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Living through the COVID-19 pandemic can cause anxiety and worry in all of us. Whether you're coping with the loneliness of self-isolation, concerned about the health of your loved ones or worried about what the future may hold, there are mental health supports available to help you through this difficult time.
People are naturally social, and self-isolation is challenging for everyone.
Follow the provincial guidelines that apply to your situation if you are required to self-isolate, but find ways to maintain or adjust healthy habits during that period. More information on self-isolation is available.
If you are struggling with your mental health, go back to basics. Eat well balanced meals, get regular rest, and do basic exercises and stretching daily. Having daily small goals, flexible deadlines, and talking to others you trust, might help. There are mental health supports available if needed.
Even though you are required to be physically distant from others, stay home, and avoid public areas; technology has made it easier to stay socially connected to friends and family.
If you need to reduce financial stress during isolation, you may be eligible for provincial or federal support programs.
No one has forgotten about you during self-isolation and there is no stigma attached to self-isolating. You are at home to protect others, because you are thinking of the needs of others.
Technology is a great way to connect, but take a break when you need it and find healthy ways to help you feel relaxed and calm.
If you are having difficulty coping during self-isolation, it's okay to reach out for help.
The pandemic's disruption of normal life means it can be difficult to start new healthy habits or maintain those that you may have had before. There are lots of simple, everyday activities that, when done regularly, will improve your mental health.
It is natural to feel some stress and anxiety during a time when there have been so many changes and uncertainty. Stress and anxiety is a signal that we have to adapt and overcome challenges in order to protect others and ourselves.
Stress may involve caring for an elderly family member, worrying about your own health or the health of a loved one, boredom, financial concerns, feeling a lack of belonging or connection, or technology fatigue.
If the stress and anxiety of the pandemic is affecting your daily life, consider adopting healthy habits that are good for mental health. If you are still unable to cope or have underlying mental illness, reach out for help as soon as possible.
There are many different sources of information about the pandemic, not all of which are credible. Social media makes it even more difficult to find accurate information.
It is important to note that the changes to the public health order listing restrictions are in step with the most current data about our COVID-19 numbers and our health care system's ability to manage. Decisions are informed by expert health professional advice.
Government agencies and other well-established organizations are staffed by professionals who are held to high standards to ensure that they are providing the best advice:
Children will naturally reflect the emotions felt by their caregivers and may not understand why they cannot do the things they normally do. They may not understand why they are not able to be with their peers and why their routines have changed. Here are some tips for supporting children:
The University of Regina's Child Trauma Research Centre has many youth-focused resources for mental health and substance use.
Even though we are staying apart during the pandemic, we can still connect with others.
Winter is here and Saskatchewan offers plenty of outdoor opportunities to get together with friends or do solitary activities that support mental health. Remember to dress for the weather to make sure the activity is as enjoyable as possible. Some activities may include:
Check local community organizations like social media groups, municipal recreation pages or bulletin boards for recreation opportunities through the winter.
Working from home can affect people differently. Some enjoy it while others find it difficult. Here are some ways to have a healthy work-life balance when working from home:
It can often be difficult to know when it is appropriate to ask others for help. Many other people are likely feeling the same way you are and are waiting for someone to talk about what they are going through. It is important to lean on each other and be open to having conversations about our mental health.
If you do not feel comfortable asking a close friend or family member for help, there are professionals who will listen and provide you with tools to improve your mental health.
Whether it is the loss of a job or loss of a loved one, grieving is especially challenging when we cannot physically gather with friends and family.
Try finding ways to continue doing the things that you normally do to cope with grief and loss safely while abiding by the current restrictions. If you are unable to cope or do the things you normally would, it is important to reach out and seek help if the feelings of grief and loss become too overwhelming.
Dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 can cause increased stress and anxiety for many of us. In the short-term, drinking alcohol or using drugs might help you cope with these feelings, but it could also make things worse for your health and well-being.
You may have a higher risk of overdose death while using depressant drugs ("downers") that slow breathing.
Smoking tobacco, cannabis or other drugs can make your illness worse if you are infected with COVID-19 or have another illness that affects your lungs.
It can be easy to lose count of how often we are drinking or using drugs when our usual routines and schedules have changed. Try keeping a list or diary of the date, how much you drank or used and how you felt afterwards. There are a number of apps that can help you track your habits, or you can keep track on paper. Avoid stocking up on alcohol or drugs – the more you have in your house, the more likely you are to use it.
Follow these tips to reduce negative impacts on your health and well-being:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, children and youth may see the adults they live with drinking or using drugs. They may also be drinking or using drugs more often.
How a parent uses alcohol or drugs can influence their children's decisions about alcohol or drug use. Help children and young people learn healthier habits by modeling responsible behaviour and talking to them about drinking and drug use. Store any alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription drugs in your home where children and youth cannot access them.
To reduce health risks, young people should delay drinking until they reach the legal age. If youth choose to drink, they should do so with parental guidance.
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic can cause anxiety and worry in all of us. Mental health supports are available to help you through this difficult time.
Family Service Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, supports free mental health walk-in clinics. These clinics offer free one-time counselling sessions which are now available by phone.
Walk-in mental health counselling services are available in:
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Saskatchewan Division has set up phone lines to support those who may be struggling in these changing times:
Support information for businesses and workers is available.
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