9 Tips for Mental Wellness as we begin to enter the Post Pandemic World
As we start to come out of pandemic hibernation, re-entering the world can be both exciting and nerve wracking. Stats Canada conducted a Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health, which indicated 1 in 5 Canadians screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. The survey was developed by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada to better understand the mental health of Canadian adults in the context of the pandemic. Below are some useful tips to help ease your mind and encourage positive mental wellbeing as our worlds start to reopen.
1. Stay informed
Keep informed about your local health guidelines. Different areas are reopening at different rates and safety recommendations will vary. Ontario is set to enter Stage 3 on July 16th and both businesses and their patrons may be anxious as we focus on further expanding indoor and outdoor settings. Knowing the guidelines in your area will allow you to feel more confident making changes to your behaviours and engaging in new activities. Where appropriate, continue to use safety measures such as masks, sanitizers, and physical distancing.
2. Take small steps
We don’t need to jump right back to the way life used to be. Take small steps that you are comfortable with and enjoy that moment. Go shop inside a store, but do it during a less busy time. Have a work meeting in-person instead of virtually, but keep 6 ft of space and sanitize shared surfaces.
3. Make modifications
Try engaging in the things you used to love to do, but modify them to help you feel more comfortable and safe. If you used to love eating in restaurants, go to an outdoor patio at a less crowded time. If you used to love playing a sport, get back to it while keeping more space and using sanitizer on shared surfaces.
4. Keep what works
We have all made difficult changes to our lives during the pandemic. But sometimes they can be positive changes! Did you take up a new hobby? Did you watch less tv to avoid anxiousness caused by watching the news? Did you meet new neighbours while out for walks? It can be helpful to take a look at your pandemic life and see what you would like to keep in your post-pandemic life.
5. Smaller social gatherings
Being social again after a long time of isolation can be daunting! How do I make small talk again? Try engaging in smaller social gatherings. This has the double benefit of being a way to ease back into being social with others, while also allowing everyone to keep more physical space between people and easily engage in safe practices. As Ontario enters into Stage 3, up to 25 people can attend indoor gatherings, but that doesn't mean you have to jump into large gathering; go at the pace you are comfortable with.
6. Face anxiety
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t bail. Our initial reaction may be to stop and run, but we can handle more than we think. Adjusting to a new circumstance can sometimes be difficult. Take your time and remind yourself of the reasons you are taking these steps. Anxiety Canada has provided some tips to help those facing anxiety during Canada’s reopening. Check it out here.
Engage in activities that you find relaxing. While it’s good to push yourself to face anxiety, it’s also helpful to take downtime for your mind to relax and recharge. Are there quiet, calm activities you enjoy? Perhaps you could write in a journal, take a bath, read a book, pet your dog, enjoy a cup of tea or meditate. Lavender and Chamomile are known for promoting relaxation and sleep, and can be enjoyed in many forms such as teas and essential oils.
8. Take care of your body
The mind and body are interconnected and the health of one supports the other. During pandemic hibernation many of us have fallen into a slump. As we re-engage with the world, taking care of our bodies can help support our mental well being. Eating well, taking vitamins, drinking water, exercising, and getting adequate sleep are all great ways to support both our mental and physical health.
9. Check in with yourself
We all handle things differently and what may be difficult for one person may not be for another. Take the time to stop and think about your mental health and how you’ve been feeling. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has an excellent resource for this called The Working Mind COVID‑19 Self-Care and Resilience Guide. Check it out here.
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