Self-care and Mental Well-being

May 5, 2020 | Diana S.

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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.

  • 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. 

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. 


2. Move your body

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.

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.


3. Pay attention to yourself

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."

How to: Select All Topics under Explore. Then select Career Development, then Personal Development, then Life-Work Balance.

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."


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." 

  • 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."


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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

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:


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". 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).

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!


Additional Resources


Updated February 16, 2022