When New Brunswickers woke up Saturday morning, the blast of winter came accompanied by the province’s move to the strictest level of its COVID-19 winter alert plan.
For most, that’s going to spell a lot more time stuck at home over the next two weeks — a repeat of past events.
“I call it whiplash,” says psychotherapist Françoise Mathieu, “and I think that we need to give ourselves a bit of time to just absorb that information.”
When it comes to time, New Brunswickers will have about two weeks.
Officials say the move to Level 3 will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. January 30.
During that period, Mathieu says it’s important to keep up a routine, even when you’re not going anywhere.
“Every morning I make my coffee and I don’t actually go to my computer until it’s the start of my workday,” she says.
“At the end of the day, I make sure that I literally have a system shutdown, even if I’m going to turn on my laptop 10 minutes later to watch my favourite show.”
She says you need to keep a good sleep schedule and good hygiene practices, and find ways to make social connection.
“I know it’s not the same to be on Zoom or FaceTime, but every time I do it I think I feel so much better after.
“Even if it’s just 20 minutes at lunch — makes a huge difference to us. It really does,” says Mathieu.
Connecting can be hard if you live alone, even if New Brunswick’s single-household bubble rule allows latching onto another household socially.
But that doesn’t mean this time is necessarily easier for families with a full house.
“I was kind of dreading the return of January,” says Melannie Eldridge, a mom in Riverview.
“Last January we were in a very similar boat here, right?”
For Eldridge, some of the hardest parts of sticking to your house have been helping her 9-year-old son understand what’s going on in the world.
“What’s really tough is when my son the other day asks me if things will ever be normal again,” she says.
“How do you answer that question?”
Anxiety Canada says parents in this position don’t need to have all the answers to have that conversation. The resource site recommends several things parents can say to approach the topic with their kids, but to do so with honesty and vulnerability.
Mathieu advises: show kindness to those around you as well as yourself.
She also recommends checking out a host of free resources made available by the government of Canada.