How Take Care of Your Mental Health as the Pandemic (COVID-19) Continues
It is during our darkest momnents that we must focus to see the light. Aristole Onasis
In an online survey conducted by Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC), Pollara Strategic Insights on its 2nd poll survey conducted in the month of August among 4,100 adults as samples shows that there is still a rising number of people having a high level of anxiety and depression. It also highlighted that the levels of anxiety and depression are serious. About more than one-half of the Canadians who are reported to have high levels of either anxiety or depression can be classified as moderate to severe using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale.
The pandemic has made many Canadians lost access to mental health supports. It was identified that access to counselling has declined by a half and the one that uses online support is very low.
Although, we are living in this time of uncertainties, always remember that there are a lot of things that you can do to take care of your mental health.
Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems
It’s not really simple to try to recognize the difference between what the expected behavior is and what the symptoms of mental illness may be. There is no simple assessment that will let people know whether there is a mental disorder or what behavior and feelings may be normal behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.
Each illness has its own symptoms, however, the common signs of mental illness in adults and teenagers include the following.
- Excessive worrying or apprehension
- Feeling excessively depressed or weak
- Confused thinking or difficulties with attention and learning
- Extreme mood swings, like uncontrollable “highs” or euphoric sensations.
- Prolonged or heavy feelings of irritability or rage
- Avoiding friends and social events
- Difficulties to understand or communicate with other people
- Sleep changes or getting exhausted and reduced energy
- Changes in eating habits, such as increased desire or loss of appetite;
- Inability to evaluate changes in one’s own emotions, actions, or personality
- Overuse to substances such as alcohol or medications
- Multiple physical conditions with no apparent causes ( e.g. fatigue, stomach aches, unclear and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thoughts about suicide
- Inability to carry out everyday tasks or to cope with everyday challenges and discomfort
- Excessive fear of weight gain or concern about attractiveness
Why Having A Sound Mental Health is Important
Emotional and mental wellbeing is critical since it is a fundamental part of everyone’s life and it influences our feelings, attitudes, and emotions. Being emotionally stable can improve success and efficiency in tasks such as work, education, and treatment.
Mental health affects the way people think, feel, and act. Our mental health influences how we cope with pressure, how we maintain relationships, and how we make informed decisions. It is often referred to as ‘invisible health’ as it is not tangible. It is important to understand that mental and physical wellbeing are interlinked and interdependent and that this is complementary.
Sound mental health enables you to better deal with many other physical health problems. Individuals with sound mental health are capable of taking care of themselves and others in an appropriate and effective way. Mental well-being is important not only for the individual but also for the family and community. Mental health is crucial as it helps people to:
- Realize their maximum potential
- Cope with the stresses of daily life
- Maintaining meaningful relationships
- Work productively
- Enable positive contributions to the community
Tips on Taking Care of Your Mental Health as Pandemic Continues
Despite being busy, moreover, some individuals might still feel a bit uneasy right now — may be stressed, depressed, or even terrified in the country’s increasing cases of COVID-19. For others, the pandemic has begun to affect their physical, behavioral, and emotional health. To provide support for our mental and psychological well-being, It is suggested to consider these mental health considerations:
Have enough quality sleep every night.
Sleep has a tremendous effect on your mood and your capacity to deal with stress and challenges. Remember the last time you got a terrible night’s sleep, or a short night’s sleep, and how difficult it would be to get through your workday. There’s a close relationship between sleep and mental health, not getting enough sleep can affect your psychological state and mental health.
Research also shows that too little sleep can lead to a poor immune system.
Consume food that will protect your mood.
What you eat has an effect on how you behave and feel. it is advised to move from consuming only fast food and limiting sugar to eating a lot of vegetables and fruits and preparing balanced meals at home. A study shows that eating a balanced diet and getting away from foods that are inflammation-producing may protect you against depression.
In another study, it shows that there are twelve antidepressant nutrients that can help in the prevention and treatment of depressive disorders and these are Folate, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. The highest scoring foods were bivalves such as oysters and mussels, various seafood, and organ meats for animal foods. Also, the plant foods having higher antidepressant nutrients are green leafy vegetables, lettuces, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables.
Even the most introverted of us need a sense of connection to others for both our emotional and physical wellbeing. Many working groups have developed interactive forums where you can participate or just sit back and enjoy a conversation. You may try connecting with online book clubs, or virtual groups that share the same interest with you or where you can function in the (social) presence of others.
Even a previous study shows that social connectedness can improve public mental health.
In the TEDxHayward video as shown below, Emma Seppala, Ph.D., associate director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Study and Education, discusses the importance of sustaining positive social relationships towards mental health.
Daily physical activities have a powerfully beneficial effect on your mood. Studies have found that it is as effective as antidepressants in the management of mild forms of depression. If you are vulnerable to low moods, anxiety, fatigue, or burnout, exercise is your best friend. Try to get around every day.
Exercise can help depression and anxiety. It can help in releasing feel-good endorphins and can help to take away your mind from worries.
Be compassionate about yourself and others.
There’s a lot that we can’t manage right now, so how we speak about ourselves through these difficult times can either create a strong bridge to these stressful situations or intensify our anxiety. Moments of feeling exhausted also come with big feelings, such as “I can’t do this,” or “This is too hard.” This pandemic will cause a lot of stress for all of us because we likely won’t be our best selves all the time.
Remember, You are not alone!
Sometimes, it’s ok not to be okay since it’s a part of experience and growth. But, always remember that you are not alone, there are people that can help you. At Evergreen Rehab and Wellness, we offer holistic and complete health care. It’s is not just for the body but also for the mind. We have a clinical counselling service that can help you with your mental health illness.
You may also book for online counseling here.