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Building Bridges by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante    

Preparing for winter with COVID-19

by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante

I hear from many people about how September and October felt very busy and stressful in a lot of ways. Not only do we have our existing responsibilities and everyday worries, we also have to be mindful of safety and health in a way that we never had to before. We are finding new ways to live with COVID-19 in our community, which includes changes at work, safety precautions in public places, cancellation or changes to recreational activities, and school for students.

Manitoba is currently seeing a sharp rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, which many people find alarming. Health professionals are advising that we are at a critical point that will greatly affect the course of the pandemic for us. It is important to be diligent and remind ourselves that we all have a part in stopping the spread of the virus.

Protecting ourselves and others

With everything that people are trying to manage, it is important that we remind ourselves of the basics when it comes to keeping ourselves and others safe:

  • Wear a mask when you are around others to reduce the risk of spreading the virus
  • Stay at least 2 metres or 6 feet away from others whenever possible
  • Stay home and isolate from others if you are sick
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Screen yourself for symptoms whenever you leave the home. The Manitoba Self-Screening Tool can be found at
  • Limit close contact with people who live outside of your home
  • Stay away from large crowds
  • Consider getting the flu shot

Keeping ourselves mentally healthy

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even if you are not going out
  • Change out of your pajamas and get dressed every day
  • Exercise daily
  • Talk to family or friends
  • Engage in prayer, meditation, yoga or mindfulness exercises
  • List at least three things that you are grateful for every day
  • Find creative outlets or hobbies (e.g. knitting, artwork, photography, making music or dance)
  • Remind yourself that even though following public health guidelines can be challenging, you are helping your community.

At this critical juncture when our actions now will determine the course of the next few months, and maybe even years, it is important to remember that we are all in this together. Everyone around the world is united in what we value – health, the people we love, and the freedom to be together. The harder we work now, the closer we get to having what really matters!

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is a licensed therapist with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

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