Social/Physical distancing, while incredibly beneficial to your physical well-being, may take its toll on your mental health. Thankfully, there are ways to cope with the stress of self-isolation that allow you to thrive during this challenging time.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Bring a sense of calm into your life by prioritizing a healthy amount of sleep every night. Sleeping allows your mind to recover from the day’s stress, while also balancing your mood and improving focus.
Prepare for a good night’s sleep by establishing a relaxing evening routine, which lets your body know that it’s time to wind down. Choose a soothing activity, such as taking an Epsom salts bath with lavender essential oil, reading a magazine, or meditating.
Implement Daily Habits That Reduce Stress
Keeping a daily journal can ensure your mental health stays normal when socializing is at its minimum. Journaling allows you to clear your mind of what bothers you the most and can help you identify your triggers so that you can avoid them in the future.
You can also use your journal to write down goals and revisit your New Year’s resolutions. Writing them down will hold you accountable as you attempt them during self-isolation. You can also get into a positive headspace by writing down plans for the future once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
Another stress-reducing habit worthy of adoption is eliminating or reducing the intake of caffeinated drinks. Caffeine can trigger a “fight or flight” response. Try to replace your morning coffee with an herbal tea instead.
Incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine is a simple way to look after your mental health. Try counting your breath from one to four, and repeat it a few times.
Embrace Physical Activity
Physical activity can improve cognitive function and release positive mood-enhancing chemicals like serotonin into your brain. Thankfully, you can exercise at home, whether it’s Pilates, yoga, or weight training. There are plenty of online fitness classes that you can follow along with.
Depending on where you live, it might be a great idea to take your workout into nature, where maintaining appropriate social distance is possible. Go on a hike or take up jogging. Doing so in nature has the calming benefits of fresh air intake.
Stay Socially Connected With the Internet
Human connection makes us happier. Having a digital support network that you can confide in and share this challenging experience with will help you feel less emotionally isolated. Be proactive about staying connected with friends and family whether through Skype calls, texting, or emailing.
One great idea is to join an online community that focuses on your favourite hobby. Rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media, which can lead to boredom and depression, take the time to truly connect with like-minded individuals. Comment on your favourite posts and send meaningful tweets to people you care about.
Please visit the Canadian Mental Health Association online for resources about handling the stress of a pandemic. The Government of Canada website offers information about available mental health services throughout the country. For inquiries regarding Canada’s current health climate, contact the COVID-19 Information Line at 1-833-784-4397.