The Coronavirus is currently affecting people worldwide, with implications for financial, emotional, and physical well-being. We are all experiencing difficulties and challenges in different ways in the face of this global crisis, and it is normal to feel scared, confused, and overwhelmed.
The full impact of COVID-19 on our mental health might be unknown yet, but we all know that stress and anxiety have been on the rise globally in the pandemic. It has disrupted people’s sense of normalcy, their sense of ‘self’, their connection to their community, caused financial hardships, highlighted racism and social isolation to name a few effects.
While this is a natural response to the uncertainty of this time, spending too much time focusing on things that are out of control can increase feelings of fear and helplessness. In the midst of a somewhat unpredictable situation, it is helpful to focus on the things that are in our control. Below are some tips and information for responding to coronavirus in a way that promotes well-being and safety.
Covid-Stress is pandemic-related adjustment stress that is challenging functioning in the following ways:
1) Fear of infection and fear of coming into contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus
2) Fear of socio-economic impacts of the pandemic
3) Fear of foreigners for fear of being infected
4) Pandemic-related compulsive checking and reassurance-seeking
5) pandemic-related traumatic stress symptoms.
While these seem legitimate reasons to you, the key is the severity by which they can make everyday your life tasks challenging.
Many have lost a lot in the pandemic- from people to jobs to routines to their sense of self and communities. This experience of grief and loss has been universal but also uniquely personal. Grief can be more painful for some and is experienced in waves. It can be individual for some, for others processed in families and for some in the community.
While grief is a natural reaction to loss, it can store in our bodies as a traumatic experience when it is not adequately processed. This can differ individually depending on your past mental health history, social support, physical well-being, socio-economic factors etc. If you have experienced trauma in the past, those feelings may be brought back by the present situation of the pandemic. Rather than making the grieving process more complex for yourself, you can seek professional support.
Reference: Canadian Mental Health Association
With global concerns around COVID-19, we are thinking of you and your loved ones.
As the full impact of Covid still unfolds, we move towards the ‘next normal’. Since this has been a communally trying experience, it has also highlighted people’s strengths and made them more open and vulnerable about their challenges. While we move towards healing collectively, we also need our personal support system. We understand and empathize with Covid related distress and are here for support.
We provide walking therapy in outdoor and natural settings where you can decide the level of distance you are comfortable with.
For those not comfortable to return to in person counselling, our counsellors are offering remote sessions in the form online video platforms, such as Doxy.me, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.
Free platforms such as Zoom Doxy.me do not require any set up, software, or accounts to utilize and are secure and do not store any of the video chats in any way. One thing to note is that due to the nature of online communication, it is not possible to ensure the same degree of confidentiality as in-person counselling. However, your counsellor will do all that is in their power to ensure that you have a private and confidential space.
Remember that your counsellor is still there for you as a support and can connect with you with greater flexibility during this time. Having someone to reach out to and a space to process all the feelings that may be coming up for you can help make this feel more manageable and give you a sense of connection is particularly important at this time.
It is all too easy right now to get lost in worries about your own health, your loved ones and your country. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and accept them as they show up, while trying not to get lost and overwhelmed by them.
One thing that can help is to focus on things that are in your control. Asking yourself what is in your power to do, to help yourself or others, can give a sense of direction and engagement and also gives you something to focus on.
Worries about the future can bring extra stress and compromise our ability to cope. Simply bringing your attention to the present moment can give you a chance to detach from those worries, even if just temporarily. Paying attention and being mindful in your daily activities, practicing yoga or meditation or even just taking a moment to check in with how you’re feeling are all great ways of returning to the present.
At a time like this, connection with others is more important than ever. Reaching out to social supports allows you to still feel connected to others and share your experiences. If you feel comfortable, consider sharing how you feel with people you trust. Many communities are still connecting over online platforms and it may be worthwhile to check out events or meetings that interest you as a way of remaining connected and engaged.
Taking care of your body and mind is important right now, and so is having compassion for yourself. Practice self-kindness by checking in with your needs and doing things that nourish and soothe you.