Mental Health & Covid-19

by Samantha MacKenzie

As someone who has lived with mental health issues for a long time. I’m finding the current state of things with covid-19 a little overwhelming. For me personally, I’m going back to therapy because I know that’s what I need. Someone on the outside who understands and can help me put strategies in place to keep me well.

Obviously, that’s not the only thing I, or anyone for that matter, needs to do to take care of their mental wellbeing at this time. Below I’ve put together a list of strategies, activities and coping methods that have really helped me, both now and in the past. And remember, you’re not alone! We’re all in this together! (High School Musical anyone?)

  • This is a big one – Limit your news intake.

It’s hard not to be overwhelmed when you’re being bombarded by a constant stream of information. Stick to a single news channel or stream that is giving reliable information and stick to it. With social media, unfollow anyone who is continually posting stressful things. We all need to be informed but there is a point when it becomes too much.

  • Routine

This was my mistake at the start of social distancing. I was either watching or reading the news and sleeping a whole lot more than usual. My doctor quickly told me to create a routine. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a morning and evening routine and stick to it. the hours between need to be filled with exercise, sunlight and activity of some kind. If you’re working from home, treat the work day as you usually would. Get ready, take your normal breaks, and don’t stay at your work station all the time.

  • Natural light!

It is so important that you get natural light. You body needs sunlight for vitamins and to regulate your body clock.

  • Diet and Exercise.

Even if you’re completely self-isolating, you need to be getting in regular exercise and keeping up your nutrition. Now as much as any time, we need to take care of our bodies. It keeps your immune system strong, and besides this virus, we are heading into Flu season. Take good care of yourself.

  • Meditation/prayer

Whatever it is you believe, find peace in that. Talk to your God or higher power. Listen to guided meditation online. One of my favourites is to listen to the Get Sleepy podcast every night. It helps me wind down and get ready for a good night of sleep.

  • Anxiety calming method.

When you’re anxious, interrupt you thought pattern and come back to the present moment with this Exercise. Take 3 deep, calming breaths and notice your surroundings. To yourself, list the following:

5 things you can SEE

4 things you can FEEL

3 things you can HEAR

2 things you can SMELL

1 thing you can TASTE

  • Be Creative/Learn a New Skill

I’ve combined the two and started painting. I joined up to Skill Share and watch tutorials and try to recreate painting or use the techniques to create my own work. It really helps to take me out of my thoughts, to slow down and do something that occupies my mind.

There are a million other things you can do. Bake, read a book, listen to music, clean and declutter your space. Also, reach out to the appropriate people if you need help or someone to talk to. Call a friend or someone who understands. You don’t have to go through this alone!

Keep Safe!

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