Coping with self-isolation and physical distancing
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.
Support for workers and Support for businesses
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.
Supports available in Saskatchewan
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.
- Exercising is proven to make you feel better. Remember, there are ways that you can exercise with others while following the current guidelines. Exercise at home or consider a walk or other activities outside, if weather permits.
- Cook, or learn to cook, healthy meals at home.
- Read a book or learn a new skill.
- Do an activity that you enjoy that helps you relax, such as meditating.
- Practice healthy sleep habits.
- Spending time with people and pets in your household who make you feel better, or connecting over the phone or online with those outside your household.
- Letting your feelings out by writing them down or talking with a friend or family member.
- Seeking counselling if you continue to struggle with stress or anxiety. Some counselling services are available over the phone or online at this time.
Managing stress and anxiety
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.
Supports available in Saskatchewan
Dealing with misinformation about COVID-19
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:
World Health Organization
Government of Saskatchewan
Taking care of children
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:
- Stay calm, especially in front of children, but be honest about what is going on.
- Watch for any signs of stress, like difficulty sleeping or loss of appetite. Seek support if required.
- Encourage children to express their feelings.
- Involve children in healthy physical activities, such as going for a walk, sledding or exercising.
- Try to keep routines going, as much as possible.
- Try stay-home activities such as family card games, board games, baking, shared reading activities, craft making, and watching TV/movies together.
The University of Regina's Child Trauma Research Centre has many youth-focused resources for mental health and substance use.
Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Reaching out to others
Even though we are staying apart during the pandemic, we can still connect with others.
- Make a quick call, send a text or video chat with family and friends to check-in on their mental health and offer support.
- Think about the people you know and who might be feeling especially isolated, like seniors or people who live alone.
- Offer support during your discussions, and keep the conversation positive and uplifting where possible. It's natural to default to thinking and worrying about the pandemic, especially when this is a primary focus of media and social media, and when we have limited access to our regular routines and activities.
- Although technology is a great way to connect, consider writing letters. Some people have written letters to total strangers or seniors in long-term care to offer words of support and encouragement during this time.
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:
- Going for a physically distanced walk in the park with friends.
- Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing through the local trails or at a nearby provincial park. Rentals may be available from local businesses or outdoor groups.
- Go tobogganing with members of your household.
Check local community organizations like social media groups, municipal recreation pages or bulletin boards for recreation opportunities through the winter.
Working from home
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:
- Keep the same routine that you had when you were working at the office, such as showering, getting dressed, and eating breakfast.
- Have a comfortable, dedicated workspace if possible.
- Make sure to set regular working hours, and take breaks during the day.
- Take breaks during the day. Try short meditations, conversations with others by phone or through technology, doing stretches, spending time with a family member or pet, or reading something you enjoy.
- Stay connected to colleagues.
- Take time to step away from your desk and move around.
Knowing when to ask for help
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.
Supports available in Saskatchewan
Experiencing grief and loss during COVID
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.