As things rapidly change in the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of really great public health information has surfaced about how we can take care of our physical health. We’ve heard a lot about ‘social distancing’ – the practice of limiting our attendance in social gatherings when it is avoidable. These extremes are completely necessary to ‘Flatten the Curve’ as we try to limit the severity of this pandemic. An unfortunate byproduct of these efforts is that they will put a huge strain on our mental health.
Our social feeds and media content are ALL centered around coronavirus.
It’s a mass state of fear, dread, and even panic.
In the wake of all of this, it’s critical we take the time and energy to prioritize our mental health. Here are 4 ways we can manage your mental health while keeping social distance:
1. Focus on the Facts
Don’t let your anxious mind overestimate the risk. Embed yourself in reliable information. Go to trusted sources for updates such as the websites for Government of Canada or other provincial resources.
2. Control What You Can
Focus on what is in your control, and let go of what is not. There are many things you can do to protect yourself, such as:
- Boost your immunity by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep
- Protect yourself by washing your hands vigilantly, avoid touching your face, avoiding public spaces
- Reduce exposure to media and news. The more you are in contact with your stressors, the more anxious you may feel.
- Do what makes YOU feel safe and comfortable. There’s no need to feel embarrassed or silly if you’re taking the necessary precautions
Build Your Resilience
This is a hard situation with a lot of uncertainty, and it is likely to continue for a while longer. The opportunity we have is to build, grow, and develop through these uncertain times. We can build our resilience skills and use mental fitness tools to navigate this uncertainty. Your psychological health will be better for it. Using the 6 skills we focus on with headversity, here are a few ways to build these skills to your advantage
- Know how you’re reacting and responding to stress. Think about your brand: how you want to show up for your colleagues, friends, and family. What are your ‘superpowers’ – the things you do best? Doubling down on your strengths during this time of elevated stress will not only help you, but those around you.
- Challenge yourself to be present. Use mindfulness exercises to ground yourself. You can do things like deep belly breaths to calm your emotional reactions. If you’ve been a skeptic of trying mindfulness? Well…now’s the time to try!
- Just like your physical muscles, you have mental muscles that can use practicing and refining. One mental fitness skill that’s important during this time is poise. Poise is the ability to maintain composure and execute no matter what your internal state is. If you are feeling anxious, take a pause until you are able to return to a calm state. Focus on what’s most critical to the task at hand, take it one thing at a time.
- We need to manage anxious thoughts and make sure they don’t get away from us. We mentioned some nerves can be good to help curb your behaviour. Try our I.C.E tool. When you’re feeling anxious, Identify your anxious thought, then challenge yourself to see if that is a thought or a fact, and then exchange it with a more balanced thought that is rooted in fact.
- Hardiness is about enduring difficult conditions. Adopt a challenger mindset, and try to see what the opportunity is in this situation. Perhaps being away from social events and gatherings means more quality time with your family. Maybe you get to read more books? Or learn to play the guitar. Adopting hardiness will help you take advantage of an unfortunate situation.
- Healthy eating, exercise (at home or outside), and regular sleep will all help with regulating your energy. It’s amazing how getting these 3 things right can help with our overall mental wellness.
Even though we are all decreasing social contact physically, we can still stay connected virtually. We have amazing technology to stay in touch with family and friends across the globe. And if you’re still struggling with your mental health, this same amazing technology can connect you with mental health professionals virtually to get you the help you need.
Be well out there! If you have any questions about managing your remote workforce during this transition period, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org