Tune in for a conversation between Bess Yang and John Wang about what “self-care” really means, managing stress, and what you can do to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. John Wang is a Mental Health Counsellor and Psychologist-in-Training, finalizing his last year of graduate studies in Child Psychology at the University of Calgary.
Join Colleen Cory (from the Coffee with Colleen podcast) for a conversation with Ronni Abraham, Manager of Mental Health and Mindfulness projects at TIES. Topics of discussion include thinking about your mental health holistically, being honest about your emotions and checking in with yourself regularly, and how you can get support.
Practicing mindfulness exercises (which are also a type of meditation) can help you direct your attention away from the concerns that disturb your mind and engage with the world around you. Mindfulness can be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment by helping you shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations towards an appreciation of the moment, while identifying and managing difficult emotions.
You may be suffering from emotional drain due to pandemic-related stressors such as lockdown, quarantine, and social distancing. We are facing challenges that can be stressful and overwhelming, causing strong emotions in adults and children. Though these public health actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, they also can make us feel lonely and isolated and can increase stress and anxiety. While spending too much time planning, problem-solving, or thinking negative, it can have direct and indirect effects on physical and mental health leading you to go through symptoms of depression.
Behavioural health providers studied Mindfulness in many clinical trials, and the overall evidence supports its effectiveness for various conditions, including stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure (hypertension), etc. Preliminary research also indicates that it can help you experience thoughts and emotions with greater balance and acceptance by reducing stress, boosting memory and focus, reducing emotional reactivity, lessening job burnout, and improving cognitive flexibility, relationship satisfaction, sound sleep and diabetes control. Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life.
It may seem challenging at the beginning, but it is also easy to fall into the habitual processes of thinking, feeling, and doing through the lens mindfulness. Without any external disturbances interrupting each moment, it lets you experience fulfillment by connecting the whole of your senses throughout the day. Remember, by practicing mindfulness and acknowledging your past, you are not only being in the present, but you are additionally creating the best possible future for yourself.