Tips for handling uncertainty
These are unsettling times, especially for those of us who struggle with various forms of anxiety. Just the thought of re-engaging with school or work, may result in heightened daily feelings of dread or anticipatory anxiety. For example: what if I have a panic attack and throw up in public? People will think I have the virus. What will I talk about when I see people again? What if people come too close?
Anxiety and fear are normal human emotions. They help prevent us from making ill-advised choices. However, in the absence of an actual threat, these feelings can be problematic.
Here are a few good suggestions from Anxiety Canada to help you or a youngster return to a daily routine.
- Make decisions using public health guidelines, not your internal feelings of anxiety.
- Remember the reasons for re-engaging such as modelling bravery for your children and building a positive family environment.
- Start small for success.
- Debrief after doing something that scares you and compare what happened to what you feared could happen.
- Be compassionate–facing fear is never easy.
- Congratulate yourself for your hard work.
Don’t give up. It may take longer than you’d like it to, but remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Speed doesn’t matter.
Scratch, sniff, and smell the roses
Offering a less traditional, more proactive approach to virus containment, returning students at one university who were starting in-person classes were offered a smell test. Citing the fact that smell loss is an early symptom of COVID-19, Professor John Haves made scratch and sniff-postcards and reminded students to monitor their sense of smell. There were other reminders throughout the campus as well, such as flower arrangements that invited people to “smell the roses” before entering their lecture hall. “Bottom line,” says Hayes, who is the director of Penn State’s Sensory Evaluation Centre in the College of Agricultural sciences, “we’re telling the community if you lose your sense of smell you should self-isolate and immediately get tested.”
Also of note, 25,000 patients tested by the Global Consortium for Chemosensory research found that both smell and taste are more strongly associated with the presence of COVID-19 than fever, cough or shortness of breath, although the latter are still considered cardinal symptoms. (These findings still await peer review). However, in June, researchers at the Mayo Clinic did report that patients with COVID-19 were 27 times more likely to lose their sense of smell than people without the virus. The researchers suggested that routine screening for scent could contribute to improved detection overall in an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Blue Zones
COVID-19 Disability rights at risk
On September 15th, the Canadian Human Rights Commission made a statement that called out that fact that families and caregivers are still bearing a disproportionate impact during this unprecedented crisis. Stating, “more must be done to protect the rights of people with disabilities and to ensure that safety protocols designed to protect public health are not putting people with disabilities at risk.”
The statement continues, saying, “COVID-19 has expanded the circle of vulnerability in Canada and created new barriers to full participation…. Part of the problem is that the safety protocols have become a new normal across Canada and may present challenges and risks.” Examples cited include:
Many people with disabilities or chronic health conditions have no choice but to risk regular interaction with multiple care providers or be distanced from the support systems they rely on. People who are blind or visually impaired must rely on touching non-sanitized surfaces and have to navigate a world where they cannot be certain the people around them are abiding by safety protocols.
Challenges of the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing, those with limited technology, and those mandated to live in isolation are also discussed. The CHRC asks Canada to incorporate the diverse voices and lived experience of people with disabilities, their families and caregivers into the difficult decisions that are being made.
To read the full statement visit chrc.ca