With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are living in unprecedented times. Navigating through the impact of this global pandemic places a lot of uncertainties and challenges on different aspects of our daily life, our future plans, and our current outlook. As the situation continues to change and escalate, people are at high risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression due to coronavirus and its repercussions on their livelihoods. And with social distancing and self-isolation as the new norms, the reality of staying home can lead to feelings of being stuck, lonely, disoriented, and fearful every day with no end in sight.
As frightening as that all seems, it is of the utmost importance for each of us to prioritize and maintain our mental wellness. When everything around us feels out of control, we must remember to look after ourselves.
Here’s what you can do right now to take care of yourself and your well-being during COVID-19.
LIMIT YOUR NEWS CONSUMPTION
With breaking news hitting at a rapid pace, we feel compelled to stay on top of new updates as they come. While staying informed is important, following too many news sources and consuming too much information about COVID-19 can be overwhelming to your mental state. Instead of checking for news every hour, commit to watching, listening, or reading coronavirus news a couple times a day, and try to unplug even further by disabling news alerts on your phone. Also, be mindful that the content you consume and share comes from reliable sources, and seek uplifting stories of people persevering and coming together in times of crisis for a positive mood-lifter.
With more free time on your hands than usual to spend in your home, this is a great opportunity to make use of this me-time to practice self-care and focus on doing what makes YOU happy.
Take quality care of your mind, body, and soul through nourishing and mindful practices, such as:
- Listening to music
- Writing in your journal
- Cooking nutritious meals
- Taking a relaxing bath
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Now is also a good time to spend on your favourite hobbies and to learn something new, such as listening to podcasts and teaching yourself to speak a bit of conversational French. This provides worthy distractions that are equally relaxing and productive.
REACH OUT TO YOUR LOVED ONES
Although we are advised to practice physical distancing, we can still channel the energy we spend on our relationships into building solid connections at a virtual distance. There are many things we can do at a physical distance to support and lift one another up, such as:
- Checking in with your family and friends through text, phone, and Facetime
- Planning digital hangouts through video conferencing where you can play games, watch a movie, or just joke around together.
Though physically apart, our efforts to come together against all odds will make our social relations even stronger.
BE COMPASSIONATE WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Each person, based on their background and previous lived experiences, is dealing with this difficult situation in a different way. Be kind to yourself and to others when experiencing mental health challenges during times like these.
If you are feeling anxiety and stress, there is support out there for you. The first step for many people is opening up to someone they trust, such as a friend or family member, and engaging in courageous conversations about mental health. It’s OK not to be OK, it’s OK to be vulnerable and it’s OK to ask for help, because no one should go through their emotions and their struggles on their own. Remember, you are not alone. We’re all in this together.
There are several resources available to help you navigate your mental wellness during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Call 310Mental Health Support at 310-6789 for emotional support, information, and resources specific to mental health.
- Call Bounce Back toll-free at 1-866-639-0522 for people experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood, or stress, with or without anxiety.
- Access online and phone support through Foundry BC for young people ages 12-24.
- Call Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) if you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide.
- Call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous people in B.C.
- Mental Health Digital Hub provides information, services, and education and awareness about mental health and substance use for adults, youth, and children.
- Heretohelp provides information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety, and risky drinking.
Physical distancing means spending more time at home. Home isn't always a safe place for everyone. Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse at any time, at any age, or in any relationship is not okay.
- Call VictimLinkBC at 1-800-563-0808 for confidential support, information, and referral services if you are feeling unsafe at home.
- Children and teens can call the Kids Help Phone to speak to a counsellor day or night at 1-800-668-6868.
- Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
For COVID-19 information and support, take a look at these resources:
- Use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool if you are concerned due to your own health or personal situation, or if you may have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Call 8-1-1 if you need medical information related to COVID-19 or other medical circumstances.
- Call 1-888-COVID19 for other non-medical information on COVID-19 – from travel recommendations to social distancing. See BCCDC’s information about COVID-19.