When we look back at this time in our lives, how will we describe it? We will likely recall the stresses and strains. There are many of those. Will we also remember the silver linings and the actions that we learned to adapt to and cope with the situation?
It’s hard while we’re living through it to deal with the stressors. But did you know that the Canadian Mental Health Association has a program called BounceBack? It’s a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth manage low mood, depression, anxiety, stress, or worry. They have a special section: 10 things you can do right now to reduce anxiety, stress, worry related to COVID-19. (Christine, in French: https://bouncebackontario.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/BounceBack_TipSheet-Covid19-FR2.pdf)
There is often talk of “The Four Ss”: Shower, Sunlight, Stretch, Schedule. If you can take care of these, it will provide a lot of comfort and structure to your day and hopefully lead to a more upbeat attitude and feeling of control over your life, even during these very strange times we’re living through. Please note that this does not, of course, replace medical attention if that is required. If you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or other symptoms, please reach out to medical professionals who can help you.
The Four Ss:
Shower: This is your first step to maintaining your mental and physical health and the gateway to making sure you put on fresh clothes daily – a very important way to make sure you greet your day with a positive attitude.
Sunlight: We know this is not possible every day but it’s a prompt to make sure you get outside and seek out the sunshine as often as possible. Nothing like a short – or long – promenade in the sun to lift the spirits and give us time to reflect on the things in our life we are grateful for.
Stretch: Ahhhhhhhh…. Just the word can conjure up feelings of release and comfort. The Heart of Orléans BIA district has businesses that can help with this. Modo Yoga offers online courses every day. You can also try out Greco Fitness’s online offerings.
Schedule: A schedule and a to-do list are your tools to keeping the energy flowing while ensuring you keep sharp intellectually and stay productive. Pro tip: Do something specific each day that you enjoy.
In addition to The Four Ss, there is the “what if” versus the “what is” approach. The “what if” approach can have folks wallowing in regrets or going down a rabbit hole of existential angst. What if I had done this? What if I had done that? What if something even worse happens?
An antidote to this thinking is its opposite, that is to say, a healthy attitude that is grounded in reality and seeks to answer “what is”? What is my hunger quotient at the moment? What is in my fridge and what can I prepare for a healthy dinner? What is trending on Netflix that I’d like to see? What is the best time for me to head to bed to get a good night’s sleep and get up at the best time in the morning to get a start on my day?
If you take care of your Four Ss and ask yourself “what is” you’ll be on your way to staying as content as possible even during these difficult times.
Pull out box:
To learn more about how to talk about mental health, check out the City of Ottawa’s “have THAT talk” program.
If you are concerned about your mental health or someone else, speak to your health care provider or check out the Mental Health and Substance Use Resource List. For information about mental health about your infant, child or youth, please visit the Parenting in Ottawa mental health page.
If you are in crisis, contact the Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-722-6914 or if outside Ottawa toll-free at 1-866-996-0991.
If you have a youth in crisis, contact the Youth Services 24/7 Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-260-2360 or if outside Ottawa toll-free at 1-877-377-7775.
If you (or your child) are experiencing thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, please call 9-1-1.