The Omicron variant is causing yet another a rise in COVID-19 cases in Canada, and around the world. Especially among those who are not fully vaccinated. And while the pandemic first took us by surprise, we know more about what to expect.
All this pandemic ‘experience’ may make it easier to adapt. But it may also mean you’re feeling some 'COVID-exhaustion'. Chances are your life has changed in many ways since March 2020. So, if you’re feeling discouraged, remember it's ok to feel how you feel. And then take heart: you likely already have a plan in place to help cope.
It may be reassuring to remember some of the hard-won lessons of the past (almost) two years. And to focus on things you can continue to do to keep yourself, your family and community safe.
Here are 6 things you can do to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Acknowledge that pandemic fatigue is real
Almost two years into the pandemic, you’re likely tired of social distancing, restrictions and working from home. If you’re feeling unusually tired, anxious, fearful or rundown, you’re not alone.
A Sun Life survey found that 60% of Canadians are experiencing mental health issues. Over half of people who are struggling report not having sought medical support. If you are experiencing mental health concerns like anxiety, stress or depression, help is available.
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Your actions can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep your family safe. Until health experts say otherwise, continue to:
- Wear a mask when:
- you’re in indoor public spaces and
- you can’t maintain a 2 meter/6 foot distance from others;
- Maintain social distancing. Health Canada still encourages Canadians to minimize close contact with others.
2. Get your vaccine(s)
If you haven’t already, getting your COVID-19 vaccine, or booster is the best way keep yourself and others safe. Plus, most provinces require proof of vaccines to access events and other places, in some cases.
Vaccination and booster rollout plans vary by province or territory. You can find out if you’re eligible on the Government of Canada’s website. Remember, vaccines approved in Canada have a thorough vetting process by health experts and are safe.
3. Assess your stay-at-home workspace and get moving
If you’ve been working from home for almost two years, it’s likely time to do an ergonomic assessment. We have some suggestions for how to make sure you have a comfortable workspace.
Having a dedicated workspace makes it easier to leave the “office” at the end of the day. And it is likely easier to keep your focus if you aren’t alone during work hours.
Don’t forget to make time for movement in your daily schedule. Change your posture occasionally. Get up to stretch between meetings. And when you can, go for a walk over lunch or take an online fitness class before starting the day.
4. Spend time outdoors – even if it’s cold!
As we head into another pandemic winter, we need to remember how getting outside can do wonders for your mood. Why not enjoy a socially-distanced walk to catch up with a friend? Or, bundle up and sit outside for a warm drink?
Rules vary per region, so you’ll want to check to see if gatherings are allowed in your area. Continue to wear a mask in busier outdoor areas like trails, campgrounds, playgrounds and dog parks. And avoid crowded areas where distancing isn’t possible.
5. Take care of yourself
We don’t yet know how lockdowns or restrictions will look this winter – if any. But you may still be spending time at home. Pick a project to stay productive, and pick up the supplies you need to carry it out. Don’t feel like you need to keep up with popular fads like baking bread or learning a new language, unless you want to. If you can, continue practicing at least some of the activities you love from life before COVID-19.
6. Make the most of your employee benefits
COVID-19 shaped our new take on work, and employers want to continue to support their workforce through it all. Your employer should be well-versed in the need for flexibility in your work arrangements by now.
Look into other employee benefits that can support your continued well-being, as well. Do your benefits include an Employee Assistance Program? This can give you access to mental health-care services, like e-therapy or virtual counselling.
Plus, financial health benefits, like access to an advisor, can help you:
- manage your money and
- stick to your financial goals throughout the pandemic.
Most advisors now offer to meet Clients virtually by video chat.
Remember: while new variants and the ongoing pandemic may feel discouraging, you’ve weathered almost two years of pandemic already. Take heart that better days are surely ahead.
This article is meant to provide general information only. It’s not professional medical advice, or a substitute for that advice.