Now that the school year has begun, changes are happening quickly and COVID may still bring up many mixed feelings. It may be exciting to see friends, and it may also bring up feelings of worry or anxiousness and concerns about health and safety.

Sometimes these fears and worries can make you feel like you want to avoid  certain places or activities. As you move into your new routines, it’s important to keep your mental and physical health a priority.

Here are some tips to help you take care of your mental and physical health as you are returning to school or are moving on from grade 12.

  1. Allow yourself to feel what you feel: It’s OK if you find that you feel a bit anxious about COVID and what’s happening. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend who is experiencing the same things. Name what you feel (e.g., “I feel .” Or “I am feeling .”). You are not your emotion. Allow yourself to feel what you feel and take a few deeper slower breaths in and out. You’ll notice that the emotion may drop in intensity or leave all together.
  2. Focus on what you can control: You can’t control others, the restrictions in your school, or in your community, but you can control where you go and how you protect yourself and your mental health. For example, if you find the news is stressful, take a break from it. Have patience and try not to judge yourself and others, this will help you stay flexible.
  3. Create healthy boundaries: Focus on what will be best for your mental and physical health. It’s OK to say no to doing something that you don’t want to do or no to someone when you don’t have time. Set boundaries for yourself so that you get time to do what you need to do for your mental health. This is really important, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
  4. Do activities you enjoy: Do some things that you enjoy. It could be anything that’s relaxing or energizing, creative, physical, social, etc. (e.g., reading, journaling, art, music, karate, yoga, practicing mindfulness, hanging out with a friend). Make sure that you enjoy it. If you’re doing it and you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, try something else. It’s OK to take a step back.
  5. Talk to someone you trust: We all have times when things get hard. It can be helpful to talk things out with a friend, a family member, teacher, counsellor, or mental health clinician you trust. 
  6. Book your free Covid-19 shot: Alberta Health Service’s protocol recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine to help prevent you from getting infected and protect you from getting severely sick if you do get it. All vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.

There are crisis lines available. In Alberta, you can contact the AHS Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 (Toll free)

There is a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) network in your area that provides supports and services. Please contact them if you have questions regarding drinking, sexual activity or FASD prevention.