Mental Health Resources List
In this time of tremendous uncertainty, it’s normal to feel anxious, even panicky. This does not mean you have a mental illness. When you notice your anxiety level rising, remind yourself that this is normal and do what helps you to feel less anxious. You may find that you have a constant level of anxiety for a while – this is also normal. There are many ways that you can reduce that anxiety to a manageable level.
When you have addressed all these areas and you are still finding it hard to manage your anxiety
First, remember the basics.
- Sleep – if you are having trouble sleeping, make sure that you take time to rest throughout the day. Even if you can’t sleep, it’s still helpful to lie down for 20-30 minutes. Listening to a yoga nidra or other meditative practice can be helpful to increase your sense of resting.
- Exercise – we can still go outside in this pandemic situation – walks are an excellent way to burn off some of that extra adrenaline and boost your mood. And while you are outside, make sure to notice the natural world – take a minute to feel the sunshine on your skin, the wind in your hair, the sounds and sights of spring starting to emerge here in Canada.
- Food – try to eat a balanced diet and avoid processed food as much as you can (and as much as your budget allows). Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine – both can increase anxiety (many people use alcohol to calm their nerves but after the preliminary effects wear off, the anxiety that was suppressed by them will rebound) and both affect sleep.
- Connection – stay in touch with friends and family. Join online groups to develop new connections and help those who are isolated. Connection also includes our animal companions and all of nature. And you can always call the Crisis Line or Distress Centre (see numbers below)
- Routine – most of us feel more comfortable when we have some type of plan for our days. This is even more important now when most of the external things dictating our routines are not happening. Even things like brushing your teeth, making your coffee or tea every morning, and looking after your pets can all contribute to a sense of control and predictability.
- News – limit your exposure to news updates about the pandemic. More isn’t better and can often contribute to a sense of being overwhelmed. See if you can find stories about how people are helping each other through this and unrelated stories of the good things that are still happening in the world.
- Help others – reaching out and helping others is a good way to increase your sense of control and agency as well as increasing your connection with others and with compassion, which is then available to you as well as others. And remember that helping yourself also increases your compassion.
Tune into yourself regularly throughout the day (not just when you start to feel overwhelmed) – are your muscles are feeling tense, are your thoughts racing, are you feeling more anxious or irritable or tired? That’s when you need to go back to the basics and focus on what you need. Remember that you aren’t going to be any help to others if you don’t look after your needs first.
Meditation and Self-compassion Practice
Other sites that may be of interest
Stress Relief Exercises (you can do all of these sitting or lying down)
Here are some videos and guided practices that will be helpful for relieving stress in your body and mind. They are mostly short exercises that you can do several times throughout the day, especially if you notice a lot of tension in your body or an increase in your anxiety level. Even if you aren’t noticing much tension or anxiety, try these out. We all store a lot in our bodies and often have little to no awareness of it.
Working with Your Parts IFS Resources
Mindfulness/self-compassion/Connecting with Self – talks and meditations
Podcasts – mental health, trauma treatment, spirituality
https://podtail.com/en/podcast/ifs-talks/ IFS Focused
https://www.thetraumatherapistproject.com (Start with episode 436)
“Terrible, Thanks for Asking” You know how when someone asks "How are you?" you just say "Fine,” even if you’re totally dying inside, so everyone can go about their day?
“Terrible, Thanks For Asking” is the opposite of that. Nora McInerny asks real people to share their complicated and honest feelings about how they really are. It’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and often both.