Tips for maintaining mental health through COVID-19

The escalation of COVID-19 is leading to natural increases in stress, worry and anxiety in many people the world over. The uncertainty associated with the virus, the disruption to our usual routines, and the need to work from home or self-isolate can have significant impacts on well-being and mental health.

For individuals and communities who have to self-isolate, practice physical distancing, or who have otherwise been impacted by COVID-19, it’s natural to be experiencing increased levels of concern, anxiety, and fear.

Below are some basic tips on managing your mental health and well-being during this challenging time:

Managing stress and anxiety

  • Anxiety often involves having catastrophic thoughts about what might happen. Challenge these thoughts by stepping back from them, reminding yourself that your worst-case scenario will likely never unfold, and focus instead on what you can control in the present
  • Practice deep breathing exercises for stress relief when you notice yourself feeling anxious
  • Practice letting go of the emotions. Meditation and mindfulness can help. Click here for tips to help you build resilience
  • Practice breathing relaxation, yoga or meditation each day, using apps or online resources
  • Connect with others and share your fears –by way of phone or social media
  • Don’t ignore your anxiety; accept it as a natural response to what is happening and practice self care
  • Avoid media saturation about COVID-19 – keep informed once a day should be enough
  • Focus on the positive. There is good care available for those with COVID-19; people with COVID-19 are recovering, and this situation is temporary. Eventually things will return to normal
  • Avoid seeking advice and checking for health symptoms on the internet and be sure to obtain health information from reputable sources
  • Try to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can make you feel overwhelmed, which will make it harder to cope during stressful times
  • Avoid or limit drinks with caffeine (e.g., pop, coffee, tea, energy drinks), they can make you feel anxious or restless and affect your sleep
  • If these strategies don’t provide relief, seek online therapy resources or telehealth counseling

Managing isolation

  • Maintain your regular routine as much as possible. Focus on what needs to happen today, and make a list of what you need to do in the next day or week to keep yourself safe and comfortable
  • Make time each day to connect with others
  • Get some exercise. A daily walk will do you good (but please adhere to applicable physical distancing and isolation guidelines you/your family/community
  • Schedule time for fun activities with the people you are living with
  • Unless they are sick, hug your people and pets
  • Set up social media times with friends for coffee chats, virtual lunches, or at-home workouts
  • Call people and help others stay connected