Taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Public Affairs | April 15, 2020
           

Essential Tips for Wellness graphic

There have been many rapid changes to protect all of us from the spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or even depressed as a result, know that you are not alone and that help is available. In times of transition and uncertainty, taking good care of ourselves is more important than ever and Okanagan College Counselling Services has some tips and resources to share.

Essential strategies for wellness:

  1. Look after your basic needs. Eat well, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and get some exercise. When we take good care of our bodies, it helps keep our brains healthy and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  2. Follow or create a routine. Wake up and go to sleep around the same time every day, make your bed, get dressed and set a goal for each day. Routines help us to have a sense of structure and safety and are useful in uncertain times for adults and children alike. Having a routine helps you to know what to expect throughout the day and may help with productivity. If you’re struggling to set a routine, try talking to a friend and check in with each other about your efforts to keep each other accountable. Write down your schedule and daily goals and post them somewhere visual.
  3. Stay connected: using phone, text, video chat or social media, stay in regular communication with friends and family. Schedule visits ahead of time to give yourself moments of connection to look forward to. For example, check in every lunch hour with a different classmate or coworker – you could each go for a walk while you chat. Or, plan to meet up virtually with a group of friends by video chat. Some games, like Scattergories, Battleship or Charades are surprisingly easy to play remotely.
  4. Get some fresh air and sunshine when you can: schedule it into your day. Be mindful when you choose somewhere to spend time outside, opting for locations that don’t usually get too busy, and offer plenty of room to respect physical distance if you do cross paths with people.
  5. Practice mindfulness using activities such as meditation, yoga, art-making or journaling. You can find many free apps and websites for learning to meditate or doing yoga at home.
  6. Limit the amount of time you watch or listen to media coverage. Find a credible source you can trust for facts. Social media is generally not a trustworthy source for information. You may want to allocate some time in your day to check in with a trustworthy news source, ideally not right before bedtime. Set a goal to limit mindless refreshing of news and social media apps. This might mean turning your phone and devices off for certain periods of time or leaving it in a different room. For many people, the early days of the pandemic led to frequent news-checking, but it’s important to recognize that as we settle into the experience, we likely don’t require the same frequency of updates. Taking time away from news and social media may help you to stay grounded and focus on the other things that you care about in your life.
  7. Remind yourself that the pandemic is time-limited. Life will eventually return to normal.

Resources for learning about how to take care of your mental health at this time:

Coping with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic – World Health Organization

COVID-19 and Anxiety - Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division

FACE COVID – How to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis. In this brief animation, Dr. Russ Harris, illustrates how to deal with the coronavirus crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it.

Support is available:

  • The Province of British Columbia is rolling out extensive online and telephone supports for mental health for people of all ages. More information can be found here.
  • The Foundry (Kelowna, Penticton) continues to provide primary medical care and counselling for youth 12-24 years of age, as well as some groups which have moved online. For more information, click here.
  • If you are in need of immediate listening and support, please contact the BC Crisis Line at 1-888-353-2273 (available 24/7).

Useful apps and websites:



Tags: COVID, Services for Students, Counselling

TOP STORIES

RELATED STORIES

Sign up for weekly stories




Trending

Engineering Technology students Chase Seale and Myles Derksen
College spotlights new Common First-Year Engineering and other tech programs via virtual info session

June 15, 2020

Future engineers and technologists take note: Okanagan College is opening up a new pathway to engineering next year, and in the meantime is opening students’ eyes to other technologies careers in high demand. The College will welcome its first intake of students to its new Common First-Year Engineering (CFYE) program in Fall of 2021. The one-year CFYE certificate provides a comprehensive applied science foundation and sets students up to transfer into second-year university engineering studies. Students will complete courses in a variety of...

Read more...
Kofoed family
Kofoed family celebrates the role of nurses

June 10, 2020

A $60,000 gift from the Kofoed family will honour a very special nurse in their life, and a generation of new nurses entering the field. Jack Kofoed, and his children Jacqueline, Leah, Jillian and Jeremy are giving to the Our Students, Your Health campaign to help complete construction on a new Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Jack’s wife Leona was a nurse. She passed away in 2017, and this gift recognizes her life’s work and the special care she received during her final days, according to her family. “Mom was o...

Read more...
Tuition Winner Brittani Sali
Contest winner inspired to help others

May 26, 2020

When Brittani Sali answered the phone and learned she was the winner of a $5,000 tuition giveaway contest, she thought she might be dreaming. The 22-year old was just waking up, and she hadn’t been expecting the call from local radio announcer B Mack. Lucky for Sali, winning the tuition giveaway towards any health program at Okanagan College wasn’t a dream. The 22-year old was among one of 80 people who entered the contest, which was sponsored by the Payton and Dillon Budd Memorial Fund, in partnership with Virgin Radio and the Okanagan Col...

Read more...
Isabel Fabian Animation grad
Drawing together: College and industry gather virtually to celebrate animation students

May 21, 2020

If there was ever a time to get animated, this was it – albeit with a virtual twist. While COVID-19 may have altered the format for the ceremony, it couldn’t dampen the excitement as studios from across the valley joined Okanagan College this week in recognizing the newest soon-to-be grads from its Animation diploma program. At the OC Animation department’s second-annual Industry Night on May 13, a group of second-year students on their way to graduation and first-year students who have now crossed the half-way mark of their program were ce...

Read more...