It’s important to remember that we are not helpless in light of current events.  We can always choose our response. This situation can actually bring new opportunities if you can shift you mindset to see them.  Here are some options to take care of your mental health at this time:

  1. Do what helps you feel safe. This will be different for each person and it’s important not to compare yourself to others.  Pay attention to your comfort level. Make sure you separate when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression. 
  2. Create new routines. The first thing is to accept that this is the new normal, for as long as it lasts. We don’t know what a month or two will bring so try not to speculate about it. If you’re going to dwell on the worst-case scenario, come up with a contingency plan and focus on creating a routine to get through the days, one at a time. 
  3. Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those.  Wash your hands.  Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news.
  4. Connect with nature in some way. Get a dose of vitamin D, fresh air, movement and connecting (with your dog or physical distancing with a friend or family member). See below for additional ideas, especially if you cannot get out.
  5. Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment.  Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
  6. Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support.  You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help. This can be especially important if you are living alone.
  7. Stay informed. When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
  8. But avoid too much exposure to news & social media. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Check for updates between breaks and limit checking the latest updates in the evening since this can disturb your sleep.
  9. Move and take care of your body. There is a link between mind and body. Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. If exercising is too much, stretch, dance, do anything that involves moving your body and pay attention to how that feels. 
  10. Tap into your creativity. The wellbeing benefits are endless for being creative. And everyone has creative potential; its not about being an artist. It can mean a whole host of things: doodling, colouring, drawing, painting, writing, mind-mapping, taking photos, doing arts and crafts, cooking without a recipe, gardening, problem solving, creating stories with your kids,  build something, rearrange your furniture. So many things you can either do alone, with your partner or with your kids. Now you actually have the time.
  11. Give yourself a break: We are in crisis mode so try to be kind to yourself. You are not going to be super productive and that is Ok. Working remotely during a pandemic is tough and not the same as simply working from home. Feeling unmotivated is totally normal. Give yourself permission to take regular breaks and not work at the pace that you usually do.
  12. Support your kids. Children and teens partially react on what they see from the adults around them. When parents/caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. 

  • Take time to talk with your child/teen about the COVID-19 crisis. Answer questions and share facts about in a way that your child/teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child/teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Limit talking about it as well. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. Chunk out time or create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing/fun/play activities. Fun and play are super important right now. And that means, for everyone.
  • Be a role model.  Your kids are looking to you and how you behave. So look after yourself so you can be the best role model you can right now. Its not about perfection but doing the best that you can for yourself and them.

Now add in some CREATIVITY!

Are you feeling more relaxed and inspired? You might want to try writing about your feelings and what you are noticing. Or a poem or a song. Perhaps visual self-expression is your thing. Try drawing, painting or creating a collage of a natural scene or whatever comes to mind. Maybe you are inspired to go outside to take photographs or pick up natural materials to make some kind of craft piece. Or perhaps its as simple as starting to work on your garden. You can choose. The sky is the limit and there is no right and wrong. What is important is that this process is helping you get out of your head and feel calmer.