Change can be an uncomfortable experience – especially when it's completely out of our control. And with everything going on right now, the world can seem like an overwhelming and scary place. But it’s because of scientists and researchers (like yourself) that hope for a brighter future can exist in times of uncertainty – as well as the hardworking health care workers, first responders, people in essential services, food delivery services and grocery store employees to name a few!
We hope you are all safe and know that you are not alone. There's a community of people in our department that are here for you when you need them and to remind you that we will get through this together!
Since things are changing at a fast pace, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology are here to help you if you need any support.
COVID-19 IN THE NEWS
In 2020, our expanding digital platforms have given us the opportunity to find information we’ve never had before. But with this unlimited access to news, misinformation can also spread – which can result in feelings of stress and fear. In times like these, who and where you get your news is extra important.
For updates about UBC’s response to COVID-19, please check: https://covid19.ubc.ca
For accurate and up-to-date health advice and information about the virus, check:
Visiting these links will keep you up to date and mindful of what’s going on, but plenty of mental health resources advice limiting your time reading COVID-19 news. The news can get pretty intense and disheartening at times, so try your best to read a mix of different news. Trust us, there are lots of inspiring and positive things going on too!
LOOKING AFTER YOUR HEALTH
Taking the right precautions is necessary to keep yourself and those around you safe. These are some of the consistent rules the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control insist we all follow during this time:
Wash your hands regularly.
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Washing your hands (with soap!) for at least* 20 seconds actually kills the virus that may be lingering on your hands if you accidentally come into contact.
Practice social distancing.
Maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance between yourself and others, especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or know anyone who is, make sure to stay home and follow the advice of your health care provider.
If you're feeling ok, social distancing doesn't have to be as isolating as it sounds. Yes, it is best to avoid crowded places and non-essential gatherings, as well as finding fun alternative greetings that avoid the touch of a handshake. But as long as you are keeping the appropriate distance, you can still go outside for walks and head to the store for necessities. You can greet loved ones with a fun wave or foot tap. And you can even use contactless food delivery services to help safely support local businesses.
With all the technology available to us, you can connect with people in so many ways - from FaceTiming family and virtual Netflix dates with friends, to online group meetings to stay in touch with your lab.
If it's possible to create a routine from home - stay inside as much as possible! Since everyone is in this together, there are so many resources you can turn to to stay healthy and happy. Whether its online workouts and educational courses, or movie marathons and virtual concerts from your favourite musicians. Staying home is the best thing you can do to protect yourself, the people you love and the healthcare workers who are doing the best they can to help.
(We love this Curiocity Vancouver page that stays up to date on activities we can take part in from home - like virtual polar bear exhibits or how to sign up for free online classes. UBC even put together some online learning resources for everyone working on studies from home. There are plenty of similar resources online that cater to everyone's unique interests. All you need is a search engine and the courage to reach out!)
Don’t touch your face!
Since your hands have the ability to pick up viruses from the many surfaces they touch, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
If you have to cough or sneeze, make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw away the tissue immediately and wash your hands with soap and water. (Soap really is the magic elixir of our time.)
If you develop symptoms, immediately self-isolate (stay in a room that is not shared with anyone else) and call your health-care provider or the provincial health line 8-1-1 to discuss the need for testing and follow up. As a reminder, please keep in touch with your lab and if you need anything do not hesitate to reach out.
A new toll-free phone line has also been established for Canadians (1-833-784-4397) to answer general questions about COVID-19.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
When it comes to mental health, there are plenty of resources you can turn to – whether it’s online advice, virtual therapy or help over the phone! Our website has a page on valuable health and mental health resources available to UBC students, but if you haven’t found what you are looking for please see below for some extra useful links on how to cope during this time.
Canadian Mental Health Association: Coronavirus – Managing Stress & Anxiety:
World Health Organization: Coping with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
It’s also important during this time to keep a familiar routine (as familiar as you can) which includes eating healthy, getting enough sleep, being active and staying connected to your community and the people who care about you. Use this extra time to continue doing the things you love and maybe even try something new!
The entire world has come together in a way we’ve never seen before – and people everywhere are creating ways to connect. Musicians are putting on live virtual concerts, writers are creating free interactive workshops, popular tourist places are publishing virtual tours, and creatives and academics alike are finding ways to share their passion and teach classes online.
It’s ok to be worried and it’s ok to be scared, but in these changing times it is also ok to let go and appreciate the time to sit, breathe and remember the important things in life.