It’s normal to be nervous or anxious during these uncertain times. After all, day to day life has changed drastically for many Canadians. Canada, along with each of the provinces, has increased the measures required to fight the COVID-19. Still, this is a stressful period for all of us. But how do we keep ourselves from being overwhelmed and spiraling out of control?
We’ve put together four tips to help manage stress and mental health during this unique situation that we all face.
Control What You Can
As COVID-19 spreads worldwide at unprecedented rates, it may seem as though our lives are no longer dictated by our own actions, but by outside forces… the government, the provinces, the global economy. This lack of power can cause a great deal of stress. So what can you do? Focus on the things you can control. Here are the strongly recommended ways you can help protect yourself and others around you:
- Encourage proper hand-washing techniques
- Sanitize and clean high-touch surfaces regularly, for example, your electronic devices and door handles
- Leave home only for essentials and designate one person to make these trips
- Practice ‘social distancing’ maintaining a distance of two metres from others whenever possible
- Avoid inviting people outside of your household into your home
- Cough into a tissue or your bent elbow
Sound a bit simplistic? These actions have been proven effective in countering the spread of the virus. And it’s within your control.
Structure Your Days
It’s likely that this situation will last longer than a few weeks. So, as incredibly tempting as it is to curl up on the sofa and watch Netflix until it all blows over, it’s not the healthiest way to deal with isolation. Here’s what you do instead:
Follow a daily routine
Ensure that you create a routine, similar to what you might have if you were to go to work. This will help ease anxiety and provide a bit of normality to an otherwise abnormal situation. Get out of bed at a normal hour, make your bed, get out of those pajamas. Pledge to start your day off right.
Eat for your health
Prepare regular, healthy meals whenever possible. Include vegetables, fruit and sufficient water. This will not only make you feel better, it can help support your immune system. And eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some ways of managing your healthy eating habits on a budget.
Plan virtual visits
Schedule FaceTime or Skype calls with your friends and family that you’re unable to see during this period. It’s a great way to relieve the monotony of staying at home. Plus, it allows you to check in on loved ones, particularly seniors or those with chronic illness. Remember to check-in, too, on friends and neighbors who live alone. Remember, it’s really about physical distancing, not social isolation.
Limit Screen Time
On cable television, it’s all news, all the time. So it’s incredibly easy to glue yourself to a device to stay informed. On top of that, if you are self-isolating at home or unable to work, those handy screens provide us with endless entertainment. However, research suggests that extended exposure to social media might lead to elevated anxiety and depression. It can also disrupt sleep patterns, particularly for youth.
Pull the plug on your electronic devices and limit your social media use. Enjoy this unanticipated downtime for long-abandoned activities, such as family games, reading, crafting and hobbies. Play with your children and pets. Sit down for family dinner without the intrusion of media messages. You’ll feel better for it.
Manage Your Finances Carefully
Be prepared, and don’t panic. Panic is how you end up with a garage full of toilet paper but no funds for your regular grocery shopping until next payday. Stock up only on things you normally use. The goal is to minimize trips to the supermarket and avoid getting stuck with a cupboard full of canned peas and beef jerky.
If you are one of the many who have had your income reduced due to the lockdowns occurring across the country, you are not alone. This is a difficult time, and your budget will require extra management in the coming weeks. Take advantage of the financial resources available to help. Click here for an updated list of the programs and services available to affected people in the Maritimes.
If you find yourself completely overwhelmed with your debts and finances, reach out to a professional for assistance. Allan Marshall & Associates, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, offers free, no-obligation consultations to help you explore all of the options available to you. And there’s no need to leave your home. During this particularly difficult time, we are equipped to serve you via telephone and video conferencing, allowing you to remain safe during the pandemic. Click here or call 1 (888) 371-8900 to speak to one of our professionals.