not able to attend school in the coming weeks, and that affects parents who may work outside of the home.
For many who were already at home most of the time, as in the case of seniors, those who are retired or perhaps home due to a disability, may come an extreme sense of isolation. It may be that these people were not going out much, and now are not able to go out at all. Those who are home alone can no longer have friends and companions come to visit, leaving those who were already somewhat isolated feeling very vulnerable and lonely.
The biggest emotion in this situation seems to be fear. Fear is almost always caused by a lack of knowledge and understanding, or when a lot of focus is on what the media is feeding us.
How can we overcome this sense of fear? Your mindset during this time will be the most important tool you have.
First, we would suggest limiting your time focussing on all that the mainstream media has to say about this virus. One source will say one thing and another, something else. People who are sitting on social media all day and watching the news will begin to feel overwhelmed with all that is being reported, what information is being contradicted and this is not good for anyone’s state of mental health. A good mindset is what is going to help anyone pull through this time.
Chose a time of the day that works for you, if you wish, and make that your time to check in on the latest information with respect to the provincial news.
With respect to distancing, a really unfortunate term was introduced to represent what the general population should be doing. They are calling it “social distancing”, but what it really should be called is “physical distancing”. Yes, people need to be keeping their physical distance, but there should be no need to be antisocial. With everyone keeping their distance, this is an important time for those who are staying home to be able to reach out for support from their friends and their families.
Options for continuing social interaction at this time include Facebook messenger (watch out for the newsfeed on Facebook as you will find it includes everyone’s opinion on the matter, both positive and negative and it may not be the best space to spend too much time in currently). Call your friends and loved ones, Facetime if you have a smartphone with that capability, Zoom offers an option to meet online for free, as does Skype . Find an online game (like Scrabble) where you can compete with others and interact safely. You can take a virtual tour to various museums in the world and see many other worldwide attractions all from the comfort of your home.
Find ways that can help you take your mind off the current situation. Read a book, learn a new hobby, take an online course for free from places like Khan Academy, Udemy, and Open University.
The most important thing to remember is to do your best to stay calm and occupied with other things at this time.
Below we have included some links to important information to keep you updated as well – will keep this list updated as new information comes in:
Public Agency of Canada Information Line: 1-833-784-4397
BC Public Health Authority or call 8-1-1
Government of Canada Public Health Services (updates and information, offers an online assistant)
If you are a senior in immediate need of help you can call 2-1-1 or visit BC211
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis Mental Health Commission