March 23, 2020

Physically Distant yet Socially Connected

Although it sounds like working in your PJ’s and having the whole coffee carafe to yourself is dreamy, the reality of the situation may leave you feeling isolated, disconnected, disengaged and easily distracted. For good reason.

While recently conditioned to use terms like “flatten the curve” and “Social Distancing”, we’re seeing a trend on social media of rephrasing Social Distancing to Physical Distancing. After all, we are social beings, human contact is still essential to overall health, most have the means to connect and the technology to be social in times of isolation, but there are still those who are socially and physically isolated.

Stress is high and it’s completely understandable, we are in a global pandemic – a situation we have not had to navigate before with mandated behaviors out of the ordinary. Although well reasoned, these instructions are taking a toll on mental well being.

To reinforce the recommendations of Health Canada and following these steps we may be able to flatten the curve.

• Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough

• Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible

• Work from home where possible, as much of Canada has enforced company closures and WFH guidelines for employees

• Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather

• Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media

• Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Levvel Inc. is proud to support the Distress Centre Calgary as they deal with the increase in support required. With the rise of COVID-19 so too has there been a rise in reported anxiety due to isolation, work security, health fears, child education & childcare worries, and overall family concerns.

“As the impact of COVID-19 grows, call volumes to our crisis lines are on the rise and people are getting anxious about potential job loss, school closures, paying the bills and being isolated. We anticipate that this will continue as more cases are reported and more restrictions are enforced.” Diane Jones Konahowski, Director, Fund Development & Communications

To alleviate some of those fears, here are some suggestions to help you stay Levvel-headed while you physically distance yet socially connect.

• Make ‘non-business’ calls to your work colleagues and friends; there’s more to life than just work

• Exercise regularly (whatever/wherever/whenever possible)

• Play games, get organized, or catch up on things you have been postponing – reading, music, cooking, sketching, writing, etc. This includes having an isolated family member join you in on-line scrabble or a like game

• Acquire some new skills as several online courses are offered

• Call and virtually help digitally challenged parents or neighbours to adapt to the new normal of day to day life

• Reach out for help when you need it**

Diane Jones Konihowski says Distress Centre has closed its physical doors, but they continue to provide 24-hour phone and email crisis support, daily chat and text for youth support, and counseling to those in crisis.

“Like so many businesses we too had a rapid transition to remote work, and it was not without its challenges. We were always planning on implementing this workstyle but hadn’t put all the pieces into place. We’re successfully up and running but some essential items for remote support like laptops and headphones are still required. We had a virtual team meeting this morning and I reiterated to our own DCC team the importance of a new-normal routine and their own mental and physical health.”

Simple things to consider like:

• Set up your at-home workstation to be as ergonomic as possible

• Wake up at a regular work time and complete your morning routines (showering, getting dressed etc.)

• Eat balanced, nutritional meals

• Take a lunch break and connect with friends and family

• Stretch, get up from your desk, walk regularly and/or exercise

• If you have kids at home, communicate with them about how you are feeling and ask how they are feeling- reassure them that you are there to listen

• Encourage family members and kids to have social conversations with colleagues and friends, not just texting. For school-age kids, they will be missing their school banter and physical voices of friends. Facetime, Skype, what’s app, etc.

• Have dinner together and talk about other things besides the pandemic and the constant reminder to wash their hands

• Meditate, using breathing exercises or other tools to be prepared for when anxiety hits

Canadians mental & social well-being is among many of the topics being considered by the Federal Government.

During today’s live press conference, The Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health- addressed and acknowledged concerns with Canadians mental health. Minister Hajdu said they need to address the social issues that come with distress, economic downturn, and crisis. The fear and anxiety of Canadians are not going unnoticed.

” There will be a national app that the government is setting up as a free tool for mental health support.” Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

Levvel is proud to support the amazing work that the Distress Centre Calgary does every day. It’s important to remember that this new normal really is becoming the norm very quickly. If you need support DCC’s highly trained staff and volunteers are available 24/7. Reassuring Calgarians that at this time of physical distancing, being socially connected is essential.

~Cherene Kambeitz- Marketing & Communications Director, Levvel Inc.

Reach out to Connect@levvel.ca