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Four Tips To Manage Your Mental Health & Wellbeing During Covid-19

“This disease [Coronavirus] destroys you. I was mentally devastated more than physically. The loneliness of the disease makes it that much more difficult. I was in absolute isolation the entire time. That was tough.

I was thinking that I was going to die. I have lived very well, I have had a wonderful life, but maybe now it’s over. My only problem was leaving my wife alone”

– Antonio Sales Martínez (COVID-19 Survivor)

How have you been feeling lately? Are you feeling anxious, depressed, or perhaps having difficult thoughts? Does going back to normal at work and in social settings makes you feel stressed and terrified?

According to recent research conducted by Statistics Canada in 2020, 38% of the Indigenous participants reported “fair or poor mental health” whereas 32% reported “good mental health”.

Indigenous women, in particular, have reported higher stress and anxiety levels during the pandemic. Among Indigenous crowdsource participants, 46% of Indigenous women and 32% of Indigenous men described most of their days as “extremely stressful” or “quite a bit stressful”.

It is undoubtedly, the pandemic had left some severe impacts on our lives and health. But there is always hope! If you suffer from anxiety, depression, substance use, and having difficult thoughts, here are some proven techniques and strategies that can help you recover and support your mental health:

    • Physical Exercise
    • Mindful Exercise
    • Facilitate a balance between your work at home and your personal Life
    • Take advantage of your Employee & Family Assistance (EFAP) program

Six in ten Indigenous participants indicated their mental health “has become worse” since the onset of physical distancing

1. Physical Exercise

Exercise is a powerful medicine that benefits many mental health challenges. It promotes positive changes in our brains that affect neural growth, inflammation, activity patterns, and homeostasis and releases powerful chemicals that energize us and make us feel good. You can try;

    • Walking/Running
    • Hiking
    • Restorative Yoga
    • Dancing
    • Gardening
2. Facilitate a balance between your work from home and your personal life

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, most of us have transitioned to work from home setting; however, the new normal can be very exhausting for some employees more than others.

In some cases, to be more productive, employees work extra time, or at all hours of the day/night – either because it’s easier to work a lot from home.
While working from home can support the balance and give flexibility to employees, without clear parameters, lines between work life and personal life blurs.

Share your experience with your supervisors and colleagues about what works well with you; have an honest conversation about what makes you more productive and less burnt out.

3. Take advantage of your Employee & Family Assistance (EFAP) program

The EFAP program is paid benefits that support employees and their immediate families to overcome personal and work-related challenges. The program offers confidential, short-term counseling as well as other wellness services. If this program is being provided by your employer, please take advantage of it to help you with your mental health challenges, such as;

If you don’t have an EFAP in place, please ask your Plan Administrator to contact our Account Managers to get more information.

        • Stress
        • Relationships
        • Addictions
        • Anxiety
        • Depression
        • Grief/Bereavement
        • Life Transition
        • and more…
    4. Mindful Exercise

    Stress is a normal reaction to threatening situations. However, we need to find ways to ease and manage it. Because, without stress relief, the long-term activation of the stress response system can have some destructive consequences.
    Refocus your attention through mindful exercises. Practice techniques with consistency and determination for optimal results. We suggest the following methods:

    Sit comfortably, focus on your breathing and the present moment.

    Learn more abour Mindful Meditation here.

    Breathe with a series of postures or flowing movements to inspire calm, relaxation and focus.

    Learn more about Yoga, Tai & Oigong here.

    Use imagery, repetitive words or a mantra, and body awareness to reduce stress.

    Learn more about Autogrnic Relaxation here.

    Form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation can help take you out of the stressful mindset you currently find yourself.

    Learn more about Visualization here.

    Take long, slow, deep breaths from the abdomen, and gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations.

    Learn more about Breath Focus here.

    Tense up and then relax each muscle group in the body, you can gain body connection as you isolate and relax each part of the body, one by one.

    Learn more about Progressive Muscle Relaxation here.

    Why should you practice relaxation techniques?

    Practicing relaxation techniques can have many benefits, such as;

        • Regulating heart rate and lowering blood pressure
        • Controlling the breath
        • Quelling stress hormones
        • Improving sleep
        • Increasing energy
        • Caring for mental health
        • Eliminating frustration
        • and incredibly, maintaining normal blood sugar levels

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