While the focus is on the ‘physical health’ impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, just about everyone is impacted emotionally. At times like this it is common to experience sleep problems, irritability, sadness, anxiety and fear. Those who may be especially vulnerable are people who are living alone, have existing mental health challenges, have family members who are at high risk – or are at high risk for COVID-19 infection themselves.
These 10 tips have been put together by your team at Crowfoot Village Family Practice to help you during this time of stress and after the crisis has passed!
1. Minimize negative media exposure
It is possible to immerse yourself in potentially frightening news coverage 24/7 and this can lead to feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. We recommend you set aside time to stay updated on the current state and use ahs.ca/covid as your source of truth for covid information in Alberta. CVFP, your medical home will send out periodic updates to keep you informed.
2. Maintain a sleep schedule
If you are self-isolating, it’s easy to stay in your jammies, sleep in and power nap through the day. Wake up at a set time and try to go to bed at a regular hour. Minimize those daytime power-snoozes so you don’t impact your nighttime sleep
3. Maintain an eating schedule
It is easy to justify comfort eating and grazing all day long. Try to follow regular meal times and continue to make healthy choices. Remember, it is ok to indulge in some good chocolate once in a while but think portion control and moderation.
4. Do 30 minutes total of physical activity daily
Fresh air is great as Spring threatens to arrive! If you’re going out for walks remember physical distancing and watch those icy sidewalks and roads. There are some excellent online resources for exercising in your home if you prefer. Remember, short frequent activity – say 10 minutes of yoga three times a day, is as effective as 30 minutes of continuous workouts.
5. Connect socially but safely
Your CVFP team encourages you to reach out to others while you are housebound. Texting, emailing, FaceTime and WhatsApp are all ways to reach out to people in your social circle. Even better – reach out to old friends who are likewise practicing physical distancing. Oh yeah…there is also the telephone!
6. Mindfulness and meditation
This can be especially useful for those whose minds are active with incorrigible COVID swirling thoughts – that often start when head meets pillow at night. There are many apps and web-based resources for people to help settle the active mind and focus on the here and now.
Call up the old friend and riminess about happy times, silly adventures or funny stories from the past. Put on a humorous movie or tell a good joke. Laughter remains one of the best medicines – it’s inexpensive, has no side effects and no weight gain!
8. Fan your spiritual flame
If your belief system includes a divine being or faith in something ‘bigger’ than yourself – connect with that part of you and look to this for courage and meaning. Faith is source of strength and peace for many – if you are one who embraces this, it’s time to call on your faith to help guide the path forward.
9. Practice healthy ‘self-nurturing’
What does this look like? Any activity which gives you positive energy and/or takes away stress. Some of our favorites? Walks in the sun. Warm baths. Foot massages from your partner. Belly laughs at funny movies. Losing yourself in a good book. Listening to your favorite music.
10. Do one positive thing a day
Write down one thing you are grateful about. Tell one person why they are special. Say ‘I love you’ to someone who already knows it. Better yet – tell somebody who needs strength that you care about them. Take your dog for a walk, scratch your cat’s chin or colour with the kids.
Together we’ll get through this and welcome the post-COVID adventure to come!
Your CVFP health team is your trusted source of information. We are here for you. For accurate and timely updates on the COVID pandemic please continue to go to myhealth.alberta.ca
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