While we are living in the midst of a pandemic, it is not uncommon to experience an increase in mental health and wellness concerns such as anxiety, stress, low mood and feelings of loneliness. It can be difficult to cope during this time of uncertainty; however, it is important to attend to your mental health and well-being. Below are some tools, techniques and resources to help you manage during these difficult times.
1. Stick to Factual News Sources
It is important to stay up to date as the Coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving and can change daily (WHO, 2020). However, it can be extremely stressful to constantly read and watch news stories that can bring about feelings of fear and anxiety, particularly those that are not communicated by reliable sources. Setting a boundary for yourself, for example limiting your news intake to 1-2 times a day for 10-minute check-ins, can help to alleviate anxiety, stress and feeling overwhelmed by the current situation. Some accurate sources for Coronavirus news and updates include:
2. Try to Stay Connected
Practicing social distancing can lead to people feeling disconnected and isolated. Do your best to keep in touch with family and friends by telephone, video chat, email, social media, or use a helpline for emotional support. During times of stress, it can be difficult to reach out to others and stay connected. Check in on your loved ones if you have not heard from them in a little while and encourage them to check in on you too.
3. Take Care of Yourself!
The mind and body are fundamentally linked, therefore everyday habits can have a significant impact on your mental health. Some tips for taking care of both your mental and physical health include:
- Developing a routine throughout the day
- Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated
- Exercising – YouTube is a great resource for guided workouts to suit all skill levels
- Get enough sleep and try to maintain a healthy sleep schedule
- Engage in mindfulness, meditation, art, hobbies, and relaxation techniques
- Find the self-care practice that works best for you
4. Focus On What You Can Control
The increased sense of anxiety and stress associated with the novel Coronavirus often comes from a place of wanting to make sense of uncertainty. Accepting the uncertainty and shifting your focus to what you can control can empower you and help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed, fatigued, anxious and scared. Although we cannot control the virus outbreak, we can take steps to reduce our own personal risk, and care for our physical and mental well-being. Some of these steps include:
- Following prevention tips to stay healthy (washing your hands, practicing social distancing)
- Accessing mental health resources at home
- Following all recommendations from qualified health authorities
5. Access Mental health and Well-Being Support
Coping on your own can be difficult, especially during these uncertain times. Thankfully there are many mental health resources available to Canadians who are in need. Below is a list of mental health resources, COVID-19 information/articles as well as some mindfulness and meditation apps: