In tough times we can be more vulnerable to stress, worry, anxiety and depression. It’s important to take care of ourselves. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
Traumatic or unsettling events, most of the time unexpected, can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. Remember, it’s normal to feel stress. Everyone who goes through a traumatic event is affected in some way. Sometimes these stresses may not appear for weeks or months following an event. It is important to watch for warning signs.
There are things you can do to help ease some of the stress you may be feeling. Here are some tips to help you cope:
Support in your life from family, friends, and your community has a big impact on how you experience stress. Having support in your life can help you stay healthy.
Support means having the love, trust, and advice of others. But support can also be something more concrete, like time or money. It can be hard to ask for help. But doing so doesn’t mean you’re weak.
If you’re feeling stressed, you can look for support from:
Chemicals in your brain affect the way you think, feel, and act while the food you eat influences your health and energy throughout the day. What you eat can affect how you feel, and how you feel can affect your food choices. This is sometimes called the “food-mood connection”.
A well-nourished body will give you the resources to help manage stress.
Here are some things you can do to help regulate your mood through food:
For more information on nutrition visit, Healthy Eating Starts Here.
Take a break. Participating in regular, aerobic exercise, such as walking or biking, for 30 minutes or more, three to five times a week can have a positive impact on your mental health. Exercise releases chemicals (endorphins) that improve your mood. It also helps increase your blood flow, strength, and ability to cope with stress. Stretching exercises can help decrease headaches and back pain.
Stress affects sleep. Research shows that getting enough sleep is important for your wellbeing. Adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night. Getting enough sleep will help you:
You may feel that you’re too busy to do these things. But making time to do something you enjoy can help you relax and unwind your mind.
Try something new or make time for you such as:
Everyone needs social connections with others. Your network of relationships may be big or small. One or two close family members or friends may be all you need to feel supported and valued. Whether your circle is big or small, the important thing is that you are there for each other.
The support you get from your social connections can add to your feelings of meaning and purpose in life. These, in turn, add to your resilience. Happy, resilient people tend to be more connected to the people around them. Resilient people know that they can depend on the strength of their family and friends when the going gets tough.
Visit, My Health Alberta for more information on social connections.
Meditation and relaxation have many health benefits. Deep breathing, reading, stretching, and mindfulness are all ways to train your mind and body to relax while you take time for yourself.
Slow things down with long, deep breaths. This can help you get perspective, come up with creative solutions to problems, and decrease your anxiety.
We all worry, but practicing mindfulness can help train your mind to help you worry less and accept things as they are. Mindfulness teaches you to be in control of your mind so that your mind doesn’t control you. It helps you focus on the present, and not to get lost in regrets from past or worries about the future.
Research shows that taking time to focus on the positive things in your life has a healing affect. If you express thanks, appreciation, or love, it will energize your mind, body, and spirit. Learn more about practicing gratitude.
We often reach for a drink because we want to change the way we feel. Maybe we want to relax, to celebrate or simply forget our day at work.
More concerning is that many people drink to try and mask anxiety or depression, or other mental health problems.
While alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on our mood, in the long term it can cause big problems for our mental health.
Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:
Learn more about safer drinking.
Need Help quitting smoking. Call QuitCore: 1-866-710 QUIT (7848)
Donating your time helping others helps you feel good, but it can also help you feel more socially connected, fighting off loneliness and depression.
Volunteering increases self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and also helps you stay physically active.
Giving back, no matter what your age or life situation, also helps to take your mind off your own worries, keeps you mentally stimulated and adds more excitement to your life.
Visit Volunteer Alberta for opportunities to give back near you.
Write it out. Spending time writing, whether it’s about the situation itself or creating an action plan, can help lessen depression and stress. Writing out about your worries and then problem solving can help you feel less depressed, and focus on the positives. It can also improve your writing skills and in turn enhance job-related skills.
Here are some ideas on how to get started:
All of us have a responsibility for our own health and wellness, including our mental wellbeing. There are a number of online tools and resources available to help you maintain and enhance your mental wellness.
Here are some links to self-help wellness tools: