As we are all trying to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, many people are experiencing various symptoms including increased anxiety, worry, stress and possibly panic and fear.
Information is constantly changing and concerns regarding the spread and contraction of the virus is the primary focus of most people. In these difficult times it is very important that we focus on our mental health and wellness.
Psychologists are recommending various kinds of strategies that could be helpful in managing mounting stress and anxiety.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Monitor self critical thinking; especially toward how you are feeling. These feelings of worry, fear and anxiety are normal in these uncertain times.
- Be mindful of language and associating COVID-19 with a certain ethnicity or population. This is a time of compassion instead of condemnation. We all have to do our part to reduce the stigma possibly associated with this virus.
- During uncertain times, we may have to be flexible in our ways of thinking and dealing with situations and learn to “pivot”. This means how do we alter what would typically be our normal routine or way of doing things. For example, as the fitness facilities are now closed how do I move my workout to either outside or online so that I can continue my fitness routine.
- While we are asked to engage in social distancing, it does not mean that we have to be emotionally isolated. There are several social media outlets that we can use to stay connected including phone calls, video chats, etc.
- Take this time to focus on your own personal wellness. Remain active, go outside for fresh air, increase the consumption of nutritious foods, monitor your sleep.
- You may want to reduce your time on social media. As there is constant information regarding COVID-19 on social media, it may be overwhelming for some.
- During these times of stress, there is an increased likelihood that one may use more maladaptive strategies to cope (e.g. drugs, alcohol). Reach out to your mental health professional if you feel that you are susceptible.
- While most mental health professionals have currently discontinued face-to face interactions, many mental health professionals are available via telephone or online (i.e. telepsychology/telepsychiatry) for appointments. Reach out to a mental health professional for support.
- Seek your information from a trusted secure source and limit your consumption of information. As the information is constantly being updated, it is important to distinguish facts from rumours.
- Increase community kindness. Check on your neighbour, call your elderly parents, if you are going grocery shopping pick up a couple of items for a friend. Being able to help others with acts of community kindness can create solidarity. Just be sure to practice social distancing by leaving it at the doorstep.
We hope that everyone is safe and healthy. With love and compassion, we will navigate through this pandemic together.