These are difficult times, and a lot of the things that we used to do to relieve stress (gym, go to a cafe or bookstore, visit with friends, etc.) are no longer available due to social distancing requirements. Social distancing and isolation can be difficult on our mental health, so here are some recommendations to help maintain good mental health during this time.
- Maintain structure in your day. When we go to work it gives us structure; most of us need this. Pick a regular time to get up, and a regular time to go to bed. If you are still working, but from home, structure your work day as well. Make sure you have a lunch break and screen breaks. Have a work area so that you have a bit of a separation between your work space and home space.
- If you're not working, set a goal to work towards while you’re home. Start writing that book. Do an online class. Teach yourself to knit. Set a plank and/or burpee record. Read some books you've been meaning to get to.
- Nature is not closed. Go for a walk/hike/bike/rollerblade/drive. Just remember to maintain the 2m (or 6ft) distance from others. Hit that physical activity goal of 30 minutes 5 days a week - or more!
- Connect with others. Call your Mamma, sisters, friends, cousins...this is affecting everyone, so check up on the ones you love. Check out your group virtual hang out options too - Netflix Party, Zoom, Whatsapp, etc.
- For those with children or increased family demands, etch out a little “you-time” separate from them. Most of us haven’t spent this much time with our children/family in a long time. It's good to have a bit of separate time to collect your thoughts. Take that time.
- Get good sleep. Aim for your 7-9 hours. Avoid screens an hour before bed.
- Tap into your faith. Reaquaint yourselves with scripture, pray more, listen to uplifting music, connect with others, and draw on the reassurance that God is loving and kind. Make no mistake, He is empathetic to our experience and is making a way out for us in His time.
- Call your doctor and schedule a telephone or virtual appointment to talk about it. It might be time for psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of the two. The covid crisis has not only affected health, but our social structure, finances, laws and regulations. That’s a lot of change in very little time, and that can be hard to get used to. Please ask for help if you need it.
- Utilize online resources: Bounceback Ontario, ConnexGO, Kids Help Phone, Good2Talk...they are a click or Google search away. Please check them out!