TORONTO – As COVID-19 cases increase across Canada, the pressure of the situation is once again starting to weigh on Canadians.
Dr. Shimi Kang, a mental health expert and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia, provided her top five tips for maintaining mental health during the second wave of COVID-19.
Practice self care
Kong believes that the best way to maintain your own mental health during a second lockdown is to take care of your body and mind.
“There is no health without mental health,” she told CTV National News. “The time has come for us to pay attention to the COVID guidelines, but really focus and prioritize our mental health.”
Her recommendations for self-care include proper sleep, regular exercise, positive social relationships and psychological stimulation.
“These are the ingredients needed for a healthy life,” Kang says. “We need more now than ever before.”
Identify, practice and master coping skills
Kang said it is important to identify three specific things that people can do to deal with high stress situations.
“These are the things you do when you know that stress levels are rising and self-care is not enough,” she says. “For me, I breathe, thank you, walk outside and nap, listen to my playlist. Find three and use them regularly. ”
Learn from the first wave
Kang suggests that Canadians can use their experience in the early wave to their advantage at this point.
“Back in March, we learned about ourselves,” she said. “We learned what we did well to overcome the stress of the lockdown and what we did not do so well.”
“Think back to that time and be active now. Whether it’s social integration or self-care or coping skills, you know what you need to do to sustain yourself.”
Respect your special mental health needs
Kang said it is important for Canadians to recognize that we are all different and that we all need different strategies to maintain our mental health.
She said some people need to exercise regularly, while others need to rest with some quiet time.
“The human brain is like a fingerprint,” she says. “We are all very special. What works for one may not work for you and vice versa.”
Monitor your tech diet
In another lockdown case, Kang suggests that people once again spend more time in front of the screen, which is detrimental to their mental health.
According to a July study from Statistics Canada, More than 60 percent of Canadians aged 20 and over reported watching more TV and using the Internet more in the first wave of COVID-19.
Kong said it is important for people to manage their screen time and use that time in a productive manner.
“Choose online activities that have healthy technology, which are technological activities that lead to meaningful social integration, self-care, creativity and learning,” she says. “Limit and monitor that junk tech, avoid those mindless scrolling and negative toxic online experiences.”