“Protect Yourself at All Times” – Sage Advice to Manage Mental Stresses During COVID-19

Protect Yourself at All Times
Protect Yourself at All Times

THUNDER BAY – Protecting your mental health today is important. We live in a world where work and personal time can easily blur. We are all getting a flood of information via social media, our smartphone screens, and from many other sources.

Ever watch a boxing match? At the start the referee says, “Protect yourself at all times”.

How can we adapt that message to our lives, since most of us are not boxers?

COVID-19 in many cases has resulted in a blur in terms of time. People are so attuned to social media and answering the ‘ding’ that a new post or message is there. Other times it is phone calls.

Keeping your focus is not easy

In a boxing match, take your eye off your opponent, and you risk getting knocked out.

Ipsos Canada in reporting on public mood on February 2nd says, “Managing through a sustained crisis requires some level of commonality among the populace. In the early and middle stages of the pandemic, Canadians were generally all rowing in the same direction to deal with the immediate challenges.

“But the public has become increasingly divided as the pandemic has dragged. Our Ipsos Social Cohesion Index has moved from net positive to net negative since late 2020. The recent truckers’ protest is a manifestation of this. This presents government and business with a special challenge on many fronts”.

On social media recently many people are doing a purge of the numbers of Facebook friends. Some are stepping back from the social medium.

Those people are taking a good step, first realizing that while it can be a great tool and a way of keeping up-to-date, it can also be a massive time eater.

Experts are noting that the pandemic has generated enormous mental stresses on many people during the past several years.

There is increased anxiety based on people not knowing what is next. Remember only two months ago, politicians were talking on how the lifting of restrictions was only a short time away?

For small to medium business owners planning is critical. Planning amid all the current uncertainty is hard. Some business owners after two years of restrictions and lockdowns are at the financial edge. Some of that frustration has, in Canada coalesced around the “Freedom 2022 Convoy”.

Ipsos adds, “Canadians are increasingly of the belief that things in the country are out of control, increasing to 69% in January from 50% in December. At the same time, frustration with how things are going has increased from 35% in November 2021 to 47% in January.

“This is also impacting Canadians’ satisfaction with the options available in their healthcare system, which has dropped from 55% in October 2021 to 48% in January . These kinds of attitudes and perceptions will do nothing other than to put a damper on Canadians’ consumer and social behaviours, at least in the short-term”.

So it is easy to feel frustrated, feel anxiety and stress and overwhelmed.

What can you do?

First off is set a priority list. Ranking the things, you want to do, both work and personal everyday really lets you mark what you are accomplishing.

Resist the temptation to follow the easy and embrace the hard. That might be ignoring social media and the news for a bit and taking that time to get to work on what matters.

Second, take the time to focus. Apple has a new “Focus” feature in their latest iOS. You can set up a time, from an hour to longer where you won’t be disturbed so you can get things you need to do done.

Third, find outlets for your creativity. Learn a new skill, learn how to do something you might always have wanted to learn but have not had the time to learn lately.

Fourth, take the time you need to rest. Shut off your phone or use the technology to only allow select callers through from a set time when you rest.

There are a lot of people struggling with their own anxieties and insomnia, who might feel that you are just a phone call away. Ever get a phone call at 2:00 AM?

How often is your first thought, “Someone died.”

During the pandemic it might just be a friend you know who is trying to find something to do.

Practice empathy, kindness, and respect.

As a boxing fan, at the start of every fight, the referee says to both fighters, “Protect yourself at all times”.

That is sage advice to get through what can be very stressful times.

James Murray

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