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While much is still unknown about COVID-19, one thing is certain: it is an unparalleled situation for everyone around the world.
This pandemic is taking a toll on lives, the economy, our social lives, and also on our mental health.
Dr. Susan Abbey, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at UHN's Centre for Mental Health, says it is important that we all take some time to remember that these are exceptional times.
"These are difficult times, and it is okay to feel stressed, we need to remember that," says Dr. Abbey.
"I think one important message that applies to everyone is – be kind to yourself."
During this pandemic, there are many articles and, of course, social media posts and videos with directions on what to do to keep busy and protect our mental health. And although a lot of it is useful, a good idea is to take in only what works for us. We all have different minds, bodies and lives and what is helpful for some is either not helpful or harmful for others.
"Don't let yourself get caught up in comparisons on social media – who reads more, who takes better care of their kids, who exercises the most," says Dr. Abbey.
She shares with us some ideas of how to cope in these times of physical distancing, but reinforces that they are just suggestions and that it is important to recognize if you need help, and use the resources available.
How can I cope with the feeling of imprisonment?
How should I deal with loneliness, especially if I live alone?
How can I protect my close relationships, with a partner, parent, or children living with me?
How can I help my kids understand what's going on?
If I'm out of work, how do I keep a sense of purpose?
For healthcare and other essential workers - How can I cope with the risks I take daily, for myself and loved ones living with me?
For healthcare workers – How can I reset after a difficult day when I lost patients to this pandemic?
WHERE CAN I FIND HELP?