Theberge Counselling Inc.

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Covid-19 Losses How to Cope in Time of Crisis

To borrow from Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” To many of you watching the mainstream media, today might feel like the worst of times multiplied by the worst of times.

COVID-19 has created a new challenge for us as a society. As we try to fend off the health impact of this virus, industry has been crippled (retail and the hospitality industry for starters) and there has been a surge of secondary losses that may leave you feeling anxious, lonely, and without hope. Some of the losses you may be experiencing include:

This is an unprecedented time – no one alive today was part of the 1918-19 pandemic and few of us have experienced this level of crisis. When one day you are working and the next you awake facing turmoil and uncertainty, you may find yourself feeling a sense of hopelessness.

Whoever you are, and whatever your situation is, know that YOUR anxiety and feelings are valid. Also, remember that you are not alone! Rest assured, there is hope. We will get through this because humanity is resilient and we have the capability to find balance, support each other, and to restore our communities. Although we cannot control the virus, there are things we can control to help us and our families in the present moment.

3. Take care of your cognitive health.
Loss and anxiety can make us feel like our brains are muddled. People often complain of memory problems and the inability to stay focused. This is a natural and normal way for the brain to insulate us from becoming overwhelmed. Be gentle with yourself at this time. Use lists to remind yourself of commitments and responsibilities. Say no to things that are overwhelming to you right now and allow yourself to spend time in respite from the usual demands of life. Remember that healing takes time, be patient with yourself and with the journey.
4. Take care of your social wellness.
People are social beings, but we are currently being told to practice social distancing. One psychologist lovingly reframed it as physical distancing. Even though it may not be possible to be physically present to each other, we still need ways to find support. Facetime, Skype or some other online video platform, phone calls, emails, texts, and even old-fashioned letters are all methods to reach out and fill our need for social connection.
If you live with others, take this opportunity to spend some playful quality time together. As Stuart Brown once said, “The opposite of play is not work, it is depression.” Focus on the present moment and make each moment count. This is especially important if you have children in your home. Children need to feel safe and they will take their cues from you. Play games, do a puzzle, colour, pet the dog, go for a walk, sing, dance, or have a picnic on the floor. Rediscover your own inner child and let your imagination soar!
And don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and acquaintances just to say hello. You may be pleasantly surprised to hear the joy in the voice of friends who you haven’t spoken to in awhile. If you can muster a smile, you may find that it comes through to the recipient. If this is too difficult, write an email. If an email is too difficult, you might want to just write yourself a friendly note that you can place on your mirror with something as simple as “Good morning, how are you doing? I love your smile.”

Your wellness is vital. Take care of yourself and your family. Remember to pace yourself, be patient with yourself, and if possible, try to mix in some fun along the way. Let’s not let the panic of COVID-19 define us. Hold on to the hope and promise that together we will persevere, and we will heal.