In uncertain times people lean on those closest to them to maintain mental health — going for a coffee, visiting a friend or hugging a family member have all become unsafe to do so in this global pandemic making self-care more difficult, but more important than ever.
The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has released a number of strategies to help support mental health while at home.
The ministry recommends reaching out to the community whether it’s family, friends or getting involved with a phoning seniors program — that connection can help reduce stress and lift each other up. “Share positive stories, focusing on the facts and having time to smile and laugh when possible,” reads the ministry’s website.
There are also numerous online and phone counselling options, such as 310Mental Health Support, which can be reached at 310-6789, no area code required, for emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health; Bounce Back is for people experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress and can be reached toll-free at 1-866-639-0522; and Foundry BC is an online and over the phone support for people between the ages of 12 to 24.
And while staying at home has shown an increase in social media use, the ministry recommends taking time to unplug from social media and the news, especially when it comes to stories and posts relating to COVID-19. “If you watch or read the news, commit to checking it a couple of times a day, set regular times, and disable news alerts on your phone.”
The ministry also urges people to use reliable sources of information which will “ensure that what you do learn is fact, not fear-based,” and recommends the BC Centre for Disease Control, HealthLink BC, HealthLink Canada or the World Health Organization.
Take time for self-care activities such as cooking nutritious meals, stretching, meditating, excersizing when your’re able to and getting lots of sleep, the ministry recommends. Read the book you’ve been meaning to start but never had the time to, get caught up on podcasts, start your spring cleaning and take time to relax or try a new hobby.
Those in need of additional support can visit bit.ly/3dSXQNE.