Love Thyself

Mental health matters

By Natallia Staravoitava

While I was grateful to find myself healthy and safe at home, confinement was not fun. Bombarded with a constant stream of negative news, the fear of what tomorrow might bring, being isolated from family and friends, and unable to go out and do the things I love, I grew increasingly anxious, lonely and sad. Fortunately, I didn't lose my job or have three kids to homeschool, but life in lockdown definitely took a toll on my mental health. Can you relate?

A friend of mine said that self-isolation was like a vacation with time to relax and reconnect with your inner self. Maybe, but I — and I'm sure many people — didn't feel the same way. I felt depressed. When I'd hear someone say, "just stay positive", it bothered me to no end. If it was that simple, we'd all be fine.

To my surprise, the longer I stayed home, the less I wanted to go outside. I had more time to myself, yet less motivation. I wanted to curl up into a ball and do nothing. I learned that feeling better when nothing motivates you is hard work. But little things can make a big difference:

Pick a pick-me-up. Watch a feel-good movie. Choose something funny and uplifting. Create a new playlist and throw a dance party.

Stay organized. Clean house, clear mind. Staying on top of household chores like vacuuming, dishes and laundry sounds mundane, but don't underestimate the mental benefits of a decluttered and tidy home.

Unplug. No need to watch the news a dozen times a day or continuously browse through the questionable articles on the interweb. It is important to disconnect and give your brain a break from all the doom and gloom.

Go for a walk or bike ride. Every time I forced myself to get some fresh air, I felt calmer, happier and renewed. Remember that exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins. I enjoyed taking a daily walk while listening to an inspirational podcast.

Connect with family and friends daily. You can be physically distant from your loved ones, but you don't have to be socially distant from them. A video chat or phone call can lift your spirits, calm your anxiety, and make you feel less lonely.

Treat yourself. Be it a bubble bath or a face mask, don't neglect the value of self-care. Curl up in a cozy chair with a good book and a cup of tea. Find a new recipe and indulge in a gourmet meal. Make time for your favourite pastime.

There are loads of things we don’t have control over in life, but we do have the power to practice self-compassion and selflove. That’s what I did to feel better and will continue to do post-pandemic.

Reach out

Beyond all these tips, it is crucial to have someone to talk to. If you feel overwhelmed, worried or depressed, there are people who can help. Many mental health professionals offer virtual consultations. You can also check out the following resources:

  • Tel-Aide: telaide.org; 514-935-1105
  • Wellness Together Canada: ca.portal.gs; Youth: Text WELLNESS to 686868; Adults: Text WELLNESS to 741741; Frontline Workers: Text FRONTLINE to 741741
  • Kids Help Phone: kidshelpphone.ca; 1-800-668-6868
  • Centre de prévention du suicide de Québec: cpsquebec.ca; 1-866-277-3553

Natallia StaravoitavaNatallia Staravoitava is a wellness consultant who loves to inspire others to live their best life. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from McGill University and has over 10 years of health-care experience.

 

Summer 2020, Vol 12 N°3

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