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Online Exclusive: Maintaining good mental health

Pandemic tips from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

By Starr Cunningham

At the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, we work each day to change the way people think about mental illness and addiction. These days, we’re also working to change the way we think about how we work, and how we care for our own mental health. As COVID-19 impacts our lives, much has been altered. Now more than ever, we need to remember to practise self-care and support others.

As proud partners of Our Children, we wanted to share our team tips with your readers. We hope our own personal coping tools will resonate with Nova Scotians and provide some inspiration for maintaining good mental health during these unprecedented times.

Starr Cunningham, President & CEO - Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia
Starr Cunningham, President & CEO – Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

“For me, staying connected is critically important. Our team is used to interacting and seeing each other at the office five days a week. Now, we connect for a video call every morning. It always brightens my day to see everyone, especially when someone shows up in a ball cap or invites their child or pup to make a cameo!”

Laura Clark, Development Lead
Laura Clark, Development Lead

“Old school is the new school! Similar to saying grace, we have been taking time to say something we are thankful for at the end of each day. It’s simple, but effective. We’ve also been setting a 10-minute timer every day to do an online language refresher. It’s quick and easy, which makes it maintainable.”

Sherri Topple, Executive Assistant & Grants Lead
Sherri Topple, Executive Assistant & Grants Lead

“I get great pleasure out of doing little things to make other people happy. During this time, I’ve started writing cards to mail to people I care about. It’s keeping me grounded, and imagining how they may feel when they receive it in the mail. I look at the picture on the cards, choose the one I think they will like, and keep the messages that I am writing positive and happy. It makes me smile while I’m writing, and addressing envelopes by hand has always felt like a special thing to me.”

Jill Chappell, Marketing & Communications Lead
Jill Chappell, Marketing & Communications Lead

“I had been really focused on getting my boys on a consistent schedule to create some normalcy for them not realizing I was neglecting my own self-care. My husband encouraged me to take some time for myself, so I opened up my dusty guitar case and pulled out my favourite present from Christmas 1998.

I had taken classical lessons for years when I was a teenager, but it had been so long since I’d just strummed and sang. After 20 minutes, the stress just seemed to melt away. I’ve been playing every day since.”

Kate Udle, Event Lead
Kate Udle, Event Lead

“To promote good mental health during these extraordinary circumstances, I’ve been doing daily yoga videos with my husband, Clark, and our seven-year-old son, Henry. This allows us to keep our bodies moving in a safe and comfortable environment, and it’s a chance for all of us to clear our minds. We all look forward to our daily yoga break!”

Sara Smysniuk, Finance Lead
Sara Smysniuk, Finance Lead

“Since being at home, I continue to wake up at the same time each morning, shower and go to work at the normal time. Working from home is sometimes a challenge, but knowing that I can continue my work routine at home is less stressful, and a nice distraction from what is happening around the world.”

Visit the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s website any time for more mental health tips and resources to connect you with the services you need.

We’re all in this together, and together we can change the way people think!

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