Mental health (COVID-19)

Be mindful of your mental health and the mental health of others

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways. You may now be working from home, taking on a new role, or you may be off work for an indefinite amount of time. These, in addition to your other responsibilities, may be causing stress, anxiety, confusion and worry. It is normal to feel this way. The following are tips to support your mental health and the mental health of others during these uncertain times.

Keep yourself informed

Keep yourself informed by seeking information and practical guidelines about COVID-19 at specific times of the day from reputable and trusted sources like Public Health Sudbury & Districts, government organizations, and the World Health Organization.

Recognize and focus on what is in your control

We cannot control the fact that we are in a pandemic, but there are many things we can focus on that are in our control. This includes caring for our body and mind, connecting with others, practicing COVID-safe behaviors and getting the COVID vaccine when available to us.

Maintain a routine

Try to keep or establish a regular daily schedule. A routine can help us feel a sense of control. Wake up and go to bed at the same time. Have healthy meals and snacks at the same time. Make time for stretching, exercising, and things you enjoy.

Be kind to yourself

Life during a pandemic can be challenging. Give yourself a break, you are doing the best you can. For many of us when we are faced with difficulties or failures our negative inner voice can make us feel worse. Treat yourself like we would a close friend, with kindness and support. This is important for our emotional resilience. Try listening to guided self-compassion (eMentalHealth.ca) practices for adults (Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion) and for teens (Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion).

Take care of your body

Make time for yourself and for things you enjoy

Distractions can help give your brain a break from thinking about things that worry you. Doing something positive is a healthy coping strategy. Here are a few suggestions:

Focus on the good

Looking for positivity, joy and being grateful is good for your mental health. Setting an intention to look for the good will help you notice the little moments of joy, like someone smiling at you, a sunrise, a thank you. What are the good things about working from home? Is there less traffic on your way to work? Did you rediscover a passion? Even when we have a bad day there’s always something positive to notice. (health.sunnybrook.ca).

Stay connected

Maintain your social networks and find new and innovative ways to connect with your family and friends. Call your family and friends, incorporate a game into your video chat, watch a movie together virtually, keep your family updated through email and regular mail. If connecting in person, remember to be COVID-safe and follow the top-10-COVID-rules to live by. Try to connect with people who make you feel good about yourself and are a positive influence.

Practise ways to calm and relax your body and your mind

Make a coping and safety plan

You may find it hard to think clearly when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Writing down a coping plan and safety plan (ementalhealth.ca) when you are calm helps you and the people who care about you be prepared to support you in times of stress. This plan can include what you can do to stay well, knowing what makes you stressed, trying new and old ways to cope, including identifying your supports.

Avoid or monitor your substance use

Some people may choose to use substances like tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, or vaping to cope with stress and challenges. In the long run using substances may make those stressful feelings worse or increase the risk of addiction.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction offers tips to monitor your use if you choose to use substances. Follow Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines to reduce your risks.

Support others

Kindness is a character strength. You can show kindness in many ways, including sharing your time and talents to help those in need. Knowing and sharing your strengths is good for your mental health and well-being. Other ideas include picking up groceries for a friend or family member, checking in on your older neighbours or family, volunteering or donating to a local charity.

Reach out for help

If your emotions are overwhelming, persistent and/or interfering with your daily life, you are not alone. Please seek support by talking to someone you trust or seeking professional support. See our list of mental health resources.

Visit the Parents and Guardians (COVID-19) page for tips that the World Health Organization recommends.


This item was last modified on August 17, 2021