Many of us are currently practicing self-isolation and social distancing in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are proud of our communities for committing to these measures during this time, we are aware of how hard this can be on individuals and families, and the strain that a lack of social contact with our friends and loved ones can put on our mental wellbeing. Therefore, this post is about some ideas to help maintain mental health while still taking care to follow the recommendations of local, provincial, and federal health authorities.
Tips to maintain mental health:
- Stay informed but don’t get overwhelmed: during times like these, it is important to stay informed and up to date on recommendations and steps that the government is taking, as well as advice from health authorities. However, it is essential to not get overwhelmed or bogged down in this kind of information. Be sure to take breaks from social media, watching, reading, or listening to the news.
- Stay connected: social distancing requires physical distancing, but this does not mean that you cannot reach out to people you care about. Talk to friends and family on the phone, through email, video calls, and other appropriate and safe social media platforms.
- Practice mindfulness: The government of Canada suggests taking deep breaths, stretching, and meditating. However, you can also do other things that are relaxing or that help your ability to de-stress.
- Keep up with your physical health: good physical health, supports good mental health. Eat healthy meals, exercise regularly from home, and get plenty of sleep.
- Focus on the positive, and the things you can control when you find yourself drifting towards negative thoughts or emotions, try to refocus on the things that are positive in your life, and the things that you do have control over.
- Be kind and compassionate: to yourself and others. Be patient with yourself and the people you live with. This adjustment can be hard, everyone is doing their best. Care for yourself and for others.
- Minimize substance use.
Mental health and children:
One further tip that we would like to add that can be particularly beneficial for children is
- Setting and Following a Routine: Predictability in your daily schedule can help with consistency during difficult times and can help provide a sense of security. It is also a helpful tool for parents who are working from home and may also be simultaneously caring for and/or supporting students in their remote learning.
- A sample of routines is available here in PDF and here as a word document download.
Lastly, if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health during this time, visit this list of Virtual Supports during COVID-19 for a list of organizations that provide virtual mental health supports for a variety of concerns. You are not alone, reach out and get the supports that you need.
Source: Public Health Canada