COVID-19 Mental Health During Isolation
Taking care of ourselves physically is generally easier than taking care of ourselves mentally. During times of high emotion it is more important than ever to take care of our mental well being. Here are some tips for dealing with tough situations such as self-isolation.
Name the situation: Acknowledge to yourself that this in an unusual situation and that your mental state (as well as that of those around you) will be affected.
Structure your daily routine: It may help to write out a daily routine or plan. Be specific and determine when you will start your day, when you will go to bed, eat, shower and dress. It can be helpful to keep your mind focused on things you can control rather than things that you cannot.
Set daily goals: Some of us will be working from home during this time, while other may not be. Either way it is important to set goals for yourself. These goals can include writing emails, checking in with friends, reading a book or even watching a documentary. Evaluate your success on a daily basis and if you slip, refocus and start the next day with a new goal.
Start writing in a journal: Many people find that writing out feelings and experiences in a journal is an excellent way to process them
Get moving!: Exercise is helpful for assisting the body and the mind cope with stressful situations. Spring is here and we will have some nice days ahead of us. Check our local trails in your area, or walk your neighborhood. Self-distancing does not mean that you have to stay in your house (note: if you are quarantined, then yes you do have to stay in your house)
Some gyms such as Planet Fitness Canada have started live streaming in home work outs for free: (https://www.facebook.com/PlanetFitnessCanada/?brand_redir=131305029855)
Humour: It is okay to laugh. Being self-isolated is not supposed to be doom and gloom. Laughter is the best medicine after all! Try watching up-lifting shows to seeking out funny comics online. Try to avoid falling into the social media negativity spiral.
Positive self-talk: In situations such as these ours minds often wander to negative thoughts. When this happens, try to identify that you are having negative thoughts and instead try thinking of the positive. The power of positive thinking can do wonders for mental health. Practice being grateful for the things you have as well as things that you enjoy. Remember that just because your productivity may have decreased, your worth has not.
Make daily social connection dates: Set times for when you will talk to loved ones. Using video apps such as Facetime, Skype, or Whatsapp can increase the feeling of social connection. Google chrome and Netflix have released an extension that allows people to watch the same Netflix show and chat about it too. This can be a fun activity that will help fill a social interaction niche. (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/netflix-party/oocalimimngaihdkbihfgmpkcpnmlaoa?hl=en&fbclid=IwAR2wwoKQ2NSKxtqVObkg2uJNBtIg9iU7rwukMQqVohUEsdhEvbCYNi-hjEE)
Leverage support systems: Remember that there are lots of resources out there to help with your mental health. If you don't feel comfortable talking to a loved one or friend about your concerns there are anonymous resources available to you.
Young Adults: Good2Talk.ca Tool-Free:1-866-925-5454
Adults: Mental Health Helpline Toll-free: 1-866-531-2600
CDC's information on managing anxiety and stress
How to protect your mental health during COVID-19 article from the BBC