Best Health : 2020-11-01

BEST ADVICE : 25 : 23

BEST ADVICE

BEST ADVICE Q: I know physical distancing is important, but it makes me feel lonely and isolated. How can I counteract that? combat loneliness. Playing tag in the yard or a park with your kids, or even challengin­g yourself with push-ups or an exercise app, will also help elevate your overall mood and energy levels. In whatever free time you can find, try to focus on the things in your life that make you feel good. Take charge and do tasks around the house that give you a feeling of purpose. Set a daily to-do list that allows you to see what you are accomplish­ing. Clean out your closet, read a favourite book series, sign up for an online course or put on your chef’s hat and experiment with a few new recipes. by LISA BROOKMAN Act with purpose. will certainly go down as one of the most challengin­g on record. And while the situation isn’t quite as dire as it was back in the spring, fall may bring new challenges. It’s clear that social distancing is still the responsibl­e approach to keeping numbers down and preventing our hospitals from becoming overwhelme­d. That said, we’re all missing life before COVID-19. It’s so hard to be socially distant from our friends and family, but staying apart is crucial. Fortunatel­y, there are things you can do to make this time feel less isolating and bring a greater sense of connection. THE YEAR 2020 Seek profession­al help. If your feelings of loneliness and isolation persist, find a therapist who provides video or telephone sessions. These are great alternativ­es for people who want to practise social distancing but feel like they would benefit from therapy during this stressful time. The most important thing to remember during this period of uncertaint­y is that you are not alone. There is not a person in the world who is unaffected by COVID-19, so try to find some comfort in the idea that we’re all in this together. Also, do your best to reframe the experience into something more positive. Count yourself lucky to have some bonus time with family, get things done that you haven’t had time for and challenge yourself with new fitness activities. Above all, if you’re struggling, a friendly face is always just a video chat away. the day to stay in the loop, but otherwise try to keep off your phone and use your screen time more purposeful­ly. We’re all getting weary of looking at our friends and loved ones on a screen, but this is our reality and we need to make the best of it. Make an effort to maintain your virtual get-togethers, because without them, the risk of feeling lonely and isolated increases. Go old school and talk on the phone, or have a glass of wine with a friend over FaceTime. Plan “watch parties” around your favourite Netflix series with your friends. Social interactio­n will help you feel less alone and more connected with those around you. It’ll also provide you with support if you’re having a difficult time. Be (virtually) social. Start each day with something for you. Practising self-care is a great way to prioritize your mental wellness. Try to start your day on a positive note. Write in a gratitude journal or practise meditation. Listen to an uplifting audiobook or a podcast. Even if it means waking up 30 minutes before the rest of your family, making these little changes can help set the tone for your entire day. It seems counterint­uitive, but despite having your entire network at your fingertips, constant scrolling can lead to higher levels of anxiety and sadness, and heighten your sense of FOMO. Dedicate a few social media check-in times throughout b Limit your time on social media. Lisa Brookman is a clinical psychother­apist based in Montreal and owner of the West Island Therapy and Wellness Centre. She is one half of Wise Women. Find out more @wisewomenc­anada on Facebook. Doing exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, which has a significan­t impact on mood. Going for a walk with a friend is a great way to Stay physically active. best health OCTOBER NOVEMBER |