In this strange and unprecedented time, it can be challenging to maintain our mental health and well-being. If you are feeling especially stressed or anxious due to the global impact of COVID-19, you are not alone! Our fears can be further exacerbated by the fact that we may not be able to rely on our usual coping mechanisms, such as seeing loved ones or going to the gym.
Here are some simple measures you can try to alleviate stress during these difficult times:
Limit Screen Time
In this time of uncertainty, it can be tempting to seek out any and all updates you can find, but this steady stream of information can do more harm to your mind and body. Keeping yourself informed is good, but consider setting limits on your screen time and allowing yourself to be distracted by reading a book, playing with your kids, or chatting on the phone with a friend.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
“Minimize watching, reading or listening to news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from trusted sources and mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts; not the rumours and misinformation. Gather information at regular intervals, from WHO website and local health authorities platforms, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumours. Facts can help to minimize fears”.
Stay Connected to Your Local Community
Physical distancing is essential at this time to limit the spread of the coronavirus but it can be challenging, especially if you live alone or are used to a lot of social interaction. However, just because we need to physically distance ourselves, it does not mean that we have to be completely isolated or disconnected from others. Make a point to check in with friends and loved ones by phone, video call, email, text, or other means. You are not alone!
According to the WHO:
“Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper. For example, check-in by phone on neighbours or people in your community who may need some extra assistance, such as the elderly or the unwell. Working together as one community can help to create solidarity in addressing Covid-19 together”.
Take Time for Self-Reflection
We’re living in uncertain times and it is normal to feel overwhelmed and uneasy. Be kind to yourself, and listen to your body and what it needs. Stress can do a lot to compromise our immune systems, so try to engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation as much as possible.
According to the WHO:
“During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected”.
These strange and challenging times won’t last forever. Our health and government officials are doing everything they can to flatten the curve and keep us ALL SAFE. We can and will get through this together. Stay safe and be well!
If you are struggling, please know that you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 686868 in Canada to talk to a trained Crisis Responder. This crisis text line is powered by Kids Help Phone, and is available for free 24/7. If you are in the US, you can text 741741.