Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Staying Healthy in the face of COVID-19 and other Personal Challenges

Louisa Jewell offers her opinion on how people can better cope with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.


If there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us is that disproportionately the virus has affected the most vulnerable. This may be because of age and the compromised heath issues that come with age, or it may be because of socio- economic factors (low income, inadequate access to health care, racialized, marginalized, precariously housed).  Additionally, there is the issue of one’s mental health. Sadly, the most vulnerable in our societies straddle some or all of the above factors, however it maybe that mental health is the least well understood.

Mental health can be understood to relate to the emotional wellbeing of a person.  To have what is considered a mentally healthy full life, one is able to functionally cope while experiencing a range of emotions including pleasure and pain.

Mental illness on the other hand is considered to be a psychiatric disorder, impairment of personal functioning related to brain functions in certain social contexts. Quarantine and isolation, whether
imposed or self-instituted, are essentially unfamiliar states for most people. Deprived of contact with family and friends, the suppression of daily routines, even the healthiest person would begin to succumb to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Traditional psychology has been focused on mental illness as “what is wrong,” and how to figure out how to help people with a mental illness? Louisa Jewell (our guest in this episode of RPTV), who is the founder of The Canadian Positive Psychology Association, offers her opinion on how people can better cope with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Utilizing a four-step method that seeks to boost one’s psychological well being, Louisa presents a range of simple strategies especially well suited to combating the side effects of prolonged social-isolation and staying happy through the Coronavirus Crisis.

Four tools for resilience and wellbeing building to help you get through this crisis.

1. Start your day with an energizing morning ritual, make your bed, practice some mindfulness by meditating for 10 to 15 minutes, find exercise routine that works for you.

2. Acceptance, is developing a non-judgemental attitude towards your every-day life, this means not getting angry about being shut-in, and allowing for the appreciation of what you do have.

3. Don’t watch the news, that is be more selective about what you take-in, for example, avoid reporting that deliberately sensationalises the pandemic in favour of more reasoned sources such as reports
from Municipal, Provincial, and Federal governments.

4. Reach out to friends and family on video, by looking people in the eye, our physiology actually changes. The intensity of our emotions is increased when we are interacting positively with someone and looking them in the eye.

Regent Park an area of Toronto just east of the downtown core is going through a massive transformation from Canada oldest and largest public housing community, to a mixed use and mixed income neighbourhood. 

None-the-less, Regent Park remains an area whose demographics still indicates a high proportion of low income and immigrant families,  receiving social assitance, and a higher than average unemployment rate – all factors that place that population in the category of people who are at a higer risk for severe illness, and the complications that come with COVID-19 infection.

At RPTV News, providing critical information to the Regent Community is in essence what community media is all about? As COVID-19’s disruptions continue, the need for accurate and up-to-date information is essential to the well being and safety of everyone.

by Dimitrije Martinovic
Dimitrije is a staff member at FOUCS MEDIA ARTS CENTRE.

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