May 5, 2020
Temima Cohen, M.S.W., R.S.W.
KCC Social Worker

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So much has changed in our lives since the COVID-19 global pandemic began. Life is not the same.  An increased threat to our physical well-being, our children homeschooling while many of us try to work from home, financial loss, and not being able to socially connect with friends and family are taking a tremendous toll on all of us. So much change to our daily lives can bring on added stress and wreak havoc on our mental state.

I am stressed. I am feeling overwhelmed. I am sad.

These are normal feelings that we all experience at some time, but are magnified during times of uncertainty and change. Now is a perfect time to take a moment and reflect on our mental health and use strategies to help protect it.

Temima’s Top Ten Ways to Promote Mental Health

  1. Go easy on yourself.Don’t self-criticize. Set realistic goals each day or each week. Don’t worry if the laundry isn’t folded and put away, everyone will find their socks. It’s okay that things aren’t perfect. 
  1. Find a quiet place if you can and schedule time every day to do something for yourself that is NOT work. Delve into a book, do Yoga, or sew. The point is to take a break from everyone else in your household and focus on you. 
  1. Turn off devices earlier and sleep more.Sleep has been proven to boost mental health and improve your ability to cope with stress and change. 
  1. Exercise. Get that heart rate up. Jog, dance, skip, walk or do anything else that gets you moving. Release those endorphins to lower stress levels, to help you think, and feel better.
  1. Connect with friends and family any safe way you can whether it’s picking up the phone or standing at the curb 
  1. Practice breathing techniques. Slow down your heart rate, bring blood pressure down, and learn how to calm and relax your body. There are apps for that and if you search online, you can probably find social media channels where instructors are teaching breathing techniques for free.
  1. Eat nutritious meals and drink lots of waterIt may be difficult not to snack and it’s okay to have that ice cream or chocolate chip cookie but remember to balance those with consistent mealtimes with your family and well-balanced, low sugar meals. 
  1. Laughing is okay even in these uncertain times. There’s a reason they say it’s the best medicine.  
  1. Acknowledge there are things in life that you have no control over.
  1. Enjoy this time with your family. Before COVID-19 it’s one of the things many of us said we didn’t have enough time for. Eat together, do activities together, laugh and cry together, communicate and listen to strengthen the family bond and help ease fears and anxiety. 

Additional Resources

eMentalHealth Crisis Lines

Managing Anxiety During COVID-19

SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health

SickKids ABC’s of Mental Health Parent Resources

CAMH Mental Health and COVID-19

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