As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, we are surrounded by a lot of uncertainty and stress. PSHSA Board Member, Psychologist and Founder of the Centre for Trauma Recovery & Growth Dr. Vivien Lee shares a few self-care suggestions to help get us through the next while.
Limit exposure to media.
We want to stay up-to-date, especially with circumstances that can change so rapidly. However, we don't need to spend 10 hours a day online to keep up. Try to limit your media consumption (e.g., TV, online news, social media) to once or twice a day - maximum 15 minutes each time.
It really should be called physical distancing rather than social distancing. Keep in touch with others in whatever ways you can: text, group chat, email, or we can even re-discover the ancient art of talking on the phone.
I realize that all of our routines have been thrown up in the air. That's why it is especially important to keep as much of a routine and structure as we can. For example, waking up and going to sleep around the same time each day, eating meals at the same times. If you normally go to the gym at a certain time, go for a walk in a park or do some exercises at home.
Answer the "what-if"s.
If you feel anxious and find your mind spiralling through never-ending "what if"s, sit down and answer some of them. This can help you to see that (a) the results may not be as catastrophic as we're imagining, and (b) that you can get through it and make a game plan. Example: "What if my kid gets COVID-19?" Then what? "I'll take them to the hospital." Then what? "The doctor will tell me what to do or they will admit them." Then what? "I'll have to ask my mom to take the other kids to her house." Etc, etc.
Feel what you feel.
Sounds super obvious, right? It's not always obvious. No one likes to feel bad or weak or scared. That's okay. You're allowed to feel what you feel. Acknowledge it. Sit with it until it's not as overwhelming. Talk it out. Breathe. Problem solve. You're allowed to feel what you feel.
Take care of yourself first! Then look out for others.