Coping with COVID-19
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to unexpected difficulties, increased financial pressures, and increased stress for many Canadians and people around the world. Many individuals are experiencing heightened awareness, concern, anxiety, and fear. For many, a sense of loss or feeling out of control may be common.
Experts are reminding us to try to be patient with yourself and others and to ensure that you are caring for your mental health in these uncertain times. Check out some of the tips below from Provincial Addiction and Mental Health for caring for your mental health during COVID-19.
Focus on getting information that will help you take practical steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Taking in too much or constant information about COVID-19 can cause you to feel worried or anxious.
Limit the amount of time you spend consuming news about COVID-19. Seek information only at specific times, once or twice day. Get the facts from reliable sources, such as Health Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html).
Focus on the positive. There is effective care for COVID-19; people are recovering and society will also recover. People will go on with their lives, including jobs, families, and loved ones. Keep in mind that this situation is temporary, and eventually things will return to normal.
Find comfort in your spiritual/personal beliefs and practices
Maintain your regular routines as much as possible. Focus on what needs to happen today, and make a list of what you need to do in the next day or week to keep yourself safe and comfortable.
Be mindful. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. This can help you understand why you're feeling anxious or stressed.
Practicing breathing techniques is one way to help you manage stress and anxiety. Take a slow deep breath in as you count to 5, and then exhale, also counting to 5, and then repeat 10x. Practice doing this throughout your day when feeling overwhelmed.
Be sure to rest and try to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can make you feel overwhelmed.
Avoid or limit drinks with caffeine, they can make you feel anxious or restless and affect your sleep.
Avoid or limit drinks with alcohol. It can disrupt normal sleep patterns, can cause changes in mood, and can increase feelings of stress or anxiety.
If you are in self-isolation or voluntarily socially distancing, it is important to engage in heath activities (e.g. stretching, meditation) and maintaining connections with friends and family through phone calls or Skype.
Some helpful resources that can provide additional support during these times includes:
Mental Health Helpline: 1-877-303-2642
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868