Health & Wellness Blog

Social Distancing

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Social Distancing
by Jenny Fabian and Molly Riedel

By now we all know that "social distancing" means maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others. On Monday, Governor Northam issued a stay-at-home order which can be found here.  Despite this executive order, you may have noticed that not everyone is abiding by the rules.  It can be maddening to witness others who choose not to follow the governor’s executive order and even more difficult when deciding how to talk to them.  Understanding what they are thinking may help us make sense of their behavior and give us the tools to discuss the topic with compassion and understanding. Check out this article to gain a better understanding of some common "thinking errors," which may be deterrents of social distancing. 5 Bad Reasons Some People Still Aren't Social Distancing

If our country is going to curb the rate of infection, prevent deaths, and minimize suffering, we need the cooperation of everyone - adults and children. You can help by speaking up when you see someone who is not abiding by the executive order. As a Christian, you can firmly advocate for social distancing in a manner that reflects Christ. Consider Colossians 3:12, which says, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (New International Version). 

What do you do if someone comes within your 6-foot bubble of social distancing?

The direct approach with care and compassion works best.  Move away from the person.  If the person moves closer to you, tell the person that you are trying to stay 6 feet away. Remember, it’s better to wait patiently until the person is finished getting that can of peas in the grocery store, before you get your food. 

Joe Carter, the executive pastor at the Mclean Bible Church writes, “Christians are engaging in social distancing as an act of neighbor love. In this situation, your duty as a believer and also as a family member is to provide wise counsel. But you cannot always control whether they heed your counsel. As Proverbs 27:12 says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”  Pastor Carter says it well, “And I get that social distancing will also be hard. But I am always impressed with people’s capacity to respond to adversity.” Believing the best in people.

In the near future, we may all suffer the consequences of their selfish behavior. Yet you will have done your part by trying to persuade them to do the right thing. So be bold and talk to your family (and others) about social distancing—just be sure to do it from six feet away.” https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-to-talk-to-your-family-about-social-distancing/ 

Another way to help others is if you see or hear anything that is false about the virus or its treatment, especially if it’s posted on social media, to state what the truth is and post a link from a reputable source like the Center for Disease Control or World Health Organization, if possible, so people can learn the facts.  Hopefully, this will help people to understand the seriousness of this disease and the need to practice social distancing.

Additionally, blood banks in the area are experiencing a critical shortage of blood products. If you are healthy and want to donate, please read this press release regarding donation during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Posted by Jenny Fabian with

Stress and Anxiety during the COVID-19 Crisis

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Stress and Anxiety Links and Resources

SAMHSA - Substance Abuse, Mental Health Services Administration - a good resource for people in crisis or who need someone to talk to. Check the website for information and tips.

CDC website: The CDC has several great websites and lists out some daily life coping strategies

  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  • Coping Strategies: Things you can do to support yourself
    • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
    • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate external icon. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
    • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
    • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

NAMI- National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf 

  • These are some of the subjects covered in this website.
    • I’m having a lot of anxiety because of the coronavirus. Please help
    • I’m quarantined or working from home – lonely and isolated even further – what can I do?

Happiness Podcast - Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better.

http://podcasts.apple.com  › podcast › the-happiness-lab-with-dr-laurie-santos

Other Websites:

World Health Organization — www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus    

https://onemind.org/news/pandemic-mental-health/ 

https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/ has some videos

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tips-social-distancing-quarantine-isolation-031620.pdf 

https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/covid-19-and-anxiety 

 

More Suggestions from the Canadian Health Department

COVID-19 and Me (From an article by the Canadian Health Department)

Anxiety is a normal reaction to uncertainty and things that may harm us. For many of us, the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness make for a very uncertain future. People worry about their own health and the health of their loved ones, here and abroad. People may also have a lot of concerns around school or work, their finances, their ability to take part in important community and social events and hobbies, and other important parts of their lives. People who already experience a lot of anxiety may find their anxiety worsening.

It's important to be kind to yourself. This is an anxious and stressful time for everyone, and it's okay if you feel more anxious than usual, and it's okay to take time for yourself to manage your mental health. You are doing the best you can in a time when simply turning on the news can feel overwhelming.

While anxiety is a normal and expected reaction to the pandemic, too much anxiety can start to cause harm. Feeling stressed and fearful every day takes a toll on health and well-being very quickly. When anxiety and fear lead to panic, people may also take precautions that ultimately cause disruptions, like demanding a lot of tests or medical care when it isn't necessary or stockpiling certain supplies to the point that those supplies aren't available to people who are sick and need those items.

Anxiety can also cause the opposite reaction: denial or refusing to believe that the situation is serious. Denial is unhelpful. When people deny the severity of a situation in order to avoid anxiety, they may do nothing, even ignoring recommendations from health authorities.

A better place is somewhere in the middle. Coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness are serious and we should be concerned about the situation, but they are not catastrophic disasters. You can use that concern to take positive and protective actions—things like practicing good hygiene, staying home when you feel sick, and having a plan in case you need to self-isolate.

What can I do about coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness?

When you feel anxious and uncertain about the future, it's easy to feel hopeless. Coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness may seem out of your control, but that isn’t entirely true.  Here are some ideas to help you. 

Take action

Taking reasonable action can help you take back control and reduce anxiety. Look to trusted organizations and agencies like the BC Centre for Disease Control, Government of Canada, and World Health Organization for information about steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick or passing the illness on to others. If you are more vulnerable to the coronavirus or are in contact with others who may be vulnerable, talk to your doctor or care team about any additional measures to take based on your own situation.

The coronavirus and COVID-19 illness situation change often, so see the following links for up-to-date information on protecting yourself and staying safe:

Take care of yourself

Eat as well as possible, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and make time for hobbies.

Stay connected with family and friends

Isolating yourself from others, such as staying home from school or working from home for longer periods of time, can affect your mood. Find ways to connect with people you care about in other ways. If you can't see someone in person, you can still reach out by phone, text, or video call.

Help others if you can

People who are more vulnerable to coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness may have to take extra precautions or isolate themselves more than others. Ask friends, family members, or neighbors if they need anything, such as groceries or other household needs. Simply checking in regularly by phone, text, or video call can make a big difference.

Helping others also includes being mindful of the supplies you keep at home. Excessive stockpiling means that your neighbors and other community members no longer have access to those supplies and it increases costs.

Cut back on the amount of time you spend on social media and the news

It's important to be informed, but constantly checking for updates or reading sensationalized stories can really take a toll on your mental health. Stick to trusted, verified news sources and limit yourself if social media or news stories increase your anxiety.

Some people find it helpful to talk through anxiety-provoking situations like coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness, but others may find that conversations make their anxiety worse. If you need to limit conversations, it's okay to tell family, friends, and co-workers that you can't participate. Just make sure you don't ignore all news and important messages—the goal is to take in the information you need and cut down on the excess, not ignore the situation altogether.

Explore self-management strategies

Explore self-management strategies like mindfulness, yoga, meditation, art, or exercise to manage anxious thoughts. You can find self-management strategies for anxiety from Anxiety Canada at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety/anxiety-management-strategies

Have a plan

It's hard to predict exactly what will happen next, but preparing for situations like self-isolation can help reduce some uncertainty about the future. BC residents are advised to keep two weeks of supplies at home in case they have to quarantine themselves. This includes food, household products, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. Don't forget about your mental health: if you practice self-care activities like art, yoga, or exercise, make sure you have supplies or equipment on hand. If you live alone, consider a plan to check in regularly (just not face-to-face) with a friend, family member, or neighbor.(Excerpts above from the Canada Health Department)

Here are some other suggestions to help during this time:

Be easy on yourself: 

Working from home can be a big transition. You might have to deal with feeling many different emotions at the same time – from feeling lonely, sad, grieving your old life, isolated, stressed, frustrated, unmotivated, to possibly relieved, relaxed, energized or productive. That is all OK and normal.

Establish clear guidance on your workspace at home: 

Talk to your family members or people you live with and let them know the hours you’ll be working from home. Set up ground rules to ensure you’re not interrupted during those hours.

Tell your team and family how and when they can reach you: 

If you manage people, it’s important they know your preferred communication tool. Remember that your employees and family can’t just casually pop into your office if they have a question as they used to do. Let them know if they should they use email, Skype, text message -- don’t assume this is clear to everyone. It’s also important to provide the right guidance and boundaries for your employees and colleagues and family. Advise them when it’s best to meet so you can avoid misunderstandings. This will help ease the collaboration, especially if you and your team/ family work in different time zones or different rooms in the house.

Create an old-fashioned To-Do List: 

Write a to-do list each day and cross off what you have achieved at the end of it. This is a good idea for everyone in the house.  Something to talk about at the end of the day.  You’ll be surprised to see how much you achieved in one day. And remember to treat yourself afterwards. What is your favorite treat?

Take scheduled breaks: 

Go for a stroll, walk around your home while chatting on the phone with a friend. Take your lunch somewhere else rather than at your desk. A change of scenery can do wonders to your motivation and your productivity. So, don’t forget to recharge your batteries. Take the family out for a quick walk around the block or back yard.

Look the part: 

This is great advice: wear one set of clothes while you work, and then change into different clothes at the end of your workday. Put on your comfy sweatpants, favorite jeans, or your lounging-about-the-house clothes. This gives a distinction between working and home life. By the way, if you’re not feeling “camera ready” before a call, Zoom has a cool feature that lets you “touch up your appearance” – giving you a smooth complexion with just one mouse click!

Wake-up call: 

Set designated hours to work to give a start and end to your day. In order to abide by your own set of rules, set your alarm an hour before you’re due to shut down so you know this is the point when anything urgent must be finalized. Make sure you shut down your PC -- don’t just set it on sleep mode… This is true for the kids- set the alarm so they know when the home school day is done.

Take time out for a chat: 

Since you won’t be able to bump into your colleagues in the office, lunch room or parking lot, try to make time for your colleagues – text them, call them, share non-related work stories, ask how people are doing. Keep interacting – virtually. 

Have time with the family socially especially during the day.  Structure your day so some of your family has breaks at the same time in order to socialize.  Also try to end the day with the rest of your family and talk about the day.  Maybe go for a walk and share some experiences. 

Humor – every day.

This is a challenging time in our nation and world.  Keeping a sense of humor is vital for our mental health.  There is so much seriousness and tension in our lives that knowing how and when to relieve that anxiety is important.  Start a joke jar and write down your favorite jokes and put the paper in it.  Or find a website of jokes- and share one a day. 

  •  Like: “ Why did the golfer bring two pairs of pants?  In case he had a “hole in one”.  See, you did smile. 

When do you need more help or professional help? 

Seek extra help or support when you need it

People feel anxious about the future at the best of times, and many people have never encountered a pandemic like this before. It's okay if you need help.

Here are some signs you might benefit from extra help and support:

  • You can't think about anything other than coronavirus or the COVID-19 illness
  • Your anxiety interferes in your daily life—for example, you have a hard time going to work or being in public spaces even when the risk is very low
  • You isolate yourself from others when it isn't necessary
  • You feel hopeless or angry about the situation
  • You have a hard time eating or sleeping well
  • You experience physical symptoms like frequent headaches or an upset stomach
  • Consider tele-health or e-health services, online support, and online or app-based self-management tools. You can learn more and find resources. Your doctor's office may also offer tele-health or e-health services.

Pause

You know how best to care for yourself, so do it.  Give yourself permission to stop and read a book or listen to podcast.  Listen to music while working.  Start a new hobby or work on that bucket list.  We as a world have been given time to pause, to evaluate ourselves, our lives and our priorities.  What will you do differently?  What will you give your time and energy to? 

Slow down… observe …breathe…connect with others …reach out to help others….give those worries to God, your higher power. He will take care of us…and smile.

Ben Platt and the cast of Evan Hanson singing, "You will be found": https://www.broadwayworld.com/videoplay/VIDEO-Ben-Platt-Performs-You-Will-Be-Found-From-DEAR-EVAN-HANSEN-on-James-Cordens-HOMEFEST-20200331 

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