Self-care and Mental Well-being
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:
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.
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.
- OverDrive has magazines on delicious and nutritious food including Better Nutrition and Vegan Food & Living.
How to: Under Subjects, select Magazines, then either Food & Wine or Health & Fitness.
- Kanopy offers instructional evideos like Cooking and Children... A Learning Activity and The Everyday Gourmet: Making Healthy Food Taste Great series.
How to: Select Browse, then Health, then Everyday Health. Then select Nutrition.
- Gale Courses, an elearning resource, has instructor-led courses such as Luscious, Low-Fat, Lightning-Quick Meals or Start Your Own Edible Garden.
How to: Select Personal Development, then Health and Wellness. Courses start on specific dates.
For similar courses, select the title of a course and look under Related Products.
If you find you're sitting a lot, try to remember to stand up and move around regularly. Use your muscles. Develop a personal workout. Aim to increase your heart rate for 30 minutes a day. Here are some resources to help you get moving.
- Hoopla has a variety of evideo dance workouts (like Doonya, the Bollywood Dance Workout) as well as evideos on Pilates, yoga and other exercises.
How to: Select Movies or Television under Browse. Then select the category Health & Fitness.
In Television, you can also select the categories Dance Your Way to Health and Workouts for Women.
- Flipster and OverDrive have health and fitness magazines such as Men's Health and Oxygen.
- PressReader has similar magazines in both English and other languages, including not only Men’s Health USA but also Men’s Health Australia, Greece, Mexico, etc.
How to: In Flipster, select the category Fitness & Health.
In OverDrive, select Subjects, then Magazines, then Health & Fitness.
In PressReader, select the category Health & Fitness. You can also use the Languages category to browse by language.
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 and meditate. Practice mindfulness. Include yourself on the list of people you are taking care of. Here are some ways to do this.
- LinkedIn Learning, an elearning resource, offers courses like Balancing Work and Life and Mindfulness Practices and short videos (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."
- O'Reilly Learning has streaming ebooks like The Power of Having Fun and What Makes Work Meaningful -- Or Meaningless.
How to: Select All Topics under Explore. Then select Career Development, then Personal Development, then Life-Work Balance.
- OverDrive has eaudiobooks like The Oxygen Advantage, 8 Keys to Practicing Mindfulness, and many books on meditation.
How to: Search with keywords like "breathing," "meditation" or "mindfulness." Filter results by selecting Audiobooks (on the left). Further filter by selecting the subjects Self-improvement or Health & Fitness.
How to: Select Music under Browse. Search with the keywords "meditation" or "mindfulness."
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.
- O'Reilly Learning has ebooks on why sleep is so important, such as Why Sleep Is a Strategic Resource and chapters on sleep in books like Smarter, Sharper Thinking.
How to: Search with the keyword "sleep."
- Canadian Periodical Index (CPI.Q) has articles from magazines and the news like "You Move, You Snooze" and "Lion, wolf, bear and dolphin. What sleep animal are you?"
How to: Search with the keyword "sleep" or "insomnia." Results are distributed under the headings Magazines, Academic Journals, etc.
Make them more focused by selecting Subjects (on the right), then Sleep (or Insomnia).
- SAGE Journals offers 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."
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.
- OverDrive has emagazines of crafts and hobbies. Find titles such as Beadwork and Model Railroader.
How to: Select Subjects, then Magazines, then Crafts.
- LinkedIn Learning offers a variety of design courses like Design a Comic Book and Improve your Drawing Skills; as well as music instruction like Play the Guitar, Write a Song and Vocal Lessons.
How to: Log in. For design courses, select See All in the Popular Learning Paths area of the homepage. The select Filter Paths, then Design.
For music, select Audio + Music under Library (top left of homepage), then Music Lessons.
- Medici.tv has evideos of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries and master classes.
How to: Select Concerts, Operas, etc. Filter results by name of composer, historical period or performer.
You can't filter master classes by instrument in Medici.tv but some of the classes can be found through the Toronto Public Library catalogue. Enter the keywords "piano instruction" or "singing instruction" in the catalogue search box. Filter results by selecting Movies & Videos under Type, then eVideo.
How to: Enter the keywords "guitar”" or "piano" in the search box. Select video titles from the results that drop down as you type.
- Gale Courses has instructional online courses like Drawing for the Absolute Beginner, Instant Italian, Discover Sign Language and Mystery Writing. Courses start on specific dates.
How to: Select Language and Arts, then Arts or 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 the six most popular languages on the Mango Languages homepage or select See All under Pick a Language to see all 74 language courses.
- Naxos Music Library and Naxos Music Library Jazz have streaming music for relaxation, in addition to the classical and jazz music.
How to: Enter "relaxation" in the Keyword Search box.
- The Alexander Street theatre collection has streaming eaudios and evideos of performances of plays and related documentaries:
- Audio Drama: L.A. Theatre Works Collection. Radio theatre dramas and comedies, including Lobby Hero written by Kenneth Lonergan and Table Manners written by Alan Ayckbourn.
- National Theatre Collection. Performances of classic plays by Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Chekhov and others.
- The Royal Shakespeare Company Collection. Performances filmed at the Company’s Stratford-upon-Avon theatre.
- Theatre in Video. Documentaries on e.g. acting, theatre history, staging and design, as well as performances of plays from e.g. Broadway and the Stratford Festival.
- For some additional ways to unwind and do something relaxing, take a look at our blog post, 38 Ways to Use the Library from Home.
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.
- OverDrive offers relationship-building eaudiobooks like 30 Days to Understanding Other People and How to be an Adult in Relationships.
How to: Use the keyword "relationships". Under Subject (on the left), select Self-Improvement.
- Canadian Newsstream provides newspapers and magazine articles on personal relationships such as "I'm a shy 38-year-old. Is it too late to find love?"
How to: Search with the keywords "personal relationships". Limit results to Full Text on the left. Filter them under Subject, also on the left.
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 the article, With cocktail hours and dinner parties now held online, there’s a new way to socialize (The Globe and Mail).
- Get instructions on using and tips on the best use of this technology in O'Reilly Learning, like the chapters "Communicating with FaceTime" in My iPhone for Seniors, "Exploring Video Calling" in Facebook for Seniors and The Google+ Guide: Circles, Photos, Hangouts, and More.
- LinkedIn Learning offers evideo tutorials for using several of these platforms, such as Google Hangouts and Skype.
How to: In both O'Reilly Learning and LinkedIn Learning, 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!
- Self care for Health (2014). World Health Organization
- Self-care for Caregivers (2005; modified 2011). Public Health Agency of Canada
- Six Ways to Practise Self-care (2019) (PDF). Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- Stress and Coping (2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 1: Impacts of COVID-19. Statistics Canada. See also The COVID-19 pandemic and life satisfaction in Canada and other "articles on various subjects which explore the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic landscape" on the Statistics Canada page, COVID-19, a data perspective.
- COVID-19: Mental Health Resources. City of Toronto. "It’s OK not to feel OK."
- Indigenous Wellness Resources, in Indigenous Health Resources. University of Toronto Libraries, Gerstein Science Information Centre
- Healthy Eating Tips, Physical Activity Basics and Tips for Better Sleep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Meditation: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- Mental Health, Wellness and Addictions Support. Government of Ontario
- Resources for International #SelfCare Day 2016. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- Self Help. Canadian Mental Health Association
- Self-care Guides (including Self-Care Guide for Parents). Government of Quebec, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
- Taking care of your mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government of Canada
- The Seven Pillars of Self-care and What is Self-care? International Self-care Foundation
Updated February 16, 2022