Education, Vaccine


Together Despite the Distance

Dear Friend & Colleague,

I hope you’re safe, healthy and coping well in these very strange and unique times that we’re living through.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, panicking, concerned about your health or the health of loved ones, worried about your job, or school, you’re not alone.

Despite the distance, we remain together as human beings – as global citizens. We are in this together.

I am inviting you to explore and perhaps consider 10 coping strategies that may be helpful amidst the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis or other fears:

1. THOUGHTS: Practice slowing down your thoughts – don’t panic because of statistics. They are averages and not applicable to each individual.

2. FACTS: Identify facts from fiction to address the anxiety and internal fear.

Toronto Public Health and WHO websites are reliable sources. Don’t believe or check out all social media posts.

3. MEDIA: Don’t be too obsessed with the media – check in but not always.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it.”

4. FOCUS: Stay calm & focused on the positive , e.g., practice relaxed breathing, yoga etc.

5. POSITIVE: Practice maintaining positive energy through laughter, music, poetry, reading etc.

6. STRESS-FREE: Manage stress via meditation, short breaks, reflections, writing. Do what you’re good at etc.

7. MOVE: Move your body – take short breaks, exercises, walks etc.

8. GRATITUDE: Practice gratitude by checking on neighbours, friends and family.

9. CHEER-UP: Cheer up someone else by a random act of kindness e.g., grocery shopping for those who are physically unable.

10. REST: Make the most out of your self-isolation (not social distancing) with a good sleep.

The above strategies may help transform your fears into hope and optimism.

Stay safe, stay strong, and continue to believe in yourself and others.

With strength, safety and solidarity,

Henry Luyombya & View Global Services team
Toronto, ON
March 18, 2020

Mental Health and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Source: Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH)

1. I have a friend who can’t stop talking about COVID-19 and wants to process worst case scenarios. How do I deal with this?
Sometimes sharing stresses with colleagues, friends or family members can be helpful. However, be mindful that others may be feeling very stressed or anxious themselves, and may not be coping well. Hearing about your anxieties may make them more anxious.

When others share information with you, their facts may not always be accurate — keep this in mind when you hear something about the virus that is not endorsed by Health Canada or the World Health Organization. You may want, as much as possible, to limit contact with people who seem to have difficulty talking about anything but COVID-19 and worst-case scenarios.

2. How do I talk to my children about COVID-19 and its impact?
This time may be very challenging for children and adolescents, some of whom might not understand the reasons for school closures and the cancellation of extracurricular activities. In addition, they are likely to be bombarded with information through social media and from their friends that can cause anxiety and alarm.

Young people may also sense the anxiety of their parents, and worry about their own health and that of other family members. For example, young children may not understand why they can no longer hug a grandparent.

3. How can I support a loved one who is very anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic?

Everyone responds differently to the effects of a pandemic. If you have a family member or friend who is worried or scared, try to listen to and empathize with them. Some people may want to vent their fears or anger at the situation, while others may want to problem solve.

With the person’s permission, share the facts in a simple and straightforward way and ask how you can help. Stick to the facts and offer them resources if they are open to it. Check in with the person from time to time to make sure their stress levels and mental state are not getting worse. Always keep the lines of communication open.

At the same time, ensure you take care of yourself, and limit the amount of time you devote to supporting others. It is okay to say that you also need a break from fear and anxiety. Sometimes the support may be mutual, in which case it is important to respect each other’s ability to help.

4. How can I deal with feeling lonely while in self-isolation?
Being isolated can be very lonely. Remember though to continue to isolate from your friends and family, to ensure the virus does not spread to others.

5.How do I manage my stress and anxiety while I await my test results?
If you have been tested due to contact with someone or because of your symptoms, waiting for the results can be very anxiety provoking. This may be especially true if you are in self-isolation or quarantine. The results usually are available within a day or two, but this can vary depending on your area. Ask the provider who took the swabs when you should expect the results.

While waiting for the results, focus on what you can do to manage and monitor your symptoms. Most people with COVID-19 have only mild symptoms. In this case, all you need to do is self-isolate for the amount of time you are told. Follow the advice of your health care provider on how to monitor and manage symptoms. Most importantly, follow their instructions on when to go (and when not to go) to the hospital.

6. I feel anxious because I have tested positive for COVID-19. What can I do?
It is normal to feel anxious about being diagnosed with the virus. For your physical and mental health and well-being, you should come up with a coping plan to strengthen your resilience and reduce the impact of this stressful situation. Helpful strategies may involve tackling the problems you are facing in a structured way; changing how you are thinking about what you are going through; or working on skills such as relaxation and mindfulness. Here is a resource that can help you to build your wellness plan.

Researched & Compiled by:
Henry Luyombya

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