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Last updateMon, 06 Apr 2020 11am

Tips to cope with pandemic stress

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    The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping up to be one of the largest challenges for the world this generation, and while there have been many measures put in place to protect ourselves physically, it is important to pay attention to mental health.
    Rachel Dundas, executive director of Wheatland County Counselling and registered Psychologist notes this is an unprecedented time.
    “It is a concern for everybody,” she said.
    There are many worries from our own health and well-being, the economy, personal and financial security, as well as the challenges that come with social distancing and isolation.
    “Novel and unfamiliar events promote anxiety in the public in general, and also unrealistic fears are quite common,” she said. “Social distancing can also lead to isolation, which can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions. Increased anxiety, decreased socialization can lead to depression or those types of concerns resurfacing.
    She said the Psychologists Association of Alberta has released a set of tips to help people cope during a pandemic. One of the top strategies is to limit media consumption, just enough to stay informed and to avoid discussion about the event if these have the potential to escalate into conflict.
    “Remember that life will go on,” Dundas says is one of the most important, “people have always survived difficult life circumstances.”
    There is a lot of fear-mongering going on, especially on Facebook, people need to realize what people see on Facebook isn’t necessarily the truth. They should be following credible government websites for recommendations and information.”
    During this crisis, most students are at home and most will have questions. Dundas says, it is important to be honest.
    “Communicating honestly to children, in age-appropriate language is best. It’s okay to say you don’t know, and this has never happened before,” she said. “Helping them develop an at-home routine and keeping this predictable is also a suggestion. Reassuring them they are safe, being honest about risks (low) and not allowing your own anxiety to cloud how you interact (practice self-care).”
    Another coping tool is to build your resilience. This includes looking at what has worked for you in the past or maybe adding new tools to manage adversity.
        “Resiliency is our ability to face upsetting and difficult situations and then come out the other side. Often our biggest barrier to being resilient is our own thoughts,” Dundas said. “It is a lot of self-care; take a hot bath, write in a journal, do things like writing a coping statement on a card and read it three times a day, something along the lines of ‘I have been through difficult things before, I can get through this.’”
    While she notes some information on social media can cause stress, the connections within your network are important. Maintaining social connections are an important part of coping, even if it is through the telephone, internet, or social media.
    It is also important to keep things in perspective.
    While governments are planning for the worst, we do not need to expect the worst.
    For some, a good coping tool is to have a plan for how you would respond if you or a loved one is diagnosed. Developing a contingency plan can lessen anxiety.
    Finally, she notes to know when to seek professional help. If you are struggling with activities, or your nervousness or sadness is adversely affecting your daily routine, it may be suggested to reach out to a healthcare professional or a psychologist.


Dancing with the Dinosaurs wins Tourism Champion Award

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In its short three-year history the Dancing with the Dinosaurs Powwow has become a premier event on Canada Day in Drumheller.
It is also now an award winner.
Organizers Mike and Lynn Fabrick learned this month that Dancing with the Dinosaurs has been selected for the Cindy Amos Tourism Champion Award. It was presented at the Canadian Badlands Tourism Development Conference on March 5 in Strathmore.
The Dancing with the Dinosaurs Powwow began in 2017, and already planners are getting ready for this year’s event on Canada Day in the park near the Badlands Community Facility. The cultural celebration attracts dozens of dancers to share their performances. Mike says there is a lot of hard work by volunteers into putting on the event, and it also enjoys great support from the community.
This year Mike says they will be changing the format a little bit this season, but the show will go on.
The award is named after Cindy Amos, who served as executive director of Canadian Badlands. This award is open to municipalities, organizations and groups that exemplify the characteristics that made Ms. Amos a true champion of Tourism in the Canadian Badlands.
The submissions for the award are adjudicated on the demonstration of leadership, efforts to promote tourism and development, collaboration and the impact of the group’s efforts.
The winner of the award receives a plaque, recognition on the Canadian Badlands website and a contribution of $250 will be made in the winner’s name to the Cindy Amos Memorial Scholarship at SAIT.

Economic Recovery Taskforce established

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The Town of Drumheller and the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to establish an Economic Recovery Task Force to assist local businesses to get through the COVID-19 crisis and be ready when the situation returns to normal.
There have been a number of programs being offered by local, provincial, and federal governments as well as through financial institutions. The task force is offering support for businesses to navigate these various programs.
"As the local Chamber of Commerce representing the business community, we are pleased to partner with the Town of Drumheller to create an economic recovery task force,” said Chamber executive director Heather Bitz. “It is critical we provide necessary resources and support to the business community to ensure its continuity during and after the COVID-19 crisis."
The Taskforce is also able to assist non-profits and charitable organizations access programs.
According to a press release, the program aims to provide businesses, non-profits, and charitable organizations with telephone or online support with information and eligibility about financial aid programs launched by the Governments of Canada and Alberta. It will also provide information and eligibility about the FCSS Grant program for charitable and non-profit organizations, as well as information and eligibility about the Town of Drumheller’s deferral programs.
It also aims to provide information about the Canada Revenue Agency’s filing deadline changes and payment deferral program, along with information about mortgage, lines of credit and other debt deferral programs offered by Canada’s largest lenders.

“Next to our residents, our local businesses are the heart and soul of this community. We have established an economic recovery task force to assist in navigating the various deferral programs offered by the federal and provincial governments,” said Town of Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg.
They have formed a team of professionals from throughout the valley for the taskforce, offering all kinds of expertise from program advice to grant application help to
legal advice.
More information, including contact information of taskforce supports, is available at here.


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