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  • Writer's pictureCoralee Shaman LPN

Five strategies to keep your spirits up

I knew containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) would be challenging, but I did not see a global pandemic coming. When friends and clients travelled in January and February, I told them to carry hand sanitizer and moisturizer and to use them frequently on flights and in airports. I was aware of the risks, but I am an optimist. I thought this would be the year of clear vision, not hindsight is 20/20.

As I write, The Public Health Act just took effect. Public gatherings are now limited to no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises. All retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must ensure separation of one to two metres between patrons. Anxiety runs high as we strive to flatten the curve. Many of you may also feel isolated, especially if you live alone and now work from home. Keeping our spirits up isn’t easy, but it’s possible. I am not a psychologist, but I have been a nurse long enough to know what strategies get people through tough times.

1. Maintain a routine.

Many of us had routines such as go to the gym before or after work. Do laundry Tuesdays and Thursdays. Grocery shop for the week on Saturday. We can’t keep our exact routines because gyms are closed and we will want to change our grocery shopping trips to the least busy times, but we can still stick to routines with some creativity. A brisk walk in which we practise social distancing can replace the morning gym routine. A set time to watch a movie on a Saturday night can replace live entertainment or social outings. You get the idea. Routines will give our lives some normalcy during this unprecedented time.

2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.

Exercise can help combat anxiety and depression. Exercise also helps boost immunity. Many of us miss the structure of our gym workouts or yoga studios, but there are some great home workouts that you can do at home. For example, I highly recommend putting on your favourite tunes and rocking out. If you have gym equipment, you could pump iron. Many gyms and yoga studios are now using Zoom for classes. To keep a regular workout schedule, I’ve been tuning into live videos that happen at the same time every day. There are some free workouts available Facebook, and of course, you can also find Fit Club videos on their Facebook page and on their website.

Find what works for you and keep moving!

3. Use technology to stay connected.

Nothing beats getting together in the flesh. That will happen again if we commit to social distancing now. Stay connected on social media and FaceTime family and friends. Twenty-first-century technology offers us different options to connect.

4. Stay informed, but don’t let COVID-19 news consume you.

I know people who are glued to the news. They watch hours of COVID-19 coverage every day. Although it’s important to stay informed, it’s equally important to take mental breaks. Set a limit of what you consider a reasonable amount of time and when you reach that limit, stop!

5. Be kind to yourself.

Self-care is crucial right now. That means taking every reasonable precaution to protect yourself from COVID-19, but it also means being extra kind. If you eat comfort foods and put on a few pounds, don’t worry about it! If you struggle with mood swings, don’t beat yourself up over it. There is no playbook for how to deal with a pandemic. The only thing I ask of you is that you be kind to yourself.

Stay safe my friends! I miss you all so much and I’m always here to help.

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