The effects of a pandemic are resounding – both physically and mentally. The situation can be stressful for everyone.
It’s not a world-affecting event that can be easily ignored since it’s difficult not to absorb the news around us.
It can become overwhelming when our minds are consumed by the spread of a pandemic and the impact it has on our health as well as the health of loved ones. Add in financial struggles and social isolation, and it’s easy to see how your mental health can be negatively affected.
As hopeless as the situation may seem, all hope is not lost for your mental well-being.
Here are some simply and effective ways you can manage your mental health during a pandemic:
Maintain a Routine
During a pandemic, it may seem like your whole life has been turned upside down and you have lost control of everything.
Maintaining a routine is the best way to regain control despite the unfortunate circumstances.
The quicker you can adapt to the current reality, the easier it will be to manage anxiety and stress.
Think about how your life has changed due to the pandemic: Are you off work? Working from home? Are the kids out of school?
Try to adapt the new way of life to how you lived your life before. Set alarms to avoid sleeping in everyday, get dressed in the morning and make a clear distinction between work time and non-work time if you are working from home.
Be sure to include in your routine activities that are fun and not work-related. Focus on doing things that bring you and your family joy.
Don’t Neglect Your Self Care
Self care refers to activities you partake in to nurture your overall health. During the uncertainty of a pandemic, you may need to find more activities and indulge in them more frequently.
For instance, you can try a routine of breathing exercises, which are proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
Try sitting in a comfortable position, keeping your back straight and your posture relaxed. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it in your diaphragm and release it slowly through your nose. Repeat this at least 5 times.
You can use this time to discover new activities such as yoga and coloring to help reduce your stress.
If you can, carve out time everyday to focus on yourself.
With a worldwide pandemic comes the need to isolate in order to prevent and reduce the spread. This often places individuals in a lonely situation, where they are unable to physically come into contact with family, friends and loved ones.
Take advantage of technology by using video chat forums, such as Skype or Zoom, to talk face-to-face with your social circle.
You can retain normalcy when it comes to socializing by organizing coffee dates, book clubs and even by having virtual birthday parties.
Even if you find yourself in social isolation, you never need to feel alone. Reach out to those who bring you comfort and a sense of connection.
Should you find yourself struggling with your mental health during a pandemic, there are many online resources you can access to alleviate your stress, anxiety and depression:
- Alberta Health Services
- Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Better Health Online Counselling Services (paid service)
Remember that everyone ends up negatively affected by the impact of a pandemic. While you may feel alone, you are never alone.