With the onset of the pandemic, many people may find themselves feeling stressed out and anxious over the new rules and way of life. Social distancing, mask wearing, staying at home. It’s a lot to remember and adjust! With the easing of rules in many places, and the possibility of a second wave, we’re adapting to yet another new normal. Feelings of unease, frustration, and anxiety over the uncertainty of the future are all normal and expected.
There are a number of things that you can do to help improve your mental health and help make this period of uncertainly a little easier on yourself. Here are some things that members of the CWH team have found to help us:
Take comfort in routines
Routines and predictability are helpful in times of uncertainty and stress. They can anchor us when everything is up in the air. With everything around us constantly changing and evolving, creating routines where we can create them can be a real comfort. You likely had a routine every morning as you got ready for work. You can do the same thing now. Create a morning routine to help get you set up for the work day even though it’s at home. Whether it be making yourself some coffee, going for a stroll around the block, doing a morning meditation session or a combination of things, find something that works for you.
Use reliable sources of information
The internet can be both a blessing and a curse. With so much information available to you at your fingertips, it can be easy to fall down a deep hole of misinformation and fear mongering. When reading about COVID-19, ensure you are using reliable sources to ensure you’re getting correct and factual information. Look to your provincial public health department or the Government of Canada website for the latest news and updates. And if you’re finding everything to be overwhelming, take a step back and limit how much media you consume.
Stay connected to family and friends
Humans are social beings and we thrive on social interactions. For many, a part of being healthy means having social interactions with friends and family. However, socializing has taken a different form during the pandemic. Plan online video calls, play online games, or connect on social media. The internet makes it easy to keep in touch even when staying at home. If you feel comfortable, you can see friends and family in person while maintaining physical distancing. Many health authorities have also issued guidance on creating a social bubble where you socialize exclusively with one group of people.
Learning ways to calm your mind will be useful now and for the future. Whether it be yoga, meditation or breathing techniques, learning these skills can help keep you grounded and manage your anxious thoughts. If you’re not sure where to start, there are lots of apps available to guide you through meditation and videos on YouTube with yoga practices that you can follow along with. We’re big fans of Headspace and Yoga with Adriene around here.
Be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself is one of the best things you can do while practicing social distancing at home. Treat yourself well by eating tasty and nutritious food, sleeping adequately, exercising and doing things that make you happy.
Know when you need to seek outside help
If you find it to be all too much and too overwhelming, there are many resources that you can access during this period. Many provincial governments are offering programs to assist their citizens through this time. Here are some resources from the various government agencies:
The Canadian Mental Health Association B.C. Division has created this mental health check-in tool to help you assess yourself. Completing it helps you reflect on your current state and offers resources that may be of help at the end.
Times like these can be challenging for all of us. While trying to stay healthy at home, don’t forget to keep your mind healthy as well. We’re all in this together.