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International couples plan reunions in Canada under new travel exception – CBC.ca

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Alia Youssef and Mohamed El-Sawah have been in a long-distance relationship for the better part of a year, though they live just a 35-minute drive apart.

Youssef lives in Windsor, Ont., El-Sawah in a suburb of Detroit.

When the Canada-U.S. border was closed in March due to COVID-19, they were forced to place many of the cultural and religious traditions important to their Egyptian, Muslim engagement on hold.

Youssef has yet to meet her husband-to-be’s parents in person. The two have been looking at wedding venues and getting to know each other’s families over video calls.

“We’re engaged with no rings, let’s call it that,” El-Sawah said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Couples like Youssef and El-Sawah have been in a grey area since pandemic-related travel restrictions came into effect, unable to reunite due to their unmarried status. But some hope appeared last week when Ottawa announced it would ease some border restrictions.

Starting Thursday, romantic partners of Canadians can apply to enter the country, with documentation proving at least a year-long relationship. Extended family members including grandparents, adult children and grandchildren and those seeking entry for compassionate grounds may also apply.

Specifics on who qualifies, what documents are required and how to apply will be defined in greater detail on Thursday.

Couples on opposite sides of the border are preparing to reunite under new exemptions, even though the Canadian government has asked them to hold-off until specifics are announced. (Rob/Gurdebeke)

It’s a welcome avenue for couples whose lives have been placed on hold for the last eight months. Youssef, El-Sawah and others in international engagements can now proceed cautiously with their wedding plans — factoring in quarantine requirements, work obligations and limits on other relatives allowed to travel and participate.

“We’re really happy, but it’s just now we have to take what we have and work with it,” Youssef said.

The pair plan to reunite in December, when El-Sawah can take the required two weeks off from work. At the end of his quarantine, they hope to finally exchange rings and hold a small engagement party, though El-Sawah will be the only member of his biological family there.

Eager couples plan ahead, await approval

While Ottawa has stressed that nobody should make travel plans until they’ve been approved under the program, some have eagerly started booking accommodations and packing their bags.

Sarah Campbell of Stratford, Ont., cried tears of happiness at the announcement. She’s been separated from her fiance Jacob Taylor during the pandemic and through a cancer diagnosis this July.

Campbell and Taylor, who lives in Bath, England, are gathering documents showing proof of their relationship in anticipation of the soon-to-be-announced requirements.

“We’re hoping he can be here by Saturday,” she said in a telephone interview. “Jacob is ready to go.”

If everything goes according to plan, they hope to be married by the end of the month — the day after Taylor’s quarantine ends.

The silver lining to me is I know a thousand per cent, a million per cent that she’s the one and she’s willing to put the effort,– Mohamed El-Sawah

Kaylee Carson of Cleveland, Ohio, also moved quickly after hearing the news. She snapped up an available Airbnb in Barrie, Ont., where her Canadian fiance Darren Quesnel works.

“I went ahead and booked,” Carson said by phone. “I’m going to be there for two months, so I just booked the first month and I figured if I’m not there by then he can just go stay at the Airbnb until I get there.”

She’s happy an end to their separation is in sight, though the eventual wedding date in the U.S. is still to be determined.

“It’s just a relief to know that I’m going to get to go see him,” she said.

Pressure on Ottawa to make a change

David Poon has been running a campaign along with other families not covered by the former travel exemptions, asking Ottawa to adapt immigration measures to accommodate those left out. He said participants are grateful the government found a solution.

“We know that it was an incredibly difficult problem to solve,” he said from Ireland, where the Canadian doctor is currently staying with his partner.

The key demand — allowing adult children and non-married couples to reunite in Canada — has been won, but Poon said the biggest hurdle remaining for the approximately 7,500 people involved in the campaign is inability for many to take time off work to quarantine.

Those on temporary visas also face challenges bringing their loved ones to Canada.

Youssef and her U.S. fiancee plan on seeing each other in December. The translation on her shirt reads, “You’re beautiful as you are.” (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

He stressed that the campaign isn’t fighting quarantine rules, but looking for a solution so more people can take advantage of the program — like requiring the Canadian partner to isolate once their significant other leaves the country, no matter the length of their stay.

The uncertainty of waiting and the challenges of planning a wedding long-distance during a pandemic have been painful, El-Sawah said. But the experience has brought the couple together on a deeper level, and convinced him beyond a doubt that he’s found a soul mate and life partner in Youssef.

“It affirmed my love for this woman,” he said. “The silver lining to me is I know a thousand per cent, a million per cent that she’s the one and she’s willing to put the effort. Whatever life throws at us, we’ll be able to handle it.”

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One-third of Canadians may never recover financially from COVID-19: report – Yahoo Canada Finance

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North America and LATAM Hummus Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Regional Analysis By Type, Application, Distribution Channel, and Geography

The North America and LATAM hummus market was valued at US$ 973. 10million in 2019 and is projected to reach US$ 2,555. 25 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12. 9% from 2020 to 2027.New York, Oct. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report “North America and LATAM Hummus Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Regional Analysis By Type, Application, Distribution Channel, and Geography” – https://www.reportlinker.com/p05978888/?utm_source=GNW Hummus is a kind of levantine paste or spread, which is prepared by cooking and mashing chickpeas or beans, mixed together with olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and garlic.Hummus is a composition of natural ingredients and is known for its rich nutritional profile, which helps to maintain heart and blood health while managing weight. They are one of the organic and clean label forms of products that are increasingly preferred by consumers opting minimally processed and organic plant-based food items. Factors such as rise in demand for protein rich foods, growing focus toward veganism, rise in number of new product launches, and expanding retail space are among the factors stimulating the growth of hummus market in the North and Latin America region. Based on type, the North America and LATAM hummus market is segmented into original hummus, red pepper hummus, black olive hummus, white beans hummus, edamame hummus, and others.In 2019, original hummus segment dominated the North America and LATAM hummus market. Original hummus is a type of spread, dip, or savoury dish that is prepared from cooked or mashed chickpeas, which is blended with tahini, garlic, or lemon juice.Original hummus preparation is an easy and affordable process, and the resulting flavor is superior to the tubs of store-bought dips. Original hummus is often paired with freshly fried falafel and is also shared alongside full mudammas in a dish that is known as hummus full.In some western countries such as the US and Mexico, the original hummus is served as an appetizer or snack dip together with vegetable crudities, chips, and pita breads. The original hummus is high in nutrition content and is packed with plant based proteins. It is rich in fibers that promote digestive health and feeds the good gut bacteria in the human body. Besides this, it is low in glycemic index that helps in controlling the blood sugar levels. Impact Assessment of COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting economies and industries in various countries, including the US, India, Brazil, Russia, Italy, the UK, Iran, and Spain.Food &beverages is one the world’s major industries facing serious disruptions in the form of supply chain breaks, events cancellations, and office shutdowns as a result of the lockdowns imposed in various countries to contain the disease spread. Although, China is the global manufacturing hub and is the largest raw material supplier for various industries, it is also one of the worst-affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic.The lockdown of various plants and factories in China is affecting the global supply chains and adversely impacting the manufacturing and sales of various chemical and materials. These factors are likely to restrain the growth of various markets related to the food &beverages industry in the next few financial quarters. Geographically, the hummus market is broadly segmented into North America and LATAM (Latin America) region.In 2019, North America held a larger share of the North America and LATAM hummus market. The growth of the hummus market in this region is primarily attributed to rapid growth of food & beverage industry in the region.Rising demand for healthy and nutritional food products among the health-conscious consumers is another major factor driving the growth of the hummus market in North America. Additionally, rising trend toward veganism coupled with growing preference toward healthy convenience food items and protein rich food is expected to fuel the growth of the North America hummus market. Bakkavor; Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods Inc.; Hope Foods, LLC; Lantana Foods; Lancaster Colony Corporation; Tribe Hummus; Strauss Group; Fountain of Health; Boar’s Head Brand; and Hummus Goodness are among the players present in the North America and LATAM hummus market. The North America and LATAM hummus market size has been derived in accordance with to both primary and secondary sources.To begin the research process, exhaustive secondary research has been conducted using internal and external sources to obtain qualitative and quantitative information related to the market. Also, multiple primary interviews have been conducted with industry participants and commentators to validate the data, as well as to gain more analytical insights into the topic. The participants typically involved in this process include industry experts such as VPs, business development managers, market intelligence managers, and national sales managers along with external consultants such as valuation experts, research analysts, and key opinion leaders specializing in the North America and LATAM hummus market. Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05978888/?utm_source=GNW About Reportlinker ReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need – instantly, in one place. __________________________ CONTACT: Clare: clare@reportlinker.com US: (339)-368-6001 Intl: +1 339-368-6001

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Few outlets for grief as COVID-19 death toll surpasses 10000 in Canada – CTV News

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TORONTO —
On March 8, a man in his 80s died in a B.C. care home, the very first Canadian victim of a new virus sweeping across the globe.

Seven months later, we have passed a tragic milestone: more than 10,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Canada.

Hidden behind this number is not only the thousands of individual stories of loss, but also the countless loved ones left behind to struggle with their grief in a time when families cannot gather to properly mourn.

COVID-19 has torn through Canada’s landscape, causing upheaval in the health care system, in schools, in families and workplaces.

The victims range from the young to the old, from care home residents to doctors working tirelessly in hospitals. Many died of the virus before its severity was fully grasped by the population.

A GLIMPSE OF THE TOLL

Just one of the 10,000 victims is Sean Cunnington, a 51-year-old musician, father and husband who was killed by COVID-19 in March.

His wife, Teri Cunnington, described him as “the most caring, most genuine, loving person.”

“You know, he was my everything,” she told CTV News.

She was among the first to warn of the tragic effects of the disease after she lost her husband, urging people to take the virus seriously and follow health precautions.

“Anybody can catch this disease,” she said. “Anybody can.”

Older adults tend to have more severe cases, but young people can still be killed by the novel coronavirus.

In Quebec, a community was stunned when 19-year-old Don Beni Kabangu Nsapu was taken by the virus in August.

The teenager had come to Canada in 2015 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and was “an angel,” according to his high school soccer coach, Stephane Kalonga.

“You cannot ask for a better son, or a better little brother, or better guy than Don Beni,” Kalonga said.

Some had battled other conditions or health issues for years before COVID-19 came along.

When 57-year-old Deb Diemer started feeling unwell a few weeks after a successful kidney transplant, her family thought it was nothing.

“We just thought it was a simple cold she had,” her husband, Mike Diemer, told CTV News.

Deb had been through a lot and always come out on top before, having received a double-lung transplant in 2002 — 16 years after being diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension.

Her husband said that even when they knew it was COVID-19, “we thought we had this beat.”

Nine days after she tested positive, she died in her Calgary home.

“She was a woman in her 50s with pre-existing conditions,” Mike Diemer said. “I’m not going to let her be reduced to that, a statistic.”

Another group of people put at a higher risk of contracting the virus is the very people trying to stop it.

After decades of work in the medical field, Dr. Abubakar Notiar died of COVID-19 at 80 years old.

“This virus is deadly, and it took a giant from our lives,” his son, Dr. Reza Notiar, told CTV News.

He emphasized that his father, who worked for 50 years in Kenya providing healthcare to those who couldn’t afford it, was someone who always put others first.

“He, over half a century, took care of tens of thousands of people for free.”

There have been countless deaths among those working on the front lines of this pandemic, sometimes without proper equipment or protection themselves.

Like 61-year-old Leonard Rodriques, a personal support worker who died in May, and had to buy his own personal protective equipment (PPE) from the dollar store.

The day he died, his wife found him motionless in their bedroom.

“I saw him flat on his back with the phone in his hand and the glasses were all twisted on his face,” Dorothy Rodriques said.

The family performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived, but nothing could be done.

“My son is screaming, ‘Dad, don’t leave us,’” Dorothy recalled.

His daughter, Terena, told CTV News that “there are so many PSWs like him who are not being protected.

“My Dad’s dead. Gone.”

These are just a few of the people who have been struck down by the virus.

THE GRIEF OF THOSE LEFT BEHIND

But despite the thousands of Canadians dying due to this virus, this massive grief has been largely invisible — COVID-19 has cancelled funerals, driven families indoors and made it harder to share the pain or celebrate the lives of those who passed away.

Grief counsellors and psychologist say we need outlets and support.

“This is absolutely unprecedented,” Shelly Cory, executive director of the Canadian Virtual Hospice, told CTV News.

The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides resources such as MyGrief.ca and KidsGrief.ca to help families, kids and people deal with grief and subjects around palliative care and advanced illness.

According to Cory, since the pandemic started, inquiries and requests for help through their MyGrief.ca platform have increased by 270 per cent compared to last year.

“It worries me for the people who aren’t getting the support and it worries me for society, because when grief isn’t well supported, then it can slide into depression and thoughts of suicide,” Cory said.

A July study looking at the ripple effect of grief due to COVID-19 showed that for every person who died of COVID-19, an average of around nine people are left to shoulder the loss.

“So when we do the math, that’s a significant number of Canadians who are being impacted,” Cory said. “When we do the math further for all the people who are grieving during this period, whose grief is impacted, that number goes up to close to 1.3 million Canadians who in the last six, seven months have [experienced this grief].”

This number doesn’t even include the thousands of other deaths from other causes this year, and the families and friends whose grieving process for those deaths was disrupted by the inability to gather and mourn together because of public health restrictions.

“We’re not able to undertake all those rituals that we usually undertake when someone’s dying,” Cory said. “So we’re not able to gather at the bedside, to support both the person who’s dying and each other, so that human connection is being severed, and that human connection is so critical.”

Some victims of COVID-19 have said their final goodbyes to their loved ones over a video call before being intubated. Others have died alone in hospital, weeks after they last saw the face of a family member or friend.

Mubarak Popat, a 77-year-old who contracted COVID-19 in the U.K. in early March, died in the very same hospital that his daughter and son-in-law both worked at in Toronto. Despite working as doctors in the hospital he was a patient in, they were unable to be with him in his final moments.

“It was unimaginably hard and unimaginably traumatizing,” his daughter, Noreen, told CTV News. “It is going to take a long time to work through the feelings having gone through that.”

Cory said that when people are unable to have that human connection at the end of a loved one’s life, it can prolong and complicate the grief due to the lack of closure.

“That increases the risk of depression of anxiety and thoughts about suicide,” she said. “So it’s incredibly important for us to be able to respond to that.”

Across the country, and the globe, there are individual efforts to mark this invisible grief, such as the COVID-19 Memorial Blanket Project.

The monumental project will stitch together 12-inch squares emblazoned with the names of all of those lost, if the families give their consent.

“We are creating one individual square for every single person that we’ve lost in Canada,” Heather Breadner, one of the knitters behind the project, told CTV News.

They are aiming to be able to show the art installation in January of 2021, on the anniversary of the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Canada, but will have to quilt quickly. Already, the blanket is set to be more than 9,000 square feet and weigh approximately 680 kilograms, according to their website.

“Family members in various provinces can visit it, they can touch that square […] and know that somebody was thinking of them, and knit that square to represent their family member or their loved one that was lost,” Breadner said.

Grief is distinct from depression and stress, although both can result from grief, which means that resources aimed at supporting mental health can sometimes leave out those who are stricken with grief and struggling to handle it.

With grieving rituals so disrupted by COVID-19, the Canadian Virtual Hospice created the Canadian Grief Alliance (CGA), a group of national leaders in grief who are working to bolster grief services. They have almost one thousand organizations, both regional and national, and individuals signed up.

CGA submitted a proposal to Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 12, outlining an action plan to help support grieving Canadians that included investing in national grief programs and launching public awareness campaigns — but say they have not received a concrete response.

“The measure of a country is how it responds in its darkest days, and I’m really concerned by the fact that there isn’t a national response by the government to the lack of grief services, and for people who are grieving,” Cory said.

“These are the darkest days.”  

With files from Ryan Flanagan

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Canadians are feeling pandemic fatigue. Experts say ‘greater good’ message isn’t enough – Global News

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COVID-weary. COVID-tired. COVID-fatigued.

No matter how you chop it up, the feeling likely resonates for many at this point in the coronavirus pandemic. Months of isolation, fears and lifestyle changes have taken its toll. In turn, following COVID-19 safety guidelines has begun to feel like more and more of a challenge.

A new poll puts into perspective just how fatigued Canadians are. The poll, conducted by Ipsos, found nearly half of Canadians are getting tired of following public health recommendations and rules related to the virus. The feeling of burnout was most prominent in Quebec (52 per cent) and Alberta (53 per cent) and less so in British Columbia (34 per cent).

Read more:
Coronavirus ‘fatigue’ is real, but we can’t give up, says World Health Organization

The challenge now — both for people and policymakers — is tackling it.

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Igor Grossmann, psychology professor and director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, said understanding the situation at hand might help strengthen our resolve.

“We often get this ‘hunker down and get through it’ message,” he said. “But if we start accepting that this is a marathon situation, the sooner we develop meaning out of the situation.”


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Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules


Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules

Falling off the bandwagon

Not only has the medley of measures imposed by countries plunged economies into a sharp contraction, it’s also had a profound impact on people’s psychological well-being. Nine months since the lockdown, rules and restrictions still keep many aspects of life fenced in. In a separate poll, 25 per cent of Canadians said their stress level is higher than during the first COVID-19 wave.


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Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic


Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic

Understandably, “we’re exhausted,” said Steven Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

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High-stress situations often elicit a “fight-or-flight” response, he said, but that reaction is “meant to be short term.”

“When there’s a predator in front of you, you either take on the predator or get the heck away from them. Either way, 15 or 20 minutes and it’s over, and you come out of that state,” he said.

“We’ve had this predator staring in our face for months.”

What’s followed is a collective burnout or exhaustion, and everyone experiences it differently. Some may feel restless, irritable, lack motivation or have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Some people may find themselves withdrawing from socializing, while others might feel physical symptoms like changes in eating and sleep habits. Young people are particularly susceptible, according to Joordens.

Read more:
As cases increase, are Montrealers suffering from ‘COVID-19 fatigue’?


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How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge


How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge

The age divide is reflected in the Ipsos poll. Pandemic fatigue was highest among Generation Z (57 per cent), Millennials (50 per cent), and Generation X (53 per cent).

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The burnout has become somewhat of an adversary for governments trying to quell a second wave of the virus.

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Canada’s top doctor has repeatedly urged Canadians “not to give into COVID-19 fatigue.” So has the WHO. Its researchers estimate that about half the population of Europe is experiencing “pandemic fatigue” as infections surge yet again.

But the “stay home” message has expired, and experts worry the “greater good” or “we’re all in this together” message designed to keep people engaged has too.

“It’s very abstract,” said Grossmann. “For some people, it might work. But for individuals facing economic hardships because of the crisis, or people who are more concerned about simply surviving the next day with kids running around, that doesn’t resonate anymore.”


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Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up


Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up

What needs to change?

For one, we need to acknowledge “things are different now,” said Samantha Yammine, a neuroscientist and science communicator.

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Not only do we know far more about the virus than in March, we also have tools to make activities safer, said Yammine. She said too much of the focus has been the “no’s” and “you cant’s” despite the public appetite for wanting to do things, but do them safely.

“Fatigue comes from frustration.

“If we focus on what we can’t do rather than what we can, that’s why we fatigue. It feels very limiting.”

This is where adopting a harm reduction approach would be helpful, she said, both on an individual level and policy level.

“Every decision is a big task. … We’re at a point where should say, ‘Here’s how you reduce your risk as much as possible.’”

Read more:
What is the ‘Swiss cheese model’ and how can it apply to coronavirus?

Yammine said people need to feel empowered to make a choice through the right information.

“I think then they’ll feel less trapped and hopefully less fatigued,” she said.

According to the recent polling, 93 per cent of Canadians say they’re doing their best to abide by public health recommendations and rules. Support for safety measures also remains high. On masks, nearly 86 per cent of Canadians say they support the mandatory wearing of face masks when in public, with younger Canadians even more likely to be wearing them when out-and-about.

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“We’re in this process of modifying all of our habits, and it will get easier,” said Joordens.


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Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’


Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’

He said it was trickiest when things first reopened, which might have sent out mixed signals. When governments opted to open bars, restaurants and gyms, even with new rules, he said some people might have interpreted that as these places being safe or safer.

“Habits are triggered by the environment. So as soon as you go back into that bar, everything about it triggers you to behave like you did the last time you were there,” he said.

“The hope is that we develop new habits over time to keep up with the changes.”

But it won’t be easy, said Grossmann. He said the vagueness in some of the ever-changing recommendations deviates from the core message — that “this won’t be over anytime soon.”

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“Not every situation is alike, but we need to figure out how to balance something that is challenging in different ways across different provinces and different municipalities,” he said.

“You don’t want a new rule to come in and have people say, ‘Well, that doesn’t apply to me.’”

Read more:
A Canadian coronavirus winter is looming — and it could ‘amplify loneliness’

What can you do personally?

A looming winter will provide an extra challenge, experts agree. Weariness over restrictions might grow as cold weather forces people indoors.

It comes down to arming yourself with the “basics,” said Joordens — a good night’s sleep, good nutrition and routine exercise.

“Leading a random life makes our body unhappy,” he said. “You have to find activities that bring you to a better place mentally.”

Before the snow piles up, think about ways to get outdoors in advance, he said. And once it does, make sure you stay connected socially.


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Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months


Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months

“I recommend the phone because people actually pay attention when they’re talking to you on the phone,” he said with a laugh.

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It’s also good to remember that we’re not perfect, said Yammine.

“We’re still going to face tough decisions. It’s still going to feel exhausting,” she said. But keeping up with the twist-and-turns of pandemic rules and recommendations is “like any goal you can set.”

“A New Year’s resolution, even,” she said.

“People often say you give up on your resolution the first time you slip up — but that’s not the right thinking. Just because maybe you have more riskier encounter or you just don’t care one day, it doesn’t mean you can’t do better the next.”

“Risk is cumulative. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. We can try again.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 23-26, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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