Reporter Emelie Peacock.

Reporter Emelie Peacock.

Don’t forget your mental health, as you do your bit to stop the spread of COVID-19

I didn’t expect the first edition of the Hope Standard I help put out this year would be written from my bedroom, yet here we are.

I arrived in town last week from the Northwest Territories and had some mild flu-like symptoms. Wanting to keep my colleagues safe, I stayed home from my first day on the job and checked in with a doctor. Self-isolate he told me, which I began immediately. First I googled what self-isolation entails – not leaving the home unless absolutely necessary, having groceries dropped at the door, washing your hands often, etcetera. Then I began to practice this strange new reality.

You can read about two of your neighbours who are self-isolating after returning from the U.S. in this week’s Standard. They seem to be doing well, not least due to the sunshine we’ve been blessed with last week. Betty and George Johansen fully understand they are some of the lucky ones, they have each other and a home and can make do with the food they picked up. “So we couldn’t find potatoes, we found rice,” Betty remarked.

Read more: From Arizona to Hope, and self-isolation

Some of our neighbours are facing very different realities – including people who are either sleeping rough, or sharing the space of Hope’s 20-bed shelter with 19 others. There is no way to self-isolate there, says Gerry Dyble who runs the Hope and Area Transition Society.

You can read about how the shelter dealt with a brief food shortage scare and how they are planning for a space should shelter residents need to self isolate. “We’re still trying to maintain some connection with folks. Because they’re already isolated, and now they’re further isolated as a result of this,” said Dyble, of her efforts to keep programming going.

Read more: Hope’s emergency shelter braces for COVID-19

Researchers are already beginning to study how the pandemic is affecting our mental health, with UBC health psychologist Dr. Anita DeLongis looking into how people are coping with the massive disruptions to their daily routines as Canada tries to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: Researchers study how pandemic affecting people’s mental health

Self-isolation has been really tough on me, being completely on my own save for two cats as company. I often have to push pause on the panic in my mind and remind myself that our country is at peace, there will be enough food and I have what I need to stay alive and physically well.

I also have to remind myself there are countless ways to reach out to people – whether it’s playing online game with friends from across the world, cooking together over the phone, or dancing to online concerts – and remind myself that reaching out at this time is critical to remain mentally well.

I also need to keep reminding myself of the moments where people have gone out of their way to stay in touch by bringing groceries, checking in daily or driving all the way from Vancouver to stand below my balcony and ‘socialize’ with me from a safe distance (before self-isolation was encouraged for everyone.) These are things I never expected friends and colleagues would do, yet when you are spending 24 hours within the four walls of home these actions and gestures are a lifeline.

So please do listen to the public health experts, do self-isolate if you are experiencing symptoms. Maintain the six foot distance from others, for the time being, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. But don’t forget to check in with yourself and reach out to others, even if it feels awkward at first. It can mean the world to them.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Metro Creative)
Hope residents invited to join in Earth Day clean-up event

From dead batteries to flat tires, volunteers ready to sort and recycle

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Chilliwack FC
Chilliwack FC creating committee to promote inclusiveness

Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee will advise CFC on matters of racism and discrimination

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read