Tips to keep yourself healthy
It is important to remember that what you are experiencing right now is normal reactions that people have when they are in abnormal situations. This is not a “business as usual” time, and you should not expect yourself to feel “normal” or to be able to focus on work the way you normally can. During a long-term emergency activation, people go through a wave of emotions from; fatigue, anger, sadness, a sense of falling behind and in this case, the fear of possibly having a family member that might be affected by Covid-19. Additionally, having your spouse/partner and kids at home adds additional stress to the family unit.
You may experience a range of reactions, varying in degrees of intensity, as the emergency activation continues. Below are some of the common reactions:
- Emotional – fear, anxiety, anger sadness and uncertainty
- Mental – disbelief, loss of concentration, fearful thoughts, forgetfulness and distress dreams
- Physical – numbness, shock, no appetite, fatigue and sleep difficulties
- Behavioural – tearfulness, feeling disconnected, withdrawal, overeating or undereating, procrastinating, increasing tendency to blame and increasing use of alcohol or medication
- Limit screen time – It’s common to expose yourself to media and social media during periods of crisis and emergencies. Take a break from all screens and only get your information from trusted organizations like Health Canada.
- Take a breath and breathe – Find ways to relax and try the breathing technique of four, four, four.Expand your abdomen as you breathe to the count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, and slowly exhale to the count of four.
- Laugh – Laughter triggers the release of endorphins that improve your well-being and it’s contagious… pass it on. Find ways to make yourself laugh.
- Practice positivity – Focus on the good things in your life. It’s easy to get caught up in negativity. It can be helpful to journal or write a list of things you are thankful for each day.
- Take the time to talk – Talk about your physical and emotional reactions with someone close to you like a friend, partner or loved one.
- Practice those disciplines that ground, calm, and nourish you – If you meditate, pray, practice yoga, write, draw, read, cook… continue to do these things if you can. This is a time to do more of those sorts of things, not less.
- Get some fresh air – Being outdoors in nature boosts endorphins and improves mental wellbeing. Even if it is in your own yard or neighbourhood while practicing social distancing, it is important to get outside.
- Exercise – Exercise is a great stress-busting tool. Physical activity increases production of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It can also help you sleep better.
- Eat well – Stress drains your body of energy so you need to nourish your body with good nutrients. This means eating fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and lean meat.
- Be aware of your mental health – If you are feeling stressed or anxious and it is interfering with relationships or work, reach out to your groups Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a mental health professional. It is okay to ask for help.