Ten tips to support yourself and your loved ones through COVID-19
By Shirley Porter, M.Ed., RP, RSW
Counsellor, Fanshawe College
1 Everyone responds to crisis in a different way.
Acknowledge that the changes and uncertainty we are living through take a toll on each of us in different ways—and that is okay.
2 Some will feel more tired and will need more sleep.
If that is how your body copes, allow yourself to have more rest.
3 Introverts and extroverts may have different responses to social isolation.
Introverts will tend to be more comfortable with social isolation than extroverts are. Extroverts will likely need more contact—through texts, phone calls, and online video chats. If you are an introvert, reach out to your extroverted friends. If you are an extrovert, schedule time to connect with friends and loved ones—through virtual means—on a daily basis.
4 Physical activity can help to cope with and reduce the physical feelings of stress.
Go for a walk (of course, while maintaining social distancing). There are many free videos online to help you with yoga or other workouts that you can do from home. If you can do 20 minutes of physical activity a day, it will likely help to reduce your stress level.
5 Limit your exposure to news and social media to a certain amount of time, once or twice a day—but not before bed.
Exposing yourself to pandemic-related information all day long can add to your stress level and make it difficult to focus on other things.
6 Lower your productivity expectations.
We are living through an unprecedented time. It continues to take energy to adjust to our changing realities. We will not have the usual amount of energy and ability to concentrate that we did prior to the pandemic. This is normal.
7 Compassion goes a long way.
Choose to behave with compassion and kindness toward others and yourself.
8 During moments when you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself:
What is being asked of me in this moment?” or “What can I do to help myself through this moment?”
9 Focus on small tasks that you can complete in a short time period.
If you are feeling like too many things that are happening are outside of your control, focus on small tasks that you can complete in a short time period, such as organizing a drawer, cleaning a closet or doing laundry. Completing these types of tasks can provide you with a sense of control and accomplishment—which might provide a bit of relief.
10 Remember that we are together in this.
Our communities are pulling together to support each other. Fanshawe counsellors continue to be available to students. Employee assistance counselling is available to employees. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to talk. We will get through this together
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