HUMBOLDT — There’s small things community members can do to help take care of their mental health as they establish a new routine in isolation, said Partners Family Services’ executive director.
“COVID-19 has brought an incredible amount of uncertainty into our lives. It's not uncommon to be struggling or overwhelmed,” Hayley Kennedy said.
“You or your loved ones may be having feelings of anxiety, sadness, fear or uncertainty. Those feelings are normal, but you don't have to let those feelings take over, or work through them alone.”
She said one thing to consider doing each day is just getting dressed – even if it is just into other comfortable clothes.
“It’s just ensuring that you engage in your day rather than kind of staying in that rut of not going anywhere, not doing anything,” she said. “Those things can really help us feel like we have something to look forward to and just keeping in something that resembles sort of a normal routine.”
Kennedy said when engaging in a normal routine it gives more of a sense of control.
“It can kind of help keep away those symptoms of anxiety.”
Kennedy also suggested unplugging and being mindful in your consumption of media.
“Right now, information about COVID-19 is everywhere, and not all the information out there is accurate.” Kennedy said.
Currently, there are a number of fake news stories circling around social media such as dolphins swimming in the canals of Venice in wake of the pandemic, and Russia releasing lions on to their streets to ensure isolation.
If someone is specially looking for information on COVID-19, Kennedy advised that they should only visit accredited sites such as saskatchewan.ca/covid19 or Public Health Canada at canada.ca/public-health.
The Humboldt Journal will continue providing accurate local updates as the situation progresses.
“Take a break from social media as well – scrolling through news feeds can give an incomplete picture of how everyone else is coping,” Kennedy said.
“A lot of time we post our highlight reel, and it’s not very reflective of what’s actually happening in people’s day to day life and how they’re coping with the change.”
She said that can result in people feeling like they’re the only ones struggling with the change – which is not an accurate picture.
Kennedy said that it’s important to stay connected with other human beings, even in isolation.
“Call a friend, set up a FaceTime chat with a relative, or use an online platform like Zoom to set up a video chat with a group of friends,” she said. “There are lots of different ways we can use technology to connect with friends and loved ones.”
For parents, she encourages them to encourage teenage children to have real time video chats instead of sending videos or Snapchats – as it may result in them feeling more connected to their friends.
“When we maintain those connections with everybody else then we’re keeping in touch with our support network – those natural support networks of friends or family are the most important supports we have.”
Move your body everyday – Kennedy said it’s important to incorporate movement into a person’s day to day life as it will help boost their “feel good hormones”.
“Take a walk if you’re not in self quarantine, find a virtual group workout on Facebook, check out YouTube for a variety of yoga routines you can follow along with,” she said
For parents, Kennedy encourages them to make sure their children get plenty of exercise too.
“That means spending time outdoors in the backyard, walking the dog, or going for a family walk in the neighborhood if you’re able to.”
Kennedy’s last tip for residents is to reach out when they need to.
“While phone or video counselling might feel a little awkward at first, it can have just as many benefits for you as traditional in-person counselling,” she said.
Partners Family Services can be reached at 306-682-4135. Phone or video counselling is available for children, youth and adults with or without an appointment.
Intake for the Saskatchewan Health Authority mental health and addictions services can be reached through a local mental health intake line.
For Humboldt the number is 306-682-5333; for Lanigan the number is 306-365-3400; for Tisdale the number is 306-873-3760; for Melfort the number is 306-752-8767; for Nipawin the number is 306-862-9822; and for Porcupine Plain the number is 306-865-5646.