TAKING CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
The current COVID-19 pandemic, is a serious virus that can be just as harmful on our mental health as it can be on our physical one.
One of the greatest challenges to our mental health is our lack of control over this situation. We are placing a lot of trust in our health officials and government, to both protect and inform us on how to keep ourselves safe.
The overwhelming amount of mixed information we receive can easily fill us with worry and stress. When we feel intense fear, our bodies can go into flight or fight protection mode, putting us on high alert. Being in either of these modes unnecessarily or for too long, can lead to a strain on our body.
Any of the following symptoms or a combination of these can be signs that you’re having difficulty coping with COVID-19:
Changes in sleep or eating pattern
Feelings of anxiety, worry, depression
Given the ongoing and fluid nature of this pandemic taking care of yourself now is more important than ever. We suggest that you follow and implement the following five steps as part of your daily routine.
UNDERSTAND & BE INFORMED
Psychologically, being informed is key, but don’t overdo it. Here are the credible information sources that we turn to:
Public Health Agency of Canada
World Health Organization
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
By now we all know that to prevent contracting the virus, these are the recommended guidelines to follow: wash our hands frequently, avoid touching our faces, work from home, reschedule all non-essential outings and ensure social distancing.
But above and beyond this, you can tune up your health with these personal daily goals:
30-minutes of exercise – whether you choose to follow a virtual workout indoors or go for a brisk walk or a run, preparing healthy meals that contain immune boosting foods and getting sufficient sleep.
There are also other easy ways to stay active at home, like completing your spring cleaning, organizing your home and finishing those tasks on your to-do list.
START A DAILY SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Spend time listening to your body and giving it what it needs. Practice deep breathing and mindfulness to reduce tension in your body. Take a long warm bath. Light a beautiful smelling candle. Do something that makes you feel happy or that makes you feel energized and accomplished. Create a daily schedule or routine that includes self-care moments.
SOCIAL DISTANCING & STAYING SOCIAL
Social support and connection are key to psychological well-being, especially for those who live alone. Stay connected to friends and family. Video call loved ones and start fun group chats over text.
SET UP AN APPOINTMENT WITH A PSYCHOTHERAPIST FOR TELEPHONE OR VIDEO COUNSELLING
If you are noticing signs that your mental health is suffering, try speaking to a psychotherapist or psychologist. Set up an appointment for counselling at a distance, like telephone counselling, video counselling or e-counselling.
Your therapist can send you helpful reading materials and mental health exercises. And you can easily fill out an online symptom assessment. That way the two of you will have everything you need to complete a session at a distance.
As this disruptive way of life continues, remember that this time is only temporary and that we will return to a normal way of living. You are not alone in feeling stress or anxiety, just take the necessary steps to ensure that you maintain your mental health. After all, we all deserve to feel comfortable and safe.