Your Mental Well-Being during COVID-19
When we are faced with a large scale crisis such as the COVID-19 virus, feelings of fear and anxiety are expected and natural responses to a challenging and unprecedented situation.
Tips to Maintain Your Mental Well-Being during COVID-19
- Limit consumption of news and social media around COVID-19 that can increase anxiety or emotional distress.
- Set a time once a day to access news or social media from a reputable/trustworthy source.
- Maintain important social connections by staying in touch with friends and family virtually or by telephone.
- Stick to a schedule or daily routine, even if you are working from home.
- Continue to keep busy with your usual daily activities.
- If possible, make time daily to participate in something you enjoy.
- Take care of your body by eating regularly, engaging in exercise, maintaining a sleep routine and making time for relaxation.
- Avoid turning to substances such as alcohol or drugs to cope with difficult emotions or stress.
- Be gentle with yourself- give yourself permission to have difficult feelings and acknowledge that they are normal and expected at this time.
- Shift your focus from what you cannot control to what you CAN control right now.
- Seek out mental health support if you are not coping well on your own.
Strategies to Support Stress Management
*Deep breathing exercises– Deep breathing can help to calm our body and mind. For a simple deep breathing exercise sit or lay down in a comfy position. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 4. Repeat as necessary.
*Progressive Muscle Relaxation– In progressive muscle relaxation you tense or hold particular muscles and then relax them. To practice, get yourself into a comfy position. Starting at the top of your head and tense and release each muscle group working your way down your body. Each muscle group should be held for about 10 seconds. This strategy helps us to become more aware of what our muscles feel like when they are tense and how we can relax them.
*Grounding Exercises– Grounding is a strategy that connects us to the “here and now” by bringing our attention to he present moment. One way to bring yourself into the present moment when you feel stressed or overwhelmed is by using your 5 senses, sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell.
To practice this strategy go through your senses one by one by asking yourself the following questions:
- What is one thing I can hear?
- What is one thing I can see?
- What is one thing I can feel?
- What is one thing that I can smell?
- What is one thing I can taste?
Useful Links for Mental Health Resources
The Ontario COVID-19 Mental Health Network facilitates pro bono mental health services for healthcare workers who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Information Specific to Anxiety related to COVID-19
Further information on coping with mental health during COVID-19
A safe community to support your mental health
Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program
- Distress and Crisis Lines Distress Centre Durham
24 hour help line 905-430-2522 or 1-800-452-0688.
- Durham Mental Health Services C.A.L.L. (Crisis-Access-Linkage-Line)
24 hour crisis line 905-666-0483 Local 1-800-742-1890 Toll Free