Advice & Tips for Coping with Anxiety around COVID-19
Stay connected with others
Although introverts are relishing this time away from school, the extroverts or social butterflies might struggle. It is important for people to not completely isolate themselves from the world because this could increase their anxiety. Reach out to your friends via Facetime, Skype or Google Hangout. In those "face-to-face" conversations, you may discover that those feelings you're dealing with are exactly what your buddy is also trying to understand. Reach out to others as often as you need. (For a list of resources, follow the Counselling page)
Create new routines
Change can be hard not only physically but mentally. It's important that we try to keep some structure in our lives as we navigate through this school year. There's already so much unpredictability happening in the world right now, so why not create a day that has a schedule, including task lists and daily goals.
Teenagers try not to sleep in until noon every day! Get that routine going and keep your body healthy with a regular sleep schedule, nutritious meals (including breakfast) and exercise. Studies have proven that exercise is a major benefit to mental health. Schedule in 5 or 10 minutes of walking per day. Grab your music and your dog and enjoy the fresh air.
See this link for more self-care ideas: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/Page13125.aspx
Finding joy right now might be difficult due to all of the regular sporting and school events being postponed or cancelled. However, if you flip it around, maybe this extra time is something that you've wanted to start writing that novel you planned on doing, or finishing that book collecting dust. Perhaps, you've wanted to spend more time with a family member and you're both home now. Bring out the cards or a board game and enjoy building those bonds. Enjoy the small things, like being able to take a walk in the middle of the day, or not being rushed in the morning for school.
Cut down on your Social Media
We need to find a healthy balance between being informed and protecting our mental health. If you are constantly checking your Social Media accounts for updates on the COVID-19 virus, your anxiety levels may rise and panic may occur. Designate a time of day to look at this information on Social Media and then spend the rest of day taking care of yourself and finding joy. Remind yourself that you cannot control this by constantly checking online so it's best to limit your social media contact.
What you're feeling is normal
The anxiety you may be experiencing is normal in this circumstance. Anxiety helps keep us safe and being proactive by social distancing, and washing our hands are appropriate behaviours. Otherwise, you should feel confident with carrying on with daily routines such as exercising, eating out or socializing - they will just have to be adapted to this situation.
When to know you need professional help with your stress or anxiety
- If your worry, anxiety or irritability are persistent and your family or friends comment on your behaviour.
- If you decide to self-medicate or develop an unhealthy eating habit to deal with your emotions.
- See this link for more warning signs: https://cpa.ca/covid-19/
Parents - How to Talk to Your Kids about the Coronavirus
This wonderful and quick video discusses how we can talk about this virus with our kids. I hope you find it helpful!
Mental Health Resources
While Palliser sorts out how its counselling staff will connect with students, here are some alternate resources:
Kids Help Phone - 1-800-668-6868
Mental Health Helpline - 1-877-303-2642
Distress & Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1-888-787-2880
Connect Teen Line - 1-800-264-8336
Distress Centre Calgary - 1-403-266-4357
Distress Line of SW AB Lethbridge - 1-888-787-2880
Hope for Wellness Hotline (Indigenous) - 1-855-242-3310
Always There - Mobile App
The Life Line - Mobile App
Daily Schedule for the Family during Isolation
Here's one of many Coronavirus Daily Schedules circulating on the web. I've heard positive feedback from families. Give it a try!