UPDATED: OCTOBER 29, 2020
Please be reminded that support is available to all learners, faculty and staff through various programs including the EAP and Elder support. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.
Managing Stress During COVID-19
COVID-19 can be stressful, the effects can be both physical and emotional.
Things you can do to reduce stress:
- Take breaks from listening to, watching or reading about COVID-19 frequently, including social media.
- Focus on the facts of COVID-19 and understand the risk to yourself and those you care about.
- Separate facts from rumours. Gather information from reliable sources.
- If stress continues to hamper your daily activities, talk to a doctor, or someone you can trust.
NOSM Health & Wellness Resources
- The Employee and Family Assistance Program is available to all employees, students, and residents across NOSM’s wider campus of Northern Ontario.
Immediate support is available 24/7/365 at 1-844-880-9142 or online at workhealthlife.com.
- NOSM’s Health Sciences Library also has a Health & Wellness Guide with information about wellness, emotional well being, healthy living, being active at home, and much more.
- The Being Active at Home page lists resources to remain active at home during this period of social distancing. This guide includes resources for yoga, stretching, cardio and strength training.
Return to Campus Wellness Resources
We are looking forward to having everyone safely back at work. If you have any questions or concerns related to returning to campus, please reach out to your supervisor or the Human Resources Unit at email@example.com.
Following is a list of items to consider in your transition back to campus.
Check in with your supervisor before returning to the office
Ensure you have a good understanding of what the expectations are surrounding your return to campus. Examples of things you should discuss include:
- Staggered work schedules;
- Specific PPE requirements for your Unit and/or role; and
- Attestation requirements.
Please do not change your current personal work arrangements until your Unit’s return to campus plan has been approved and you have checked in with your supervisor.
Get familiar with the latest policies, procedures and protocols related to returning to campus
NOSM has developed several policies and procedures in order to keep everyone safe and healthy upon returning on-site. Refer to the following policies to ensure you are up-to-date on what the expectations are of you as an employee:
- COVID-19 Symptom Attestation for NOSM Staff and Faculty;
- Responding to COVID-10 Process;
- Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace Process;
- Proper use of COVID-19 related Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); and
- Returning to Campus Training Video
Continue to prioritize your psychological wellbeing
We recognize the importance of taking care of your psychological wellbeing during these unprecedented times. The following articles/blogs may provide you with an understanding as to why you may be feeling uncertain about returning to campus:
- Living with Worry and Anxiety amidst Global Uncertainty
- Living with Uncertainty During COVID-19
- How ‘Anticipatory Grief’ May Show Up During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief
The Health Sciences Library (HSL) has developed a Health & Wellness Guide on topics including Workplace Wellness, Emotional Wellbeing, Health Living and more. Here you will find various courses, mobile apps, useful websites and e-books available for you to assist with working through your feelings.
Another resource you may wish to access is the Not Myself Today website to utilize the online resources available such as:
- 10 Ways to De-stress
- Building Emotional Intelligence: Activity Sheet
The Mental Health Commission of Canada has developed a Mental Health first Aid COVID-19 Self-Care & Resilience Guide you may find useful. In the guide – which includes a checklist, sample plan and additional mental health resources – you will find ways to practice self-care.
Other ways to boost your mental health include getting at least seven (7) hours of sleep, eating healthy food, and exercising regularly.
Seek help with personalized support
If you are struggling in any way, it is important for you to know you have support available to you.
If you or someone in your immediate family need to talk to someone, access your EFAP through Morneau Shepell by calling #1-877-890-9052 or downloading the MyEAP app. Morneau Shepell has also gathered useful information on the Workplace Mental Health Resources website.
Coffee Chats through the Healthy Workplace Group are a good way to stay connected with colleagues since we are unable to gather as a group. Refer to calendar and notices in The Pulse for the dates and times of these weekly informal gatherings.
Reduce and overcome stigma
Unfortunately, there is a negative association with contracting COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, the stigma may drive some people to hide their symptoms or not seek medical attention. The WHO provides some tips on how to address and avoid compounding social stigma and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides some insight into reducing stigma.
It is critical that we come together and be supportive of our colleagues and community members should they or someone they are in contact with contract COVID-19. Remember that your language matters.
Be mindful of your work-life balance
We understand you have other responsibilities outside of work, which can sometimes make juggling everything challenging.
Remember, our operating hours are between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., which allows for some flexibility. Consider adjusting your normal workweek to fit your needs through discussion with your supervisor. And during the day, take breaks to recharge and take care of yourself.
Vacation plays an important role in your wellbeing and work-life balance. We encourage you to plan for and schedule vacation time necessary for optimal job performance.
Communication with your supervisor will be key to making your work-life balance successful.
Stay informed by checking accurate and reliable sources.
If you are feeling nervous about COVID-19, you are not alone. Being concerned and empathetic about this outbreak is normal. However, you may experience feelings of discomfort, impacting concentration, productivity and even disrupting sleep patterns. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, choosing sources of information carefully is critical to your mental wellbeing. Stick to the facts as communicated by public health agencies or medical professionals. Instead of reading every article and going to every website, try to refrain from going online. If you are concerned, sites that contain accurate information include:
- World Health Organization;
- Public Health Agency of Canada;
- Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care;
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit;
- Public Health Sudbury and Districts; and
- NOSM’s Response to COVID-19 website.
- CanWaCH / Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) resource page on mental health and COVID-19
Try to keep it in perspective. Social media can amplify misinformation. Keep in mind that there is a concerted global effort to try to contain this virus.
Moreover, stay healthy.
Follow the recommendations for keeping well, including:
- Washing your hands regularly;
- Staying home when you are sick;
- Reducing physical contact with others;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Sneezing and coughing into your sleeve;
- Avoiding large crowds and events.
Mental Health Resources
During the outbreak, many mental health professionals will be working to offer psychological support and advice to front-line medical staff, as well as to other clients, and to the public. We have put together this page to collate links to resources which might assist your clinical practice during the current global health crisis. If you are aware of any resources that you believe would be helpful to your colleagues please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario Hospital Association
Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) has put together a number of easily accessible mental health resources from various leading sources (international, national and provincial), such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S, as well as a number of resources from Ontario hospitals. Click here to access these great resources.
- 25 Minute Webinar – Talking to your child about COVID-19
- 25 Minute Webinar – Emotional Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- 10 Minute Webinar – General webinar on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Canadian Mental Health Association, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO)
- The Canadian Medical Association has recently launched the Wellness Connection. This recent initiative offers a new round of virtual group sessions (including peer support, compassion rounds and psychological first aid) for residents, physicians, and students available for the first two weeks of August. If you are interested in attending a session, simply click on the session title to register. For more information about upcoming sessions, contact: email@example.com. Please note that the calendar’s dates/times of sessions are subject to change hence viewers are encouraged to visit the Wellness Connection to confirm any upcoming sessions.
The Canadian Mental Health Association, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) also provide excellent resources to assist people through these times:
- Canadian Mental Health Association – COVID-19 Mental Health and Well Being
- CDC Stress and Coping
- Mental Health Commission of Canada – Wellness During COVID-19
- WHO – Coping with stress during COVID-19 fact sheet
- WHO – Helping children cope with stress during outbreak fact sheet
OMA Physician Health Program
The OMA’s Physician Health Program invites you to drop in virtually between noon and 1:00 p.m. each weekday to support one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sessions will be led by Dr. Kasra Khorasani, a psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Health Systems and St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, who is an expert in group therapy.
Stay for one minute or as long as you can, and go online as many times as you like. Everyone is welcome. The chats are meant to be a safe space to share how you are managing.
Ontario COVID-19 Mental Health Network
An emerging network of Ontario-based mental health professionals is dedicated to supporting frontline COVID-19 workers during the evolving crisis.
Pause4Providers: 30-Minute Mindfulness Drop-in Sessions.
The current pandemic is causing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety in our workplace. Drop in to learn short mindfulness practices to help find calm in the midst of challenge. Relax, recharge, and learn how to incorporate moments of mindfulness in your day. Optional discussion to follow.
Open to all healthcare workers, staff and professionals at no cost.
Drop in to the weekly virtual sessions via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 302 330 041
Every Tuesday 8:30 pm EST
Host: Dr. Diane Meschino or Dr. Jennifer Hirsch
Every Thursday 8:30pm EST
Host: Dr. Mary Elliott or Dr. Orit Zamir
For more program details please visit: www.pause4providers.com
For general inquiries and weekly reminders, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Physical Health Resources
Fitbit is offering a 90 day free trial of their Fitbit Premium. Premium offers access to hundreds of workouts categorized by time, activity and fitness level so that you can easily find what’s right for you. You can also access a variety of guided programs, advanced insights and sleep and mindfulness tools to help you eat better and get more activity.
Down Dog is offering healthcare workers free access to all of their apps – Down Dog, Yoga for st Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout completely free through to July 1st.
Ekhart Yoga is offering 12 free yoga and meditation classes designed to help with stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Peloton offers an extensive, ever-growing library of live and on-demand studio classes taught by world-class instructors. They are providing a free 90-day trial.
Sudbury Shared Harvest and the Sudbury Community Garden Network is encouraging people of all ages and abilities to “cultivate their neighbourhood” by growing food any way you can – in their own yard, balcony or even a window box. The Community Garden Network has a YouTube channel with videos by local gardeners and we’re hoping to add more in the near future.
The PARO 24-Hour Helpline, a confidential support service for residents, medical students, their partners and families, is an accessible toll-free number from anywhere in Ontario, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-866-HELP-DOC (1-866-435-7362).
Physicians may contact the OMA Physician Health Program at 1-800-851-6606.
- Ontario Medical Students Association Wellness Blog
- Physician Help Program: Provided by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) for all residents and students. Physician Health Program 24-Hour Help Line: 1-800-663-6729
- Managing Health Worker Illness and Return to Work COVID-19 (Ontario Ministry of Health)
- Ontario College of Family Physicians COVID-19 Infographic