COVID-19 is giving us some brand-new life lessons. Together, we are following government directives designed to keep us healthy and to stop the spread of the virus. We are dealing with new situations: children are at home instead of in school or daycare, and there are changes in many workplaces. We are asked to self-assess and self-monitor. Some people are delivering groceries to friends and relatives who have returned from vacation and are self-isolating for the required 14 days. It is a challenging time, calling for healthy coping strategies. We offer a few:

Look after yourself: The best way to remain healthy and able to assist friends and family is to make time for self-care. This means basics like getting enough rest, eating well, exercising, and going outdoors. Even if you are quarantined it may be safe to get some fresh air in your yard, depending on your community situation. Always follow the guidance of your health care provider and local government. Observe the government recommendations about keeping a 2-metre distance between yourself and others when you are in public, and wash your hands often.

Think of others: Be courteous and caring whether you are shopping for groceries or banking over the phone. Everyone is coping with the pandemic, and kind words can inspire others to pass them on. Remember that social distancing need not be social isolation. Stay in touch with trusted friends by phone, text, or email.

Talk to your children: Children feel stress too. By giving them reassurance, you may also reassure yourself. Share accurate information at a level appropriate to the child’s age and engage in normal activities like playing games, doing household chores, and schoolwork.

Get your information from reliable sources: The Alberta Government and the  Canadian Government have websites devoted to COVID-19, both updated regularly, and we have been getting excellent daily reports from the Alberta Minister of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, or have symptoms, use the Self-Assessment Tool from Alberta Health Services and/or phone 811.