Behavioural Strategies for Everyone to Fight COVID-19
(e.g. hand washing, social distancing etc.)
- This can be a very isolating time - it is important to work together to maintain a positive social community with your colleagues to facilitate a collaborative environment. Remember that everybody is feeling lonely and you are not alone! Try talking to colleagues about your experiences and feelings, as they may be experiencing similar hardships.
- While the COVID-19 pandemic imposes restrictions to social support structures, such as schools, places of worship and spending time with friends and family, it is important to make a conscious effort to maintain connections with others during this time.
- Do your best to familiarize yourself with virtual video calling, mobile communication, emailing or text messaging loved ones, family, friends or spiritual leaders. Create a new normal for keeping in touch with loved ones.
- The elderly population is especially vulnerable during this time, especially in adults 60 years or older with pre-existing medical conditions. Depending on your relationship and their health, set up regular phone calls, send letters in the mail or chat with loved ones or neighbours in your community while maintaining social distancing practices.
- In addition, we recognize that some PSPs may also have the additional challenge of acting as caregivers for the elderly in addition to their occupational demands. For more information on caring for the elderly population, visit the following websites: https://ontariocaregiver.ca/covid-19/ or https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-caregiving-for-the-elderly
- While sleeping schedules for PSP may already be unique due to the nature of their work, especially for those working on rotating shifts, they now have the additional challenge of trying to sleep when all family members are in the house due to schools being closed and family members staying/working from home.
- As with any situation, our sleep has a big impact on how we experience stress. Therefore, it is especially critical now to maintain good sleep hygiene and adhere to a sleep schedule as best as you can. This can help optimize your energy and motivation while balancing demands at work and at home.
- Try to avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before going to sleep.
- Try to sleep when you are tired. Sometimes, it can be helpful to listen to podcasts or audiobooks to help you fall asleep, or even free phone applications like Insight Timer and Calm. Try to avoid looking at screens (i.e. TV, computer or phone) before going to sleep, as it can increase difficulty with falling asleep and reduce the quality of sleep.
- If sleeping problems continue to persist during this time and it is starting to interfere with your occupational and social functioning, it is recommended that they contact their family health provider for additional counselling or prescription medication that may assist with these problems.
- While it is important to stay informed with the news right now, try not to spend extended periods of time reading or watching the news, as it can be mentally draining.
- While PSPs should stay informed about COVID-19 and its prevalence in the communities they serve, it is recommended that personnel try to avoid “non-essential” information outside of what is needed to do your job effectively. For example, try to update yourselves with information from Federal, Provincial and Local Public Health Press briefings.
- Try to seek out fact-based information from reliable news sources and do your best to restrict news consumption to predetermined times during the day.
- Examples of Reliable News Sources Include:
- Official Canada COVID-19 Website
- Each province and public health region also have dedicated COVID-19 sections on their respective websites that is regularly updated.
- World Health Organization COVID-19
- “Front Burner” is a daily CBC podcast that includes up-to-date news information related to national events surrounding COVID-19.
Mental Health Support and Additional Resources
- The emotional impact of a crisis can depend on many factors such as pre-existing mental health conditions, the availability of resources, past experiences, and social and economic circumstances. Now is a time to look for opportunities to practice being more patient or kind with yourself, and it is important to try and maintain a positive mindset.
- Remember that this is a unique period human history and it is critical for us to come together to overcome an incredibly difficult and stressful time that impacts all factors in our lives. While this change in our lives is difficult, we, as individuals, can hopefully achieve some personal growth from this experience by proving to ourselves how resilient we are.
- If you find that your stress reactions are significantly interfering in your daily life for several days in a row, please contact your healthcare provider. In addition, for individuals who are/have suffered from pre-existing mental health conditions, consider using the following resources:
|Resource||Description||How to Access|
|Crisis Services Canada||Suicide Prevention and Support.||https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/
Text “Start” to 45645 from 4pm-Midnight
|Canadian Mental Health Association||COVID-19 based tips related to mental health.||https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health|
|Anxiety Canada||Canadian-based anxiety resources that help guide managing stress.||https://www.anxietycanada.com/|
|U.S. National Center for PTSD||Tips for managing stress associated with COVID-19 virus outbreak.||https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/|
|Big White Wall||A free, 24/7 online mental health and wellbeing service that helps people who are dealing with everyday stressors or major life events.||https://www.bigwhitewall.com/?lang=en-ca&from=ca/?lang=en-ca|
|Daily Mindfulness Sessions with Psychiatrists||Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm. The current pandemic is causing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety in our workplace. Drop in and learn short mindfulness practices to help find calm in the midst of challenge. Relax, recharge and learn how to incorporate moments of mindfulness into your day. Optional discussion to follow. From us and for us: No OHIP numbers are required. This is not treatment or therapy.||
with Dr. Diane Meschino
Email: Diane.Meschino@wchospital.ca for more information or simply join the Zoom session: https://zoom.us/j/6132246869; Meeting ID: 613 224 6869