This is a stressful time for our community. With constantly evolving information regarding the
Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is normal to feel overwhelmed and fearful. Feelings of anxiety or
depression are common reactions during times of uncertainty. Understand that you are not
alone, we are in this together. While we are taking precautions to protect our physical health,
such as good hand hygiene and social distancing, it is also important to support our mental
health. Here are steps we can all practice to better help us cope:
- Stay connected – While preventing the potential spread of COVID-19 requires greater
physical distance, we have many options to stay connected with one another. Reach out
to friends and family with telephone calls, text messages, video calls and social media. If
you are feeling sad or anxious, reach out to your support network. Share how you are
feeling and listen to how others are coping. Mutual understanding can help feelings of
fear and isolation.
- Stay active – Exercise is known to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression while
promoting a sense of wellbeing. Working out at home can include: home yoga, exercise
videos, stretching, pushups/sit-ups. Don’t be afraid to leave your home, while practicing
social distancing. Being outside allows us to breathe fresh air, exposes us to direct
sunlight and take in our beautiful surroundings. This has benefits for reducing stress.
Good ideas would be taking the dog for a walk or a solo jog.
- Limit media exposure – During this time it is important to stay updated on current
events, with reasonable limits. Our 24 hour new cycle can make it difficult to turn away
from media. But excessive exposure can be overwhelming and create a false sense of
hopelessness. Take breaks and engage in enjoyable activities such as reading, cooking or
listening to music.
- Practice healthy habits – Getting an adequate amount of sleep helps our minds and
bodies replenish. Eating a healthy diet is essential to a healthy immune system as well as
improving energy and motivation. Pick up a new hobby or re-engage in an old one. This
helps us stay busy and prevent boredom. Limit the use of alcohol, tobacco and other
- Practice relaxation – Notice if you are feeling anxious: muscle tension, restlessness, and
repetitive anxious thoughts are common. Be aware of this and take some deep breaths
while clearing your mind. During stressful times, we can have negative thoughts about
ourselves. Instead, try talking to yourself as if you were talking to a friend. Engage in
meditation. There are numerous apps and videos that can help you get started.
- If needed, reach out for professional help. Many mental health practitioners are
currently offering remote services such as telephone appointments or secure televideo
In addition to these steps, there are numerous resources online that can help us cope during
this difficult moment. Know that you are not alone. Almost everyone has experienced increased
stress and negative thoughts during this time in life. It will pass. In the meantime, taking
proactive steps to support your mental health can yield noticeable benefits.