Mental health. It’s a term we are all familiar with after living in a pandemic. For healthcare workers, the gruelling hours and threat of bringing the virus home has created incredible emotional, mental and physical stress. And that’s just at work. Balancing personal lives, families, home-schooling kids; caregiving at home only adds to the strain.
It’s no surprise that 70% of workers polled reported a decline in their mental health as a result of working through the pandemic. Furthermore, according to the Mental Health Commission, on any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians are unable to go to work due to mental health problems.
Since healthcare workers are being asked to do more than ever under increasingly stressful conditions, making their health and well-being a priority has never been more important. While that’s easier said than done, taking care of yourself makes taking care of others easier.
Managing your mental health
Feelings of stress and anxiety are normal responses during COVID-19. But recognizing those feelings and taking action to look after ourselves is key to making sure they do not become overwhelming. Some ways to help look out for your mental health:
Tune out the noise
Living in a 24-hour news cycle and constant access to information on a smartphone can mean endless push notifications containing concerning news, or, the temptation to doomscroll for hours. A solution? Take a break and turn off your devices. Or pick a time each night to disconnect and begin to wind down your day offline.
You may already know what helps you decompress and have a plan that works for you. But in the world of shutdowns and quarantine, you may not be able to hit the gym or go to book club. Maybe you try a new virtual workout or go for a walk on a new hiking trail. Switch up the novel for a new recipe and get creative in the kitchen! Yes, switching up a routine can be hard – but it can also be an opportunity to try something new, enjoying the time to yourself is what matters.
Were you part of the sourdough craze from early 2020? Maybe you are a TikTok dance aficionado. Are you playing Wordle yet? What do all of these have in common? They encourage you to get creative and play! Not everything needs to have a purpose or reason. We all have extra time in our schedules these days, so find something that brings you joy and do it. Better yet- get others to join you!
Have a chat
Feelings can be a lot to handle on your own. Finding the right time and the right person to talk to them about can also be a challenge. Sharing feelings with a close friend, family member or trusted colleague provides an opportunity to gain insight and clarity into the cause of anxiety and stress. It also allows confidants to offer advice or a fresh perspective. And sometimes, it’s just nice to vent and have someone listen.
If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, want to know if your feelings of stress and anxiety are normal, or you need someone to talk to; check out the resources below to find the best fit for you.
- How much stress is too much stress? Take the test.
- Feeling anxious? Assess your level of general anxiety.
- Caring for a loved one? Get your Caregiver Intensity Score.
- Wellness Together Canada. Free resources for mental health and substance abuse.
- Bell Let’s Talk