Over the last year and a half, COVID-19 has negatively affected many people's mental health. We remain under increasingly high stress, and it is becoming harder and harder to cope.
First, there is concern about the virus and that of health in general. Then there are the secondary effects, such as unemployment, finances, and increased isolation. For some, it’s a new struggle in terms of mental health, and for others, it’s made coping with pre-existing mental health issues even harder. During this time, remember to be gentle and compassionate towards yourself.
Below are some tips on how to take care of your mental health during COVID 19.
Taking a break from COVID-19 news
With the pandemic, there is an overwhelming amount of information in the media. Take a break from watching or reading the news. While it is important that you are aware of new updates, restrictions or policies, set limits on how often you check, and how much you consume, and where you get your information from. For example, I check once per day on either of these websites: COVID-19 info for Albertans | Alberta.ca COVID-19 Information for Albertans | Alberta Health Services
Incorporating movement and exercise
Exercise is well known to improve mental health. Being active can prevent or reduce mental health symptoms. With COVID-19, it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise. Be kind to yourself and do what you can. Depending on where you are, you may not have access to your gym, fitness centre or recreational facilities. As frustrating as this may be, consider exploring other ways to exercise.
Exercise at home: yoga, HIIT, dance, strength training with dumbbells or resistance bands.
Exercise outside: go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.
Incorporate movement during your day: take the stairs, standing, stretching.
Talking to other people
Socialization is a huge part of being healthy, and COVID-19 has made it increasingly more difficult. Connecting with others just looks a little different. Physical distance has increased feelings of isolation and loneliness, and you’re not alone in feeling those ways. With technology, we can communicate via text, calls and video. You can spend time online with one person or as a part of a group. Depending on where you are located, you may be able to get together with others outdoors. Consider having a picnic, going on a walk, or checking out a new park or pathway.
Getting extra support
If you are struggling with your mental health, reach out for support.
More and more mental health professionals are offering telehealth (virtual) services to make it easier to access counselling services.
Mental health support and resources available to Albertans:
(403) 266-HELP (4357)
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or others, contact 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency hospital.