A great big list of things that can help you cope while practicing physical distancing and self-isolation
What is the difference between physical distancing and self-isolation?
Physical distancing (also known as social distancing) involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Self-isolation is when you have been instructed to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home. If you are ill, you should be separated from others in your household to the greatest extent possible.
These are stressful times, and it’s safe to say that everyone is feeling some degree of anxiety right now. It’s important to know that it’s ok to be anxious.
“It would be somewhat odd not to have a certain degree of anxiety during a time of such uncertainty,” said Dr. Raj Bhatla, psychiatrist-in-chief and chief of staff at The Royal in a recent interview on TSN Radio 1200. “The anxiety piece is normal. The real question is, how do you cope with the anxiety, and how do you continue to do some of the things that help with anxiety?”
Many of the things we can do to help with our anxiety can be considered self-care. Jillian Crabbe, a social worker at The Royal, says self-care is a powerful antidote.
“Many of us see self-care as an ‘extra’ when we should be seeing it as a prescription for our own wellness and as a tool to help us cope,” says Crabbe, who believes that if we don’t take care of ourselves, it’s very hard to take care of others.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup,” says Crabbe. “If you haven’t filled up your own cup you can’t give anything to anybody else.”
During times of crisis, it’s as important as ever to take care of our physical and mental health and build a strong foundation, so we are better equipped to deal with the stresses and challenges that come our way.
You’re probably already doing this, but make sure you’re getting the latest information from credible sources, such as Ottawa Public Health and primary news outlets. Keep in mind there comes a point when binging on news isn’t helpful anymore, and can even add to our feelings of anxiety. Dr. Bhatla recommends checking your favourite news source once or twice a day and then stepping away from the screen.
Dr. Bhatla has a great tip: why not go for a walk around the block with a friend? As long as you stay at least two metres apart, it’s an opportunity to socialize and squeeze in a bit of fitness. (But please stay at home if you are showing any symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath!) Some other ideas:
Regardless whether you’re the type of person who enjoys a fun series of fitness videos or a Google Hangout with grandma, Dr. Bhatla recommends developing a daily routine that we enjoy to help get through the day-to-day.
How are you dealing with life at home? Have you taken up a new hobby? Dusted off an old one? Reading more? We’d love to hear about it. Share your suggestions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram so we can add them to our growing list.