How to politely say “back off” during a coronavirus epidemic – National


We have been told over and over again: practice physical distance and stay at least six feet – or a distance from pool noodles – from others to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

As health officials urge Canadians to leave home only for necessary reasons, such as grocery shopping once a week, what happens when you go out on the world and people respect them not your space?

You have the right to politely request a physical distance, says Allyson Harrison, associate professor of psychology at Queen’s University.

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“The first thing to do is not to lose your temper,” said Harrison.

“Because if you lose your temper, it allows the other person to write you as someone who is just emotionally unstable and then they can rationalize so as not to take you seriously. “

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Create an answer

How you react to someone invading your personal space may depend on where you are and who you are around.

If you buy groceries or enter a prescription, for example, many stores have markers on the floor indicating how far away shoppers should be kept away from each other.

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If someone starts loading their items onto a store’s treadmill while you are still checking or getting too close to you in an aisle, kindly ask them to wait.

“You can politely say,” Would you mind being a little further from me? We are supposed to be six feet apart. I’ll be done in a minute, “said Harrison.

Steve Joordens, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, says it is helpful to “create a response” so that you are ready to respond to those who do not practice physical distance.

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That way, said Joorden, you will not react based on emotion.

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“Now is the time to learn to assert yourself,” he said. “And it’s not comfortable [for everyone]. “

Joordens suggests that people prepare a respectful line, which should make it clear to someone that they are not physically distancing themselves.

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Tell the person that being close to you makes you feel uncomfortable, he said, which poses a threat to your health and that of others.

It is also wise to prepare for how a person may react.

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“With any luck, they say,” Oh, my God, I’m sorry. I did not think. “And it will be great,” he said.

“But they can react and say,” Oh, what are you, some kind of little fool? “In many of these situations, I think the right thing to do is to turn your back and walk away, if you can.

“We’re all so emotionally abrupt right now – it’s very easy for something to turn out of control. “

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Monitor your own behavior

In an ideal world, everyone respects physical distance. But because not everyone does it, you may have to change your own behavior, says Harrison.

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If you’re on the sidewalk, for example, and see a couple who’s not far from each other, change your route or cross the street.

In grocery stores, Harrison says you may want to go down a different aisle until the space you need is cleared if you are concerned that others will overshoot.

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If someone really puts others at risk, you may need to ask a grocery worker to intervene, she says.

Know that you may feel anxious

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone and has changed the way most of us live our daily lives. Experts say it’s completely normal – and normal – to feel anxious during this uncertain time.

“Being quarantined, being isolated and not being able to go out and physically interact with people is really difficult,” said Harrison.

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Tips to Reduce Covid Stress

“It is really a source of anxiety and stress for people – especially for people who live alone or don’t have someone to share this kind of physical closeness with.”

Joordens said it is important that people learn to manage their anxiety and overcome the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. He even launched a free online course on managing anxiety during the COVID-19 epidemic to help people do just that.

“Now we have to learn to deal with it because if the anxiety subsides for too long, it starts to compromise our immune system – and it’s not good – or it can turn into depression,” he said. .

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“The good news is that there are ways to manage it … [and] now that this is so common among many of us, this is a good opportunity for us … to learn these strategies together. “

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:

Health authorities warn against all international travel. Return travelers are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days, starting March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent the spread of the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to provide self-isolation for people returning to the region.

Symptoms may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people may develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and people with serious chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing up your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying at home as much as possible, and keeping two meters away from others if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage by Global News, click here.

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