How do we support mental health when information changes almost daily as we respond to the current health crisis?
Many of us are experiencing anxiety, stress, and other challenges that can negatively affect our daily lives. This is when strategies can be useful to help manage it.
Here are 3 tips to help manage anxiety heading back to school during these uncertain times:
- Find a hobby or interest that fully absorbs your attention, either through school or outside of school. While these activities will most likely involve new safety precautions, they are still important to your wellbeing. School is a place to explore new passions and connect to others with similar interests. When you start to feel anxious, having a hobby or interest allows you to have a mental escape. The extra bonus is that it will connect you to others socially who share a similar interest. Find something that is meaningful to you, that will connect you to others. Whether you socialize virtually, at a 6 foot distance, or inside your bubble, sharing a passion is a great way to both redirect your mind off the current stress you are feeling and to make social connections.
- Accept that the feelings you are having today might not be the same feelings you may have tomorrow – be kind to yourself. It is to be expected that you will have overwhelming feelings when there is a great deal of change. It is normal to have an emotional and sometimes even physical response to this stress. Reach out to those who are supportive to you and the emotions you are going through. Your feelings and state of mind will change as you navigate this new school year. Be kind and gentle to yourself.
- Create some sense of structure for yourself. Having a routine and consistent schedule will help signal to the brain that “hey, I know what to expect”, which in turn may provide a greater sense of stability. Whether school is online, in person or some combination, consider getting up at the same time on school days with a general plan for the day. Organizing how your day will flow the night before or first thing in the morning may allow you to guide how the day unfolds and feel a little more in control. Write it down or use an online agenda so that you have a visual for the day. Don’t forget to schedule in leisure and self-care time as well!
Most importantly, know that you are not alone in this world. Feelings of being overwhelmed at the thought of returning to school, in whatever form it will be, is expected. Reach out for support from friends, family members and your community. And as always, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year we are here for you at the Crisis Centre of BC.
We are currently offering a variety of courses and workshops – online and in person- for adults and youth that provide skills and tools to help yourself and others through these challenging and changing times.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs someone to talk to, we are here for you and can be reached at:
- Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
- Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
- Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
- Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)