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Managing mental and physical wellbeing during 3rd wave of COVID-19

Weathering lockdowns and managing ever-changing restrictions has been part of daily life in Ontario for more than a year. As the third wave of COVID-19 forces continued isolation, many people wonder how much more they can take.

Doctors said even after a year, the risks of COVID-19 remain, and continued vigilance is needed.

“We need bold action, decisive action today to protect us,” said Dr. Michael Warner, director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto.

Experts said people are being affected differently by the recent lockdown measures, in comparison to a year ago, arguing some of the fear of COVID-19 has subsided.

One Toronto resident, Kira, shared her thoughts online in a Reddit post that quickly garnered attention.

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A year into the pandemic, mental health workers face burnout and soaring demands

“I think the best word is ‘overwhelmed’,” Kira said. “There are still breakouts that we are hearing about in factories warehouses and schools … all of those guidelines that were put in place the first time around has remained the same, but nothing has changed.”

Clinical social worker, Jake Ernst from Straight Up Health, said anger is another common reaction.

“We’ve been at it for over a year now, and we are really at our boiling point,” Ernst said.

Sociologist Jooyoung Lee, from the University of Toronto, said the pressures are playing out differently this time around. Many people are experiencing ‘pandemic fatigue.’

“We are seeing numbers climb up again, we are seeing the rise of variants that are more deadly and contagious,” Lee said.  “We’ve been doing this for so long [there’s a feeling] that our leaders are not designing policies that are going to help us get over this.”

Read more:
11 million Canadians could experience ‘high levels of stress’ due to COVID-19: Health Canada

But even with continued restrictions, these experts said there are still simple ways to practice self-care, and having a routine is critical.

“Things like sleep, it is eating well, it is having movement in our life, and also getting enough water, it’s that simple,” Ernst said.

Others added focusing on simple acts can foster happiness and help with stress.

“Invest time in yourself, invest time in your family that you are living with,” Lee said. “Do things that you might not otherwise do, find joys in the little things.”

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