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Taking Care of Yourself: Tips for Mental Health

Many of the daily headlines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have been about the devastating public health impact and the stunning economic downturn at both the local and global level.

Naturally this has led to a third, equally important and widespread concern – the mental health of people. The constant bombardment of crisis news can lead to a new layer of stress, fear and anxiety.

For companies like Avenue Living, which owns and operates multi-family housing in almost half the health regions across the Prairies with approximately 10,000 units in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the safety of residents and employees has always been paramount, but even more so now than ever, with numerous measures initiated to deal with this unprecedented situation.

“This has transpired very quickly for every organization and many of us are all in the same boat. We’re trying to figure out the logistics, the tangible things,” said Andrea Bherer, Senior Vice President of People and Culture for Avenue Living.

“However, we also want to talk about something less tangible: mental health. We understand that not only is there short-term stress, there is also the potential for long-term impact as well. We may get through this fairly soon, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to continue to be facing challenges,” said Bherer.

Bherer recommends people take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. “Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Give yourself permission to take a break.”

Many public health websites, including Alberta Health Services, also advise taking care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Other suggestions include:

  • Make time to unwind – try to do activities you enjoy
  • Connect with others – talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling
  • Get help – call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row

Alberta Health Services website lists information, resources and services to help people cope with these extremely challenging times.

“There are so many other unknowns and stressors out there. At Avenue Living, we’re trying to eliminate some of the stress by communicating clearly and frequently,” said Bherer.

“As an organization that’s home to 20,000 people across the Prairies, we want to let people know that we’re thinking about them. We’re working on pandemic protocols around the clock. We’re also looking at what we need to do in the community to support our residents. We want to make sure that people who want to help others have the opportunity to do so, so we have created the Prairie Relief Team, our community task force,” said Bherer.

“We ask ourselves every day – what can we do for our residents and our employees, to ensure their safety and wellness ? We are monitoring the COVID-19 updates as they happen and we are constantly evaluating our plan,” said Bherer.

Avenue Living is continuing to track this rapidly evolving situation and the company will keep providing updates on its strategy to protect its stakeholders’ health and well-being. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please send an email to COVID-19@avenueliving.ca.

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