Caring for Your Mental Health During a Pandemic
The ongoing pandemic has forced changes to nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives in order to stop the virus from spreading in our communities. Many of these changes involve physical adaptations, such as working from home, but it’s important to acknowledge that there have been many mental and emotional impacts, as well.
October is Mental Health Awareness Month in Canada, and a fitting time to reflect on some helpful information, strategies and resources to help care for your mental health:
- A global pandemic is extremely stressful – it’s completely normal to experience anxiety or fear.
- Caring for your mental health is as important as tending to your physical health through exercise, nutritious food and adequate sleep.
- Reassess your personal and professional commitments with a practical and realistic lens – it’s okay to park some on the back burner until you are able to deal with them.
- Healthy distractions – like diving into a novel, tackling a puzzle or connecting with loved ones online - can give your mind a much-needed break from worrying.
- Try to maintain a healthy work-life balance – especially if you’re working from home where the line between work and home-life responsibilities isn’t as clearly defined anymore.
- Frequent breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories can be helpful in reducing anxiety.
- Find joy and/or humour in your daily life to release endorphins that can help alleviate stress.
- Be aware of any significant and/or sustained changes to your lifestyle, such as eating and sleeping patterns, and see a doctor if they are impacting your physical or mental health.
- Pay attention for other signs of emotional distress – like having nightmares or developing a case of hives, for example – and act accordingly.
- Remember: you don’t need to be a hero! It’s okay to take a break or ask for help.
For more information, check out the following resources: