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Fear itself

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Jody Vance: Dealing with COVID-19 means different challenges for different people. We’re going to get through this together.

You scared? Me too.

This COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, so forgive yourself: it’s okay to be scared. And to find support, it’s important to say it aloud.

The Coronavirus has had such massive social impact it’s rattling the toughest of us. It’s eerie, and feels as though we are sitting at a very uncomfortable calm before the storm. Waiting for the curve to hit our healthcare system has fists clenched in concern.

You are not wrong in feeling as though the bad news blows are coming at 500 miles per hour.

It all feels so foreign because, for the most part, we have lived in an incredibly safe and secure Pacific Northwestern bubble. COVID-19 has burst that bubble.

With this unprecedented, unique, brand of anxiety it is important to note how each individual must deal with their anxiety in their own way.

Parents worried for their kids. Sons and/or daughters caring for aging parents or have one in a home. Travelers scrambling for flights home to Canada. Thousands – millions, likely – living paycheque to paycheque, or less, facing the anxiety of a lost hourly wage job and no savings.

The federal government promises to announce help.

Within all of this, it’s so important to share our thoughts and concerns with one another, find comfort in talking it through.

Here are some things it occurs to me we can all do.

  • Be mindful. COVID-19 jokes are surfacing — if humour is part of how you manage anxiety, that’s great – just please be mindful of your audience.
  • Mental health. We need to be hyper-aware of our mental wellbeing. That should always be the case, but the stresses have never been this sudden and acute. Perhaps that will be what comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic; mental health support will be completely covered by our medical system.
  • News from home. It’s important to consume Canadian news, resist being sucked into the vortex of news from elsewhere, including and especially the United States. Because our struggles differ greatly. Here in Canada you will find consistent information — be well informed. In one of the worst global health crisis of our generation, we’re among the very best positioned countries to manage.
  • Let’s be examples to our kids. This means we stop feeding into those who enjoy seeing us spun around by rumours. As has been stated in this space before, staying on course with fact – and not fear- based fiction – is everything.
  • Turn off the fire hose. If 24 hour updates are taking a toll, turn it off. A friend reminded me today of 9/11, and how we all had to be told to STEP AWAY from the footage. It is possible to stay informed without staying at a perpetual stress level. Keep abreast on the latest by way of the WHO and keep informed locally here.

With reputable news sources, you can be aware while you manage “scared.” Take a breath and try to trust that the greatest scientists on the planet want this sorted as much as we do. We are all worried, we are all doing our best to process daily, hourly or even minute-to-minute evolution of this pandemic.

So think about our collective resilience. Take a beat. Take a moment to look at how “flattening the curve,” social distancing and putting our lives on lockdown, is all about our shared goal: saving lives.

Together, we can help society’s most vulnerable citizens and our frontline healthcare workers. See this lockdown as preparing for a storm – shoring up supports to weather this together.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

SWIM ON:

SWIM ON