Polling by Abacus Data on March 25, 2020 found that 75% of Canadian are following news of the COVID-19 outbreak closely and 69% of Canadians are worried. Employers and employees have also entered an uncertain place, worries about business continuity, worries about making ends meet, concern about the stability of employment and whether there will be a job, or indeed, a business to come back to once the pandemic passes. In this time of self-isolation, quarantines and uncertainty, mental health is a significant concern for employees, employers and the public at large.
CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, has provided information on how to cope with stress and anxiety in the time of COVID-19, key suggestions include:
- Accept that some anxiety and fear around the current situation is normal.
- Seek credible information from the WHO, Public Health Canada and your Provincial Ministry of Health.
- Assess your personal risk – check credible sources, use the Ontario Self-Assessment Tool.
- Find a balance between being informed and having a break to prevent information overload.
- Set aside time to unplug from your electronics, social media, and make time to read or exercise instead.
- Deal with anxiety in a structured way, following this guide from CAMH.
- Remember your own resilience and don’t get hung up on the “what if” questions.
- Challenge your worries or anxious thoughts, try working through this exercise from CAMH.
- Decrease the stress of those around you.
- Relax, mediate or do an activity you find enjoyable – or learn a new hobby– there are endless resources online, on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet.
- Seek support from your loved ones via social media and other contactless means of communicating.
- Be kind to yourself and eat healthy foods.
- Avoid the use of substances including smoking, vaping, caffeine, alcohol or cannabis if possible.
- Get proper rest and sleep.
- Stay active.
These tips are helpful to any individual, employer or employee, feeling stressed or anxious. Assessing your mental health and taking good care of yourself will help you and your loved ones come through this difficult time in the best shape possible.