Mental Health Week – Time to Get Real About How We Feel

Data shows that Canadians are anxious and crave a real connection, but say they are ‘doing fine.” New data released by the Canadian Mental Health Association shows that when people are asked ‘how they are?” the common stock answer is “I’m fine, thanks”. 

This response is almost an automatic reply even though people are experiencing more negative emotions then positive during the self isolation during COVID-19 (68% negative and 37% positive).  Canadians are feeling more isolated then ever and crave real, human, face to face contact. Feeling of isolation was up to 47% from 39% in only one month.  Studies show that people with weak or few social connections are an increased risk for anxiety, depression, anti-social behaviour and suicide.

So, what do we do?  It is time to creative on how to stay in touch, be positive, and make sure social distancing, does not lead to social regression.  Making a phone call, reaching out and checking on your friends, families and neighbours is more important then ever.  Some things to pick up the mood and restore humanity could include: inviting a friend for a walk outside, staying the proper distance away from them but still communicating, getting fresh air and companionship.  When you make a meal, make a little extra and surprise someone you know with a homemade fresh meal.  As garden stores open up, drop off some fresh flowers on a porch next door, make an effort when someone is outside to stop and safely say hello and check-in.  Share your knowledge of how to get access to local libraries online and drop off print books or magazines to those you know can’t get out.  Governments have done well to ensure that power supply stays in place, grocery stores stay open and access to doctors and prescriptions remain available, but it is up to the individual to ensure the metal wellbeing of those in our community stays in a positive place.

To learn more about your mental health and to stay close, even when we can’t visit your local mental health website or go to the Government of Canada’s Wellness Together portal.  If you are dealing with stress tips to help include:

  1. Limit social media use and news
  2. Try to get a good night’s sleep and plenty of exercise.  Try to eat healthy
  3. Share, share, share – your friends and family want to know if you aren’t doing “fine”, share your true feelings
  4. Don’t put pressure on yourself.  Balance life, work and expectations.  If you feel yourself going down a spiral, do your best to get out of it, whenever that may be.  If your day is overwhelming you, step back, relax and take time.  Self isolation can be overwhelming, but you are in charge of it.  Make the day look the way you want, not someone else’s idea of what it should be.

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