By, Stephanie Mitton
As COVID-19 sweeps the globe and the WHO has declared the virus a pandemic, it is a distressing time. In Canada, the federal Health Minister says that the virus could infect 30-70% of Canadians. Canada has the benefit of learning from other countries about what to expect and how to prepare. For example, in my province of Ontario, the government is taking proactive measures to quell the virus’ spread by closing schools for two weeks beyond March Break.
In Canada, our Public Health Agencies (national, provincial and local) have been providing Canadians with fact-based, measured information and directions on how to prepare for the growing pandemic.
We feel stressed about what is happening, how fast things are changing and the unknowns of what is to come.
As we are asked or forced to socially isolate, I wanted to share some tips to get you through this difficult time.
Many of you know that I have been sick for almost a year now, and most recently I have been taking time off work to recover. I do not relax well; I am a terrible patient and it has been a difficult time. But, I have learned tips that may help you pass your time at home.
First off, if you are very ill, then resting is much easier. I recently had a migraine for a full week, it was easy to rest, as I couldn’t, nor did I feel like doing anything. On the other hand, on days where I feel much better, I find it is harder to pass the time without staying busy like I normally do when not ill.
Tips to help you avoid boredom:
1. Create a routine – Maybe this isn’t for everyone, but I love a routine. It helps me pass time, accomplish things, force myself to rest, and comforts me knowing what is next in my day.
2. Get dressed and ready daily – it is easy to stay in our PJs all day, but getting clean and dressed makes me feel refreshed. When I need to leave the house, it feels like less of a chore and removes a barrier for me: I can jump in the car to get the kids from school knowing that I have clothes already on! P.S. It’s getting warmer in Canada and I don’t know what I will do when I can’t hide my messy hair under my toque for the bus stop!
3. Practice self care – What constitutes self care for you is a very personal thing. It is ALWAYS hard to find time to practice self care – now you have time, so practice meditation/prayer, take a bubble bath, or nap. The possibilities are endless!
4. Catch up – There is always a list of things that you never have time for. Make a list and keep it handy. When you feel yourself getting bored, pick an item to complete! Some examples are: exercise, trying new recipes, meal planning, sewing/crafts, emptying the boxes from your move 5 years ago, or completing a home renovation. I don’t know about you, but accomplishing something, even if small, makes me feel great!
5. Pass the time – Catch up on your favourite TV shows, books, podcasts, social media or long-lost hobbies.
6. Practice strong mental health – I share tips on how I work hard to keep my mental health strong through illness here.
7. Connect with people – Connecting in person may not be possible, but we can use technology instead. I share some tools for how to connect remotely here.
8. Check in on others – Please make sure to check in on family, friends, neighbours and strangers - either in person or if that is not possible or not recommended, remotely.
If you are a parent with your kids at home, many of these suggestions will be challenging. Depending on the age of your child, start with having them make a list of rules that they agree to follow and a bored list. A bored list is a list of things that your kids like to do that you post somewhere in the house that is accessible (I post ours on the fridge) and anytime they are bored they can get an idea from the list. A new subscription to Disney Plus may be something you want to add!
Finally, if you have other ideas to help people pass the time, please leave a comment- we’d love to hear from you! Share this article with friends who could be helped by these tips; just click one of the icons at the bottom of this article.
P.S. We are thinking of all of you at this difficult time, I hope, amongst the stress, that you find a reason to smile today; videos of babies and puppies may be a good place to start!