What is COVID-19?
A new flu-like coronavirus has been reported in several countries around the world in recent months. The 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. This is a rapidly evolving situation and risk assessment may change daily. You can find accurate updates and detailed information on symptoms, prevention, and spread of the virus on the following websites:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC)
- Australian Chief Medical Officer
- UK government
What to do if you are stressed because of the news
If you're feeling nervous about COVID-19, you're not alone. Being concerned and empathetic about this outbreak is normal. However, you may experience feelings of discomfort, impacting concentration, productivity and even disrupting sleep patterns.
What you can do to feel better
- Stick to the facts as communicated by public-health agencies or medical professionals. Instead of reading every article and going to every website, staying offline for a period can be beneficial. If you're concerned, sites that include accurate information include the World Health Organization; the US Centers for Disease Control (USCDC); the Australian Chief Medical Officer, and the UK government.
- Try and keep it in perspective. Social media and news outlets can amplify misinformation. Keep in mind that there's a concerted global effort to try and contain this virus, and the World Health Organization is maintaining a webpage with answers to common questions.
- Follow prevention tips to stay healthy. Washing your hands often and properly is the single most effective way to stop the spread of disease.
- Practice stress and anxiety management. There are many proven ways to reduce stress and anxiety: getting enough sleep, balanced diet and hydration, exercise, talking about your fears with others, meditation, and more. Find the self-care practice that works for you.
- Seek help from your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). You have access to professional assistance and resources 24/7 – from connecting with a counsellor to learning how to meditate, find confidential help that can help you move forward.
Building resiliency in times of uncertainty
We are living in a complex world with change all around us. Naturally, this can make you feel uncertain or fearful about the present and future. The good news is that resiliency – the ability to thrive in times of change and uncertainty – is learned, and you can start building your resilience today. Use the tips below to take on a more flexible, resilient mindset.
- Accepting what's out of your control. Focusing on that which you have no control over will leave you feeling frustrated and exhausted. There are certain circumstances or decisions that are not in your power to control. Let go of them. Doing so will help you move on and focus your energy more positively. Remember: though you may not be able to change these realities, you can change how you respond to them.
- Embrace change. There will always be change. Instead of concentrating on the disruptive aspects, take a flexible approach and accept that change is a fundamental part of life that can also bring opportunities and positive outcomes.
- Staying focused on the big picture. It's easy to get so wrapped up in the details of an event that you blow it out of proportion. Avoid "catastrophizing" and focus in on the real (or most realistic) impact. Looking at it from a broader perspective can help you more accurately assess its significance.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Resilience doesn’t mean you have a positive feeling about every negative situation. It means that despite something going wrong you believe you can and will do your best to deal with the situation and move forward.
- Connecting with others. Having people around you with whom you can share feelings, discuss problems and receive advice is an essential part of weathering life’s storms. It’s also important to reach out for help when you feel overwhelmed by a situation.