Mental Wellness & Challenging Times
A few helpful tips and ideas for dealing with challenging times.
It goes without saying that we're all experiencing an unprecedented level of uncertainty with current events. Right now with so much uncertainty about what the future holds, many of us could be feeling more stressed and anxious than usual. Finding activities that help us deal with stress and anxiety are important for maintaining our mental wellness.
Keep yourself busy.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall into only thinking about those things that bring us stress and anxiety. Having positive activities ‘on hand’ to distract us can help keep our mental health on track. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about healthy activities:
If you are feeling distant and unconnected from your loved ones, do what you can to stay in touch. This could be a phone or video call, or simply sending them a text. Don't forget to take care by talking about your feelings and emotions with your loved ones. Many of us are in similar situations and talking about shared experiences can help us to feel less alone. There are plenty of video chat platforms to stay connected to your loved ones. Give Zoom, FaceTime (for Apple users), Facebook Messenger, Google Hangout, or House Party a try.
Get creative. If you are not sure where to start, consider trying an adult colouring book. If you don't currently own one, order one online with some new pencil crayons or markers. Having a fun package arrive in the mail can feel like receiving a gift from your past self.
Limit your screen time. If you find you are spending more time than usual on your phone or watching T.V. and movies, consider reading a book or doing a puzzle. If you are also looking for a way to have a 'brain break,' run yourself a bubble bath and enjoy some time relaxing in the peace and quiet.
Practice mindfulness activities. Check out this guide for 6 mindfulness activities from Pocket Mindfulness to learn more.
Re-frame the situation.
Amidst all the negative that has flooded our lives the past month, try your best to change your perspective to focus less on the negative and more on the positive. It might feel cliché when people tell you to focus on the positive, but they really are right. For example, if you are working from home, no commute to and from work means more time to do something else you enjoy. Maybe that is cooking a meal from scratch, spending more time with your family, or squeezing in a quick walk before or after work. Sometimes a reminder to take control of the things you can control and try to let go those things you cannot control, is enough to shift your perspective to a more positive one.
Reflect on current patterns.
Are you currently practicing any unhealthy habits? This could be a good time to try to change some of your more unhealthy habits into healthy ones. This doesn't mean you have to start trying to change everything in your life (amidst all the other changes we are experiencing), but thinking about smaller things you can change to improve how you feel. Changing those things you can control will also help you to feel more in control of your life.
Focus on those things that make you happy.
Even if those things are small! Take those extra moments throughout your day to appreciate the things in your life. Maybe because you are at home you can make an extra tasty coffee in the morning or wear your favourite t-shirt more often.
When there is so much information being shared with us, it can sometimes start to feel over whelming. To keep your mental health in check, try your best to stay informed, but consider limiting the exposure to those communications that bring you stress and anxiety. If you do really want to stay very informed and up to date on current information and events, try having someone close to you relay the information to you. Sometimes hearing a more ‘tolerable’ version from a loved one helps make the information more digestible.
If you are looking for ideas to participate in self care, check out our blog post from January where we share simple ways to take care (this post was written a few months ago, so remember to continue to practice physical distancing!).
Listen to yourself.
Everyone deals with hard times differently. What might seem like an easy task for some people, might be difficult for someone else to accomplish. We want to share the message that you don’t have to be the best version of yourself ALL the time. You’re allowed to have days where things feel more difficult, you don’t feel motivated, or you want to say no to a virtual hang out.
Listen to your emotions and only participate in those activities that help your mental wellness. Take some down or quiet time when you can and do something (or nothing!) that you enjoy. Reflect on how you’re feeling and try your best not to obsess with being positive or happy every moment.
If you're having a hard time adjusting to spending more time at home or experiencing any anxiety in these uncertain times, we’re here for you. We understand during challenging times our mental wellness can be impacted. We encourage anyone experiencing severe stress, anxiety or depression to seek local counseling support programs and services provided by the province.
Visit www.worksafesask.ca for tools and tips to manage your mental health through COVID-19 or call the Healthline at 811 for support services in your area.
If your employee health plan includes access to an Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP), remember that these services and resources are available to you, whenever and wherever you need it.