How Can I Take Care of My Mental Health Right Now?
With Mental Health top of mind since the onset of the Pandemic, we’ve partnered with our friends at MindBeacon and their Senior Clinical Director and Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Khush Amaria for an ongoing series that addresses how we can better care for our mental health during this difficult time.
This month, we’re kicking off the series by letting you know the basics on how you can better take care of your mental health during the pandemic, starting right now.
How can I better take care of my mental health during the pandemic?
Most people require a well-rounded approach to improve their mental health. This process starts with education and most importantly, self-awareness. Check in on how you are feeling and your own stress levels often, to give you a starting point for educating yourself. You may notice you are feeling anxious, burnt out or are experiencing insomnia or stress.
Define what “positive” mental health means to you. This is when you feel like you are in control of your life and your decisions, are able to cope with life’s challenges, can recognize positive and negative emotions, and feel generally happy.
This awareness and resulting actions to improve “negative” mental health episodes all help to build psychological resilience, the ability to cope with stressors in life in an emotionally healthy way. Here are some different ways you can take care of your mental health and build resiliency, even during a pandemic:
Practicing self-care means identifying your needs and taking steps towards meeting those needs. Get the sleep you need, eat nutritious food and make sure to incorporate exercise and movement into your day. Your mind and body are connected, so it’s important to recognize this and to make sure you’re at your best.
Reaching Out to Your Network
Don’t let stigma stop you from using support that is available to you, whether that is therapy via your workplace benefits, online resources or simply talking to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. Sharing how you are feeling can help alleviate pressure and stress, and may be an outlet for support.
Be Realistic and Set Small Goals
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to reach unrealistic goals or put unnecessary pressure on yourself, this will end up having the reverse effect and cause more stress. Goals are important, as they give us a sense of accomplishment – so start with small, realistic and measurable goals. Try simple goals such as ‘go for a walk, read for 30 minutes or take the first step forward a new project at work’. Reward yourself for achieving your goals or even just trying to do something that feels good for you! Schedule activities that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment.
Using Behavioral Activation
It can be hard to mobilize yourself into action when we’re feeling down but that’s exactly what’s most helpful to change our moods. Take advantage of a useful psychological technique called Behavioural Activation by engaging in an activity that has a positive impact on your mood. Miss coffee dates? Don’t wait – make a cup of coffee, call a friend and have a catch-up. Want to learn to meditate? Download an app and try a two-minute meditation exercise. Remember to avoid grandeur and keep it simple when trying to get your mood up.
Challenging your beliefs
If you’re feeling anxious, challenge your beliefs and see if you can develop more balanced or realistic thoughts. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you do this; it’s a type of psychotherapy that has shown to work for many mental health concerns to cope with everyday stressors. CBT is all about learning to become more aware of how your thoughts and behaviours are related to your emotions and how to change your thoughts to improve the way you feel. Give it a try, challenge a thought that gets in the way of your happiness or keeps you feeling scared unnecessarily.
Focusing on What You Can Control
In a world full of so much uncertainty, pay attention to what’s within your control to eliminate unnecessary stress that can be harmful to your mental health. Your effort, actions and attitude will influence the quality of your life so minimize the negative by focusing on the parts that are within your control.
MindBeacon can help build the mental resilience you need to cope with life’s challenges. If you’re ready to start your journey towards improving your mental health, visit this page to get started. The earlier you start, the better. There’s no need to wait for a crisis to make the decision to focus on taking care of your mind.
We know there’s a lot to learn around mental health. Feel free to submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have your question answered by an expert.
Well.ca now offers preferred pricing for MindBeacon digital therapy, which provides CBT guided by a registered mental health professional. Because it’s digital, it’s there for you anytime, anywhere you want it. And it’s covered by most group health benefits plans. To learn more, check out MindBeacon at Well.ca services today.