Coping strategies

Coping strategies can help you manage worsening mood or difficult events and assist with healing. The pandemic has limited HCPs’ ability to access resources or use their coping strategies because of several obstacles, including limited time and COVID-19 related restrictions (i.e., closed gyms). On top of this, many feel their problems are not severe enough to merit accessing formal supports, such as counselling, so they do not seek additional support.

It can be hard to find the energy to engage in coping strategies so being aware of a range of tools can be helpful for managing mental health. Below are some coping strategies that account for these added difficulties:

  • Set and keep routines that help with a work-life balance. A healthy diet, good sleep, exercise, and social interaction can all help.
  • Take up activities that are flexible with your work schedule. For example, YouTube or apps like FitOn have programs for yoga, meditation, or exercise that can be done 24/7.
  • Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, set a goal to exercise for 15 minutes three times a week for the next three months.
  • Deep breathing: inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, practice for 4 minutes.
  • Positive self-talk: redirect negative thoughts by positively reframing them.
  • Visualization: pay attention to all senses, visualize positive mental images – for example, imagine the sounds, smells, and sights of a calming scene or imagine yourself finishing a task or goal that is causing you stress. You can often find guided visualization exercises online.
  • Self-care activities: go for a walk, carpentry, engage with your religion/spirituality, journal, read a book, take a nap or bath, listen to music, gardening, painting, etc.
  • Practice self-compassion: show yourself the same kindness and understanding as you would a good friend who is struggling. It does not mean ignoring pain or suffering but accepting it and providing yourself with care in response. To learn more about self-compassion you can visit this website or find guided exercises here.