This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that are keeping this blog full of fresh content.
If you are a person living on Earth during this lifetime, at this exact moment in history, it is highly probable that you’ve experienced some sort of strain on your mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re worried about yourself or someone you love contracting COVID-19, experiencing financial difficulties due to loss of work, dealing with loneliness, or just struggling to keep it all together for your loved ones, there are so many factors that can heighten your stress, anxiety or depression right now.
It can be a lot to take on right now. Who would have guessed you’d be navigating new things like ordering groceries online or braving the shops to ensure your household has food? The one thing I keep reminding myself is that I am not alone in this experience. While we are all isolating, it’s easy to isolate—internally—even further. This is not a time to let your mental health slip.
As an Alberta Blue Cross plan member, I was alerted to their Text4Hope service at the beginning of the pandemic. For the past two months or so, I’ve been receiving a daily text message in the morning to help set me up for success and support my mental health for the day. I read them aloud for Jack to hear as well, because the message can often help him too. Accessing this free service is easy. Simply text COVID19Hope to 393939 to subscribe free of charge.
Alberta Blue Cross joined forces with Alberta Health Services, the Mental Health Foundation, Dr. Vincent Agyapong of the University of Alberta and other hospital foundations across the province to launch Text4Hope.
Text4Hope provides support to Canadians using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy-based messages. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) refers to short-term therapy that helps individuals identify negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours and shift them into healthy thoughts and behaviours when needed.
When you sign up to the service, you can expect to receive daily advice, support and suggested actions from mental health experts to help you build adaptive coping skills and resiliency. I have found that these texts really set the tone for the day and even offer a bit of a reset if stress has been already mounting in the morning.
Some examples of my favourite texts I’ve received so far include:
A key to improving mood is to increase your activity. This allows for positive things to happen, which improves your mood.
It is important to find a balance between pleasure and your to-do list. Try to do a bit of both today and see how you feel.
Take a moment to notice how you feel right now. Don’t judge your emotions or try to change them. Just observe them and see your stress levels reduce.
These simple messages are great reminders of how to take care of your mental health during this uncertain time. However, it is still important to stay in touch with friends and family, call your doctor as needed for prescription refills or advice, and get outdoors often for fresh air and sunshine.
For more information about Text4Hope, visit Text4Hope.ca.