Here are a few professional tips to keep you mentally healthy throughout this challenging time

When it comes to our well-being, mental health is just as important as physical health. Caring for our mental health as individuals, and as a community, translates into a more effective pandemic response with fewer costs to humans and society as a whole. At Peak Resilience, we’ve compiled a Complete COVID-19 Mental Health Guide to help support Vancouverites during this pandemic.

Here are a few tips to keep you mentally healthy throughout this challenging time...

1. Keep active at home

There’s a direct correlation between physical movement and mental health, so it’s important that this remains a priority when in self-isolation. Doing an online fitness class is a great way to get that endorphin boost. Or if you’re looking for something low-impact, some light yoga or stretching can do wonders. You can support your local businesses by subscribing to virtual classes from your favourite fitness studios during self-quarantine.

2. Spend time outdoors, if you can

Being in nature has a tremendously positive effect on our mental health, and increases motivation, endorphin levels, gratitude and overall mood. If you can find an area with few people, get outside and soak up some vitamin D. You can also use this as an opportunity to spend quality time with housemates, whether it’s your roommate, partner, kids, or furry companion.

3. Maintain structure in your routine

It can be easy to feel a little lost and unmotivated in the midst of such a large disruption of our regular routines. Outlining the things you want to achieve at the beginning of each day will help to provide direction and motivation. As an example, my partner and I have a huddle at the beginning of the day to divide our tasks and create a game plan. This ensures that everyone has the same expectations of each other and there is less conflict/more cooperation.

4. Reflect

Being in self-isolation allows for us to look inwards and reflect on how we are conducting our business, how we interact with others and what we can do to better ourselves. Self-reflection is an important part of growth, so treating this situation as an opportunity to grow and change, can drastically affect our outlook, mental well-being and incite positivity.

5. Access online mental health support

During especially challenging times like these, many people benefit from extra mental health support. Or, if you were struggling with mild to moderate mental health symptoms prior to the pandemic, your symptoms might become more pronounced and difficult to manage. At Peak Resilience, we’ve moved entirely to virtual sessions during this time to support people in self-isolation. If you’re interested in accessing services at Peak Resilience, feel free to check out our services page for more information or fill out our finding the right counsellor form to get matched to a counsellor that is right for your specific struggles, goals, personality and schedule. Your counsellor will send you a zoom link if you’d like a video sessionit’s completely secure and confidential and approved for health use.

6. Limit your information gathering

Stick to reputable sources such as the WHO, Government of Canada, and HealthLinkBC. Information gathering is different from ongoing news consumption, as it allows you to stay informed through reputable sites without being bombarded with negative news that can be anxiety-inducing.

7. Practice mindfulness

It’s important to practice being in the present moment. Some helpful apps are Calm and Insight Timer that have guided meditations. Take breaks throughout your day to take time for yourself by doing wellness check-ins, listening to calming music or just taking some moments of silence to reset.

8. Set boundaries

Identify what you can and can’t take on right now, and don’t be afraid to tell your family and friends if you’re unable to do something. Everyone has a different capacity of what they are able to handle.

9. Connect with each other

Being in isolation doesn’t mean you have to go through everything alone. Make sure you take time to check-in with your loved ones through phone calls, FaceTime, emails or whatever form of communication you are comfortable with.

10. Look out for each other

We are all in this together! Ensuring your loved ones, friends, neighbours and colleagues feel supported and heard will invite the same support back to yourself. Communication is key.

Jennifer Hollinshead is the founder and clinical director of Peak Resilience