Self-care and Mental Well-being

April 28, 2020 | Diana S.

Comments (6)

Self-care is "taking time to do things you enjoy or that make you feel better, especially when you feel stressed," according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's (CAMH) Six ways to practise self-care (PDF) guide. The six elements CAMH recommends are:

  1. Eat well
  2. Move your body
  3. Pay attention to yourself
  4. Sleep well
  5. Slow down
  6. Talk to people


Right now, many Canadians are experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety, as demonstrated in a recent survey by Statistics Canada, How are Canadians coping with the COVID-19 situation?  So here are some resources to help you practise the six elements of self-care.


1. Eat well

It's important to take the time to eat three healthy meals a day. Try to consume more fruit and vegetables. Cut down on your caffeine and alcohol intake and drink more water instead. Here are some resources to help you learn about eating well.

  • RBdigital Magazines has titles for making delicious and nutritious food including Better Nutrition and Cook's Illustrated. 

How to: Under "Filter" in RBdigital, browse the magazines available by selecting the genre Food & Cooking from the drop-down menu. 

How to: Select "Browse", then on Everyday Health in the "Health" category, then on Nutrition.

  • Gale Courses, an elearning resource, has instructor-led online courses such as Luscious, Low-Fat, Lightning-Quick Meals or Start Your Own Edible Garden.

How to: Select "Personal Development" then "Health and Wellness". You can find courses on similar subjects under Related Products after you choose a course. Courses start on specific dates.


2. Move your body

If you find you're sitting a lot, try to remember to regularly stand up and move around. Use your muscles. Develop a personal workout that's best for you. Aim to increase your heart rate for 30 minutes a day. Here are some resources to help you get moving.

How to: Under "Browse", select "Movies" or "Television" then "Health & Fitness". Under Television you'll also find a special section, "Dance your Way to Health!"

  • Flipster and RBdigital Magazines both have health/exercise magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Women's Health and more.
  • PressReader has emagazines in English and other languages, including Men’s Health Australia, Greece, Mexico, etc. in addition to Men’s Health USA and other fitness magazines.

How to: In Flipster, select the category "Fitness & Health". In RBdigital, select "Filter", then "Genre", then select "Health & Fitness". In PressReader, select the category "Health & Fitness". You can also, in PressReader, use the "Languages" category to browse magazines in a specific language.


3. Pay attention to yourself

If you can, aim for a balanced lifestyle. Try to identify things that help you move towards physical and mental health and things that don’t. Be sensitive to changes of attitude and mood. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Practice mindfulness. Remember to include yourself on the list of people you are taking care of. Here are some ways to do this.

  •, an elearning resource, offers courses like Balancing Work and Life and Mindfulness Practices and parts of courses like Breathing Properly and Strengthen your Brain Through Meditation.

How to: Search with keywords like "balancing work life", "breathing", "meditation" or "mindfulness".

How to: Select the triangle beside "Personal & Professional Development" under Browse Categories for a list of subcategories. Scroll down, and select "Work Life Fulfillment".

How to: Use keywords like "breathing", "meditation" or "mindfulness". Filter your results by picking audiobooks. You can further refine your results under the Subject filter by choosing Self-improvement or Health & Fitness.

How to: Select Music under Browse. Search with the keywords "meditation" or "mindfulness".


4. Sleep well

Get the sleep you need. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine: read a book, meditate, do something enjoyable. A good sleeping routine is most successful if you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. These resources are great for finding out about the importance of sleep as well as how to sleep better.

How to: Search with the keyword "sleep." Filter the results by selecting Personal & Professional Development under Category. In O'Reilly, you can select chapter or section titles in the search results to go directly to that part of the book.

  • Canadian Periodical Index (CPI.Q) has articles from magazines, academic journals and the news like "The All-Day Guide to a better night's sleep" (in magazines), "Music for a Better Night's Sleep" (in academic journals) and "How to keep COVID-19 stress from ruining your sleep" (in news). 

How to: Search with the keyword "sleep" or "insomnia". Focus the search results by selecting on Subjects, then on Sleep (or Insomnia). Results are distributed under the headings Magazines, Academic Journals, etc.

  • SAGE Journals offers more articles from academic journals like "Sleep-readiness signals in insomniacs and good sleepers" and "Are Poor Sleepers Afraid of the Dark?"

How to: Search with the keywords "sleep" or "insomnia".


5. Slow down

Set aside time every day to unwind and do something relaxing. Learn a new skill or start a hobby. Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Here are some other things to focus on for a while.

  • RBdigital Magazines has emagazines about crafts, hobbies and music instruction. Find titles such as Creative Knitting and Quilting Arts Magazine, FineScale Modeler, Popular Woodworking, Guitar Player and Guitar Techniques.

How to: Select "Filter", then "Genre" and select "Crafts" or "Hobbies" or "Music" from the drop-down menu.

  • offers a variety of design courses like Design a Comic Book and Improve your Drawing; as well as music instruction like Play the Guitar, Write a Song and Vocal Lessons.

How to: For design courses, select "See All" next to Popular Learning Paths on the homepage and scroll down to the Design section. For music, slide your cursor over Library, down to Audio + Music and select Music Lessons one column over, then on Learning Paths.

  • has evideos of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries and masterclasses.

How to: Select "Concerts", "Operas", etc. and filter results by name of composer, period or performer. It is not possible to filter master classes by instrument in, but some of the classes can be found through the Toronto Public Library catalogue. Enter the keywords "piano instruction" or "singing instruction" in the search box. Filter the results by selecting "Movies & Videos" under Type, then "eVideo".

How to: Enter the keywords "guitar”" or "piano" in the search box and select video titles or subjects from the menu that drops down as you type.

  • Gale Courses has instructional online courses like Drawing for the Absolute Beginner, Instant Italian, American Sign Language and Mystery Writing. Courses start on specific dates.

How to: Select "Language and Arts", then "Arts", "Creative Writing" or "Languages".

  • Mango Languages helps you learn a language online, like Latin American Spanish, Japanese, Dzongkha, Scottish Gaelic, or Pirate.

How to: Select one of six most popular languages on the Mango Languages homepage or select on See All under Pick a Language to see all 74 language courses.

How to: Enter the keyword "relaxation" in the search box.


6. Talk to people

Share what’s on your mind, especially if you’re facing challenges. Ask others for advice. Spend (virtual!) time with family and friends. Talk to them. Listen to their stories. The following resources are about building healthy relationships and include tech tips for connecting virtually.

How to: Use the keyword "relationships". Filter results by selecting ebooks or audiobooks, and selecting "Self-improvement" under Subject.

  • Canadian Newsstream provides newspapers and magazine articles online on personal relationships such as "I'm a shy 38-year-old. Is it too late to find love?" and "What It’s Like Being Aromantic on the Most Romantic Day of the Year."

How to: Search with the keywords "personal relationships". On the results page, select "Full Text" to limit the results to what you can read online. You can filter the results further by selecting key terms under subjects, such as "Couples". Use "More" under Subject to see all subjects. 


There is technology that enables you to be face-to-face with others while maintaining your physical distance. See, for example, the "Tech for Talking" section at the end of this article from The Globe and Mail, "With cocktail hours and dinner parties now held online, there’s a new way to socialize".

How to: In both O'Reilly for Public Libraries and, search with the name of an application or software such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Skype, or with the keywords "video calling", "video communications" or "video conferencing".


Take care of yourself!



Additional Resources


Edited May 28, 2020. Safari Tech & Business Books Online name changed to O'Reilly for Public Libraries.