(This story is written in partnership with iMD Health.)
As we pass the one-year mark since the pandemic began, issues like Zoom burnout, work-from-home fatigue, and loneliness have been taking a toll on many people. While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has provided us with a sense of hope, we need to remain focused on our mental well-being.
To help keep you in high spirits until the pandemic ends, iMD Health is offering four ways that you can effectively improve your mental health.
Lean on healthy coping strategies
We’ve all discovered quick ways to ease our pandemic-related blues but ordering takeout seven nights a week isn’t healthy or great for your bank account. Along with overindulging in comforting foods, people might also chew their fingernails or drink excessive amounts of coffee or alcohol to avoid dealing with their feelings.
Instead of leaning on unhealthy vices, iMD Health suggests trying yoga, meditation, and tai chi. If these aren’t exactly your speed, try walking around the neighbourhood, jogging around the local track, or hiking in a nearby forest. The dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin released while exercising will boost your mood and improve focus.
Stop negative self-talk
Negative self-talk is when someone’s inner dialogue consists of unproductive thoughts that cause you to doubt your own abilities and diminish your confidence.
Try to be mindful of your thoughts and if they are negative, promptly shift your thinking to become more positive. Reflect upon a quality that you like about yourself or something that you’re grateful for. Through the use of positive thinking skills, it’s possible to change your view on whether your glass is half-empty or half-full. The healthcare education platform also offers some tips on how to understand and improve your mental health.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and counsellors all specialize in different areas so it’s important to do some research on their services and credentials before booking an appointment.
Psychiatrists are able to diagnose mental health disorders and provide their patients with prescriptions.
Psychologists are trained in psychology and specifically deal with thoughts and emotions. They are also able to diagnose mental health disorders but are unable to write prescriptions. However, psychologists often work closely with other medical professionals who can.
Counsellors provide support for a range of concerns and encourage their patients to overcome their personal challenges through advice and empathy. They are also unable to prescribe medication but can refer their patients to a general practitioner or psychiatrist if needed.
Before making an appointment with any of the above, be sure to contact your health insurance company. You’ll want to find out what types of mental health services are covered as well as the benefit limits.
If you’re unsure about speaking with a medical health provider, confide in your family members or friends for emotional support—we promise that they’ll want to help.
For more resources on how to boost your mood during these challenging times, visit iMD Health’s “I want to improve my mental health” page.