person sitting in a mediation stance with green blurred background

By: Steve Bond, BScPhm, RPh, CDE
Pharmacist/Manager, Yurek Pharmacy

The past few years have been trying.  That is probably an immense understatement. Our entire world has literally been turned upside down.  Rules about and our knowledge of COVID keep changing and evolving.  Personal feelings and beliefs have pitted neighbour versus neighbour as we all try and navigate this pandemic which most would agree has gone on for far too long.  How are we managing our mental health?  Studies show that anxiety and depression are on the rise and I can attest that patience for some is dwindling. There are some small steps we can all take to help our mental health.

First, have an attitude for gratitude. Positive psychology has shown that being grateful leads to positive emotions, better health and better relationships. Instead of focussing on what is wrong or lacking in your life, take time to recognize your blessings.  Each night for example, take the time to write down two or three good things about your day.  They don’t have to be monumental.  Even simple things like the kids made their beds without being asked, you completed a project at work, or you got a great parking spot at the grocery store can be worth jotting down.

Live in the moment.  An exercise in mindfulness helps us to stop worrying about the future or focussing on the past and just living in the present. It is a form of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at any given time. It may involve breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.  It is done without interpretation or judgement.

Get active.  This doesn’t mean that you need to lace up your runners and do a half marathon. Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of exercise and adding a social aspect is even better. So grab a friend and go for a walk!

Doing for others also does for you.  Helping a neighbour, cooking something for your partner or bringing a coffee to a colleague gives you a  sense of connection and makes you feel more positive.

Little steps can help your overall mental health.  Of course, its also important to be able to talk about how you feel.  While these steps can point you in the right direction, sometimes you may need more help including an intervention from a medical professional.  Take care of yourselves and each other.