Hello there! I do hope that you are doing alright during these COVID times.  My how the world has changed.  In this post, I share some updates, introduce my new Executive Assistant, and share some ways of how to cope with this pandemic. It has been some time since my last blog post, sincere apologies for that.  Things have been rather busy between caring for a busy toddler and school and seeing clients.  I am still at Tyndale University part time, but now in the Master of Theology program, which is similar to the Master of Divinity, but more of a Biblical focus.  In the future, I am interested in doing a Doctorate in Ministry, but we’ll see, one step at a time!    I am so pleased and grateful to have an Executive Assistant on board since January 2020.  Her name is Lena Chhouk.  She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology with an Honours Distinction, and has applied to do a Masters for September 2020.  You may have seen her before our office closed down for COVID, happily scanning resources at the front desk.  She has generously given her time to compose this blog on the Coronavirus, I hope it is helpful to you.  Please let me know if there is any way we can be of assistance to you during this trying time.  I am grateful I have had video sessions set up long before this virus came along, so if you need any on-line services, please do not hesitate to reach out. All the very best to you and your family, Melissa ———————- 5 Ways to Cope with the Coronavirus Composed by Lena Chhouk Edited by Melissa Johari The Coronavirus is a topic that is hard to avoid especially since it has negatively impacted the lives of so many people. Not only is this novel virus fear-inducing because it is invisible and the future is unpredictable at this time, but it is also amplified by seeing others resort to “panic buying.”  Some are stocking up on supplies for fear that essential stores will close or governments will implement more strict measures. Whether it is through easy access to updates from local news stations or even more easy access to misinformation spread throughout social media, there is no doubt that this virus has had a large impact on the mental health of many people. With that being said, it is important to check in frequently with yourself because anxiety and stress due to the severity of the virus is normal. Here are 5 ways you can cope with COVID: 1/ The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommends creating your own self-care plan because self-care looks different for everyone. Whether it is through activities such as journaling, detoxing from electronic devices or connecting with friends through a virtual game night, the possibilities are endless. 2/ Connecting with others in a time of need such as this pandemic has never been easier. Finding calm through talking with loved ones over Zoom or FaceTime can be helpful.  Checking in with elderly neighbours, of course from a safe physical distance!  Be neighbourly and get involved, maybe consider offering to pick up some groceries next time you go to the supermarket.  And if needed, there are resources available for crisis situations. Resources such as Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone can be used by texting “CONNECT” to 686868 or texting into the Ontario Online and Text Crisis Services at 258258 or calling the Ontario Mental Health Helpline at 1-866-531-2600. 3/ Staying informed from reputable sources and trusted agencies can help reduce anxiety. The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends getting credible information from sources such as the Government of Canada and the World Health Organization. It is important to remain self-aware of the amount of information you are exposing yourself to and take breaks whenever they are needed. 4/ Start thinking about what you can control during this uncertain time. Whether it is making arrangements for grocery deliveries, simply washing your hands, or helping out those in need, it is important to think about how you have had to adjust your lifestyle because of the virus. Additionally, the Anxiety Canada website has a course that kids and adults can enrol in to help cope with anxiety.  Given the unknown future, this is helpful as we are all struggling with a sense of anxiety these days. 5/ Lastly, be kind to yourself and do your part! By practising good hygiene, physical distancing and staying home, you are doing your part to flatten the curve. In a time of uncertainty, at least some things are under our control. By practicing gratitude and taking things day by day, it can get easier to cope with this pandemic. While anxiety and stress may be a normal reaction for what is going on in the world right now, it is important to take some time to think of how you can mitigate these reactions for the sake of your health and those around you. Take what is helpful, leave what isn’t and know that we are all in this together. Sources   Some other helpful resources to cope with COVID: -Right Now Media - Jonathan Pokluda - COVID -Right Now Media - Jenny Allen - Get Out of Your Head  -MindShift App (resourceful CBT phone app) for book explaining COVID to kids - Tolerance for Uncertainty COVID Workbook - Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook -Today's Parent