It’s ok to be anxious!!

Canadians are fortunate and we take a lot for granted. Mostly we are grateful for our lives and lifestyles but often we confuse our good fortune with entitlement.

By some random biological lottery, or call it a fluke of nature, we all live here and now in a prosperous, lawful, educated and peaceful country. Our infra-structure and public services are world class. We have Medical services, law enforcement, fire fighters and paramedics, nurses, doctors, teachers, solvent financial institutions, plentiful energy resources and food supply chains. We are also a society that generally cares about each other and gives back to our communities and to the less fortunate. It’s no wonder Canada and Canadians are the envy of the world in many ways.

We have painfully and frighteningly learned in the past few weeks that with all our wealth, intelligence and resources, Canada is not immune to global disease. The COVID-19 virus is resulting in unprecedented levels of anxiety and uncertainty. History has shown we’ve had health emergencies before but this level of disruption is all new to Canada and the world.

We are all vulnerable human beings, luckily in our country we are better positioned to mitigate the danger and damage to our lives and society. Even so, let’s keep it real here, we have some tough days ahead.

Like you, I’m anxious and my mind has been spinning. Peeling the onion a bit, here’s some perspective from my thought process in no particular order. These are Questions I’ve asked myself and have reconciled, some more than others. Some not at all. And they’re subject to change with no notice. I welcome any opinion or input.

1. Q: If or when I get the virus and recover from it, am I then immune? Am I still contagious? Can I then identify as recovered and get back into society?

A: I think we are immune after recovery. And I don’t think we’d be contagious. As far as getting back into society, again I assume that’s the case. And there probably won’t be much reason to rush anyhow.

2. Q: Say I have to self isolate for 14 days as a result of potential exposure. After that SI period, and I don’t get the virus, now what? Does that mean I’m still susceptible?

A: Yes. I don’t think isolation does anything to make you immune if you haven’t contracted the virus. It just protects others if you do have it. So indeed you could contract it and again have to be self isolated and or maybe treated.

3. Q: If I don’t go to work will I get in trouble for not doing my job? Will I look weak? Will I get paid?

A: You’ll get into trouble if you actually do go into work depending on your personal and professional situation. You will look strong if you keep a distance between you and others. Not weak. Many employers will have to grapple with how they meet their responsibilities as well. Employee compensation being a big one. I’m thinking many will perform distance work (from home) and life will be similar in the short term. For those that can’t, and are laid off, the government is injecting money into the system for this. Employment Insurance. One thing is for certain, we will find out the difference between top employers who talk the talk with corporate culture and mission statements and those who walk the walk, for their employees, even at the expense of the bottom line. True leaders and leadership will lead. And rise.

4. Q: Why do I feel so much anxiety?

A: Humans generally dislike change. And I mean even small changes. This is the biggest change we’ve ever had to process. It’s scary. We can’t do the simple things we’re used to doing. Work, school, sports, concerts, clubs, movies, restaurants. community events and on and on. That’s disturbing to all of us and of course is causing anxiety and depression.

5. Q: Is there anything I can do to feel better about everything?

A: Yes. Keep the faith firstly. Believe we will come out of this because we will. Frankly after all the pain, we should have a new perspective on our lives and the world. For the better. Priorities will change. More practically, do your best to stay active. I do mean physical exercise but active intellectually too. This won’t be easy, but I tell you unequivocally that I feel better emotionally after I exercise. My body and my mind can handle the stress and anxiety better. Diet and sleep are important too. Taking care of yourself may be the most difficult thing to do now but it is critical to stay strong emotionally and physically.

6. Q: Will there be a cure or a vaccine for COVID 19?

A: Eventually yes. A team of Canadian scientists have already isolated the gene? This will help researchers doctors and epidemiologists already working on this globally. But it’s not the answer now. Mitigation is the only thing that matters now. We need to limit the cases as to not overwhelm our incredibly capable and caring medical facilities. Important to note that COVID 19 will not be the last virus we face, by any means. We need to support on going research globally.

7. Q: Why is the media sensationalizing everything?

A: The media feels the same way you do. They are human like you. Mostly they are well intended and want to professionally maintain credibility. They mostly are doing their best during uncertain times. What we could use a lot less of is finger pointing. On line and in traditional media. Most radio I’ve listened to have handled it well for their audiences. Be an escape not another source anxiety. Inform of course. But sooth as well.

8. Q: Have I lost all my RRSP value?

A: A lot of it. For now. The stock market doesn’t like change or uncertainty either. When things get sorted, value will return to your investments. Do yourself a favour and avoid checking the TSX and Dow Jones for now, or your portfolio. If you must, don’t let it get you. Sit tight.

8. Q: What should I do today?

A: To the extent that it’s possible, stay home as we’ve been advised. Today I shudder to think where I have physically been in the last 30 days. Parties, arenas etc. That seems unreal and it’s not possible now nor is it considered anything but reckless. Going out for food or to check in on family and friends who may need something is pretty much all we can and should do. The exception of course is those providing essential services. God bless you all.

Finally. Give thoughts to important things in your life. Your family and friends. Message them a lot, better still call or FaceTime and stay in touch. It’s ok to be afraid right now. But we’re in this together and there’s no escaping that. Life is changing and that’s different, but ok.

Thanks for reading.

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