You’ve found ways to cope so far. We’re here to help you move forward.
As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, it is only natural to feel extra stress and anxiety. The restrictions on family and friends gathering and the shutdown of the economy have lasted much longer than governments anticipated. The activities and strategies that helped you cope over the past year are no longer as effective? That’s only natural. If you’ve been able to hold on, but haven’t seen any improvement, try incorporating some of the techniques suggested on this site into your daily routine.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that this is an unusual situation and that it can also generate unusual emotions. If you feel more anxious or worried than usual, it is normal. You can, however, question the thoughts that are causing you stress by asking yourself if they are realistic and if they are really based on facts. For example, it’s good to remember that the majority of people who will be affected by the virus will recover.
In the age of continuous, real-time news, it’s also a good idea to limit your use of social networks and news channels to limit your exposure to potentially stressful announcements.
Despite the feeling of loss of control that may be felt at the moment, you are not without resources in the face of the current reality. In order to regain some power, the first thing you need to do is to follow the government’s public health guidelines. Following these guidelines (practicing good hygiene, following quarantine or isolation at home, avoiding unnecessary travel) will not only protect you, but will also help reduce the impact of the virus on the general population. That way, everyone is doing their part!
When big changes are happening around us, keeping a bit of comfort and familiarity is often soothing. It is therefore advisable to maintain a certain routine, for example for people who currently telecommute. Indeed, working from home does not prevent us from getting up at the same time, taking our shower and drinking our coffee as usual, for example.
Tips for maintaining good mental health
What makes you feel good? The activities that are generally part of our wellness routine are even more important now that our way of life may have changed drastically. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (sleep, physical activity, balanced diet) also contributes to overall good health.
If the activities we usually like to do are not accessible due to heightened health standards, it is often possible to practice an alternative version at home. Our yoga classes at the gym are cancelled? We take the opportunity to try online classes, or practice an outdoor physical activity for which the risks of contagion are very low. We can’t go to the museum or library? Many museums offer virtual tours of their collections, and many libraries have digital or audio books available on their online platform. You can also replace going to a restaurant with a good home-cooked meal, and going to the movies with a movie night in the comfort of your own home.
Despite its potential to increase stress and uncertainty, this time of year can allow many people to slow down, save time once given over to extensive travel, and (re)discover simple and inexpensive activities that can contribute to our well-being.
Social contacts are of course an integral part of our lives and are very important for our mental health. If they are currently limited by the inaccessibility of places to socialize and the restrictions related to quarantine or preventive isolation, we are fortunate to have access to many technologies that allow us to stay in touch with our loved ones. Call family members and friends to see how they are doing, and allow yourself to share your own concerns with them as well. In addition to the phone, Skype, texting, FaceTime, social network messaging and email are all good ways to stay in touch when you can’t be physically present.
Resources to help in times of distress
If you are currently worried about your mental health or living with a mental illness (such as an anxiety disorder or depression), some of your symptoms may be exacerbated by the current situation.
If you are experiencing psychological distress, do not hesitate to call upon your usual mental health resources (CLSC, community organizations, etc.). In the event that some of these resources are not available, remember that listening lines and help lines are available to the public.
and help lines are available to the population at all times. Here are some examples of these resources:
Resources for youth :
Tel Jeunes : 1-800-263-2266 (phone) and 514-600-1002 (text)
*Note that phone lines may have slightly longer wait times than text services currently
Kids Help Phone : 1-800-668-6868 (phone) and 686868 (text)
General public resources :
Tel Aide : 514-935-1101
Info Social : 811
Suicide Prevention Service : 833-456-4566