COVID-19 Resources: Tips to Navigate Isolation and Stress
Life has definitely been different the past couple of weeks, as we continue to navigate the changes in our world. I have been reflecting on ways to support our community, as we adjust to our new schedules, routines, means of connection and the emotions elicited by this pandemic.
There is no right or wrong way to feel about COVID-19: the range of responses to this type of crisis is vast. It is an angst-provoking and stressful situation for a lot of people. That is why it is so important to stay emotionally connected, to take care of yourself, and to ask for help when you need it.
The following article provides some suggestions on how to stay informed, stay connected, stay calm and to stay grounded. I’ve included sections on how to maintain your health during this period, where to obtain reliable information about COVID-19, and ways to bring humour and laughter into your life.
Our collective stress levels are high. It’s important that you are able to find some space and to show kindness to yourself and those around you. Here are some free resources to help manage stress and anxiety:
- Headspace – is offering free access to meditations to help with stress, feeling overwhelmed and anxiety. This is one of my favourite meditation apps. I find their content relevant, relatable and easy to follow.
- Meditate with Oprah and Chopra – In light of COVID-19, Chopra and Oprah are offering a free meditation series, called Finding Hope in Uncertain Times.
- Carmelle LeMaistre – is a local acupuncturist. She has been creating some great videos on ways to reduce of the “nervous system overload”/stress we are all experiencing. You can find her videos on her website or instagram account.
- Take breaks. While having a schedule is good, remember to give yourself breaks to breathe and process.
If you are struggling with mental health and would like emotional support, please know that you can contact the 310-Mental Health Hot Line at 310-6789 (no area code needed).
Stay connected with friends, family and your community, over the phone, or online. Social distance does not mean emotional distance. Let’s keep being there for eachother.
What To Do If You Think You Have COVID-19.
The BC Ministry of Health developed a great self-assessment tool that will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.
If you require further guidance, call your healthcare provider, or you can call 811 to speak with HealthLink BC.
For reliable, accurate information regarding COVID-19, visit the BCCDC website. Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30am – 8pm, 7 days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
How To Discuss COVID 19 With Your Child Or Teen.
This is a stressful time and COVID-19 can be a difficult topic to discuss with your children. Here are some recommendations from the experts:
Children – Dr. Elizabeth Stanford, head of psychology at BC Children’s Hospital, published a great blog article on how to discuss COVID-19 with children. Additional resources include:
- How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus – New York Times
- How to Talk to Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus – Psychology Today
Teens – Foundry, a province-wide network of integrated health and social service centres for young people ages 12–24, has published a great guide for youth. They have additional resources on their website.
Maintain Those Grade–A Hygiene Habits and Stay Home
- Stay Home – Social distancing is making a difference in British Columbia in “flattening the curve” and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Social or physical distancing means that you should try to keep about 2 meters (6 feet) from one another when you can while outside your home. By practicing social distancing and staying home, you are helping protect not only yourself, but others too.
- Wash your hands – As Dr. Bonnie Henry said: “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts.” This means washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap (including your palms, back of each hand, between fingers, thumbs and under nails).
It’s easy to feel cooped up when indoors all day. Here are some great free online resources to keep you moving:
- Forge Gym – this is the local gym (Downtown Victoria) where I attend classes. In response to COVID-19, Forge is providing free classes online throughout the week. You can also access their YouTube videos here.
- One Yoga – a Vancouver and Victoria based yoga studio is offering free classes and meditations over Instagram live. I am a fan of this studio and am grateful for these wonderful classes. Check out their Instagram for more information.
- Genieve Burley – is yoga instructor and chiropractor. She is offering free, live yoga sessions via her Instagram account. I highly recommend her classes! Check out her instagram for class information.
- Coach Connor – based out of Club Row in Vancouver has a series of high intensity interval training videos on YouTube. This is a great option for a quick 30-minute workout that will get your heart-rate up!
Sleep is perhaps one of the most underrated ways you can support your immune system and manage stress. In an article I wrote for Fare & Flourish titled “It’s not just beauty sleep” I explained how sleep is essential for optimal immune function. Here are my top sleep hygiene tips:
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule, particularly a regular wake-up time in the morning
- Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
- Avoid alcohol near bedtime (eg, late evening)
- Avoid smoking or other nicotine intake, particularly during the evening
- Adjust the bedroom environment as needed to decrease stimuli (eg, reduce ambient light, turn off the television or radio)
- Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens (laptops, tablets, smartphones, ebooks) before bedtime (2-3 hrs before)
- Exercise regularly for at least 20 minutes (preferably more than four to five hours prior to bedtime)
- Avoid daytime naps, especially if they are longer than 20 to 30 minutes or occur late in the day
- Keep your room cool
Illustration by Freepik
Food and Cooking
If you’re self-isolating, it can be difficult to get groceries and make meals for the week. A number of local businesses in Victoria have stepped up to the plate (excuse the pun) and are offering delivery services. Here are some great local food options:
- Truffles Catering – have a great menu of affordable meals, which cater to different dietary concerns (i.e. gluten free, vegetarian), and some can be frozen. Check out their menu here.
- SPUD.ca – offers local and organic groceries. You can order online.
- Fare & Flourish – Chelsea and I, at F&F, are striving to provide recipes that can be made in large batches and are easily modified. You can follow us on our blog or on Instagram for more food/recipe inspiration.
Creativity and Humour
Some of us have a bit more time on our hands. Rather than spending more time on your phone, try learning something new and being creative. Here are some of my favourite online resources for classes:
- SkillShare – this site has an impressive array of classes, ranging from animation and photography, to business analytics. They are currently advertising a free trial.
- Lynda.com – is an online learning platform providing classes on business, software, technology and creative skills. They are currently offering a free month subscription. Take advantage of the down-time, and learn something new!
It’s important to find moments to laugh. Here are some articles, instagram accounts and websites that I’ve found provide a little comic relief:
- Hilarious Humanitarian Instagram Account
- New Yorker Mag Instagram Account
- The Guardian – Coronaviral: the best memes, tweets and cartoons to get you through
Stay safe everyone.
I hope this guide provides some useful tips and resources. I am available through telemedicine for new and existing clients. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I will continue to keep you updated as we navigate these interesting times together.