The time of physical distancing has been a challenge for us all but some may struggle with mental health more than others, especially without the usual support of our friends, far-away family or being face-to-face with our healthcare providers. Anxiety may be exacerbated by concerns about risk of disease, outlook for the future and worry about loved ones. Although this is common and understandable, it needs to be addressed if it is decreasing quality of life.
Symptoms like sleep disturbances or difficulty getting out of bed; decreased appetite or binge eating; uncontrollable stress or depressed mood, substance abuse or thoughts of self-harm, are signs that help may be required. And there is no shame in asking for it! It’s the opposite—total respect for reaching out, being vulnerable and trying to make a change for yourself and your family.
Ways to manage symptoms and stay positive might include:
- Talking to family and friends, whether about your feelings or just to stay connected
- Stress management techniques—meditation, yoga, hot bath, walking, journaling
- Creating a routine for eating, exercise and sleep
- Limiting substances like caffeine, alcohol, cannabis and added sugar
- Including key nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids and protein from salmon, sardines, chia and ground flax seed, as well as antioxidants and fibre from vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains
- Prioritizing moderate to vigorous exercise (at least 60 minutes per day for 5-17 year olds and 150 minutes per week for adults)
- Focusing on the present and enjoying time in nature
The BC Centre for Disease Control and the Canadian Association of Mental Health have online self-assessments and free resources, as well as a crisis line to call anytime. If you, or a loved one, need support, please get help today: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/about-covid-19/mental-well-being-during-covid-19