This year, the COVID-19 pandemic propelled us into a world of unprecedented hardship and heartache. As vaccines are starting to be made available to the public and more people are adhering to social restrictions, we hope that this is the beginning of the end of the worst pandemic the world has seen in the last century.
Though we all faced various challenges, stories of resilience, generosity, sacrifice and solidarity warmed our hearts and reminded us not to give up hope. Dr. Ardyce Yik ND extends her gratitude to all frontline workers who put their lives at risk for others as well as to everyone who is working tirelessly to help others in need. Dr. Yik would also like to thank everyone who helped bring her book, “COVID-19 and You”, to fruition this year.
As 2020 is coming to an end, Dr. Yik would like to share the following self-care strategies which can help you cope during tough times. This was first published in the July 2020 PTA Newsletter of Victoria Education Organisation.
Take care of your physical health.
- Get enough sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Try to stick to your typical daily schedule as much as possible.
- Consume a healthful diet. Colourful vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean protein and good fats nourish your body and keep it healthy. Avoid excessive sugar intake as well as food additives such as MSG and artificial food colouring which can cause mood changes in some people, especially children.
- Limit your caffeine intake. Not only can caffeine keep you up at night, but it can also make you more anxious. Try herbal teas that promote relaxation, like chamomile, peppermint and lemon balm teas. Extra tip for parents: Parents sometimes forget that chocolates, chocolate chip baked goods and bubble tea contain caffeine. Try replacing these with yogurt/ fruit smoothies, trail mix or other snacks that are caffeine-free.
- Keep active. Daily exercise helps reduce anxiety and improve mood. It can also take your mind off your problems. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Extra tip for parents: Children need daily exercise, too! Allow them to play actively, practise a sport and/ or try GoNoodle®, a free online website with movement and mindfulness videos for children created by child development experts.
Take care of your mental/ emotional health.
- Stay connected to others. Let out any frustrations you have to a trusted friend or counsellor. Extra tip for parents: Be sensitive to your child and listen actively. Allow them to share their thoughts and fears without judgement.
- Focus on positivity. Start each day by listing 3 or more things you are thankful for. Some people find it helpful to draw on their faith or religion to maintain a sense of hope and purpose during difficult times. Others find purpose in helping those in need.
- Practise deep breathing. The deliberate process of taking slow, even breaths promotes a state of calmness, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Extra tip for parents: Take 2 deep breaths before responding to a difficult child or reacting to bad news.
- Avoid constant exposure to media. Constant news about COVID-19 from all types of media can fuel anxiety and fear. Get your news from a reliable source and limit your news reading or watching to once or twice a day.
Everyone reacts differently to challenging situations but if you feel persistently overwhelmed, reach out to someone and seek professional help.
Wishing you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2021!