Mental Health and Pandemic : How to Feel Better

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Accepting the emotions you are feeling might be the key to feeling better. During these exceptional times, what would you like to do to ensure a healthy balance in your life? Remember, it’s okay not to be okay.

Adapted in English by Valérie Harnois

Traumatizing events such as what happened in the Old Quebec on Halloween Night of 2020, or in Laval in October of 2015 illustrate how extreme mental health issues can have an unpredictable and sometimes dangerous effect on society. Is it possible to predict events of an extreme violent nature?

The very next day, following the dreadful events of Halloween 2020 where two people passed away and five were severely wounded, the Quebec government made a significant announcement. They pushed ahead their announcement of 100 million$ for mental health services, which was supposed to take place on November 12.  These funds will increase psychological helps services until March 2022, for people suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues, mild or severe, whether or not this condition is related to the pandemic.

« Carmant said he also wanted to make sure people don’t confuse mental health issues with mental health illnesses, and said that people who experience either are rarely violent. I think that what happened this weekend was unpredictable and that we can’t make a definitive link to the pandemic. »

CBC, November 2, 2020

The government had already announced 25 million $ to improve access to mental health resources for teens and young adults. These funds are meant for students in high school, CEGEP and universities affected by the health measures in place since September 2020. Whether it is because social contacts are limited or because some sports activities are suspended, youths are facing a daunting period since the beginning of the pandemic. Many are experiencing stress and anxiety. 

« We educate youth on physical activity and physical health, but I think it is about time we do the same for mental health » (free translation from DRE Grou).

Le Journal de Québec, 1er novembre 2020

This article from Psychology Today shares good habits to have to take care of yourself in the current context. Small gestures often make a huge difference, allowing people to maintain balance and be ready to face the new day.

Moreover, accepting the emotions you are feeling might be the key to feeling better. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. The ACTT strategy may help people accept their current state and feel better about it. Psychology Today suggests a four-step process to do so :

  • A : Acknowledge and accept uncomfortable thoughts and emotions—without judgment. You can do so by simply saying to yourself, « I’m feeling (insert emotion) right now. »
  • C : Consider what you can control in the situation.
  • T : Take several deep, diaphragmatic breaths (aka belly breaths).
  • T : Take intentional, values-based action, by first asking yourself, « What do I want to be known for in this moment? » or « What’s the most helpful action I can take, based on what I can control? »

Ton défi

During these exceptional times, what would you like to do to ensure a healthy balance in your life? You can create your ideal week using a digital calendar (Google and Microsoft offer free versions). Which elements are not negotiable for you? Reading, chatting with friends, going for a run, trying a new recipe…Considering that currently, sources of joy and entertainment are somewhat limited, hobbies and things that make you happy need to be a priority in your agenda.


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