ONTARIO MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Dealing with pandemic fatigue, focusing on the positives and staying connected with friends and family are some of the Ontario Medical Association’s key mental health tips for this holiday season and winter months.
This is the time of the year when a type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder occurs, at the same time many people are still dealing with pandemic fatigue, loneliness and stress from organizing holiday events. Here are some tips to help cope.
- Give yourself a break: If you’re still feeling stressed about the pandemic almost three years after it started, your feelings are valid.
- Minimize infection risk: As we deal with the triple threat of respiratory syncytial virus, COVID-19 and the flu, good public health measures have both physical and mental benefits: wearing masks in indoor public settings, washing hands, physical distancing when appropriate, and being up to date with flu shots and COVID boosters. You can have peace of mind from knowing you’re doing everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Take stock of good things that happened this year: Focusing on the positives like personal accomplishments or career achievements is a simple but effective exercise to offset a low mood. This can help to put things in perspective when negative feelings pop up and remind us of what’s possible in the future. Consider a memory book or art project to commemorate these moments.
- Take time to disconnect: It’s important to disconnect by reducing your screen time and taking a walk outside or engaging in other physical activity.
- Catch up with friends and family: Stay social with family, friends and others, especially those who are elderly, vulnerable or live alone.
- Me time: Try to make it a priority to find time for yourself to recharge and to refocus, even if just to take a walk or read a book.
- Seek support and help: If you need support, don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted friends and family. If you need more, contact a professional. If you are feeling suicidal or unsafe, go to your nearest emergency department or crisis centre.
- Be kind: Help yourself by helping others. Putting up decorations, cooking a meal, running an errand or just being a shoulder to lean on can have mental health benefits.
- Narcan kits: If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, even if rare, have a Narcan kit handy. Narcan is a prescription medicine used to treat a known or suspected opioid overdose.
- Resources: For more information and support: ontario.cmha.ca/provincial-mental-health-supports.