Moving forward - Healthier and stronger


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TD Asset Management Inc. takes pride in knowing this blog helps provide readers with helpful information and considerations when it comes to investing. While the blog typically focuses on capital markets investment themes and strategies, today's entry is going to focus on a different type of investment – you.

Much has been already written about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so we aren’t going to delve into any pandemic details here. What we do want to focus on is the effect it has had on mental health. The reality is whether you feel it has impacted you or not, the pandemic has likely affected your mental health in one way or another. With the increased stress levels and anxiety brought on by social gathering restrictions and lockdowns, coping strategies you may have relied upon to get you through challenging times like these may not be as effective as they once were. This is not your fault. Even some of the "mentally stronger" people out there have suffered emotionally (whether they know it or not).

A commonsense approach

If you’ve been getting by – great! Keep doing what you are doing and spread the positivity the best way you can. But, if you feel like things are not improving, or you are in a rut mentally, there are many commonsense coping activities you can try to incorporate into your daily routine that can help.

These activities were recently discussed through a chat with Dr. Vipan Nikore, Chief Medical Director, TD Bank Group. During the discussion, Dr Nikore pointed out some obvious, but often forgotten ways that people can use to help get their mental health back on track. Some of these tips and activities include:

Getting out there – Many people have been used to being " cooped up inside" for so long (particularly those who have been working from home) it almost feels strange to leave their home for something other than groceries or appointments. However, it is vital for your mental well-being to just get out there - even for a little bit. Admittedly, getting out there under various restrictions and safety standards can be challenging, however, there are still ways to safely be social and see friends and loved ones. It is important to make the effort to try and do this (while complying with health and safety protocols) – you will realize how beneficial and important this is after having connected with loved ones.

Exercise – We all know the physical benefits of exercise, but the mental benefits can arguably be just as important. Exercise can improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and by improving self-esteem. Also, if you have ever gone for a run or completed other cardio or high intensity exercises, you will recall the feeling of a "runners high". And if you haven’t had this feeling before, today is always a good day to begin exercising and work your way up to this sensation– you won't regret it.

Step away from the noise – Staying informed is important. Constantly being connected however, can be hard on you mentally. Stepping away and giving yourself a break from the "noise" found online, on the news and through social media can give you some much-needed mental relief. English poet Thomas Gray famously wrote that "ignorance is bliss" and while it may not always be prudent to think this way, a bit of selective ignorance could be a good thing right now.

Mix things up – If the status quo isn’t benefiting you mentally, mix it up a bit. Venture out. Go somewhere (even locally) you have never been or do something you've never done before. It's cold and snowy right now - a great time to ice fish (quite the adventure for someone who has never ice fished). Summer is around the corner. Have you ever been camping? If you haven’t – give it a try! You get the picture – mix things up a bit as you never know what may bring you joy in your life unless you try, and at this juncture, it might be a perfect time to try.

Be optimistic – recency bias (a memory bias that favours recent events over historic ones) can be very strong and hard to rationalize. This can negatively impact your view of the future – especially when thinking about the past two years. It's important to try and remember that, while the past years might have been challenging, they don’t necessarily foreshadow the future. Stay optimistic, know we have come along away and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Seek help – Many people recognize they need help; others may feel they don’t, and some may feel they need just a bit. Whatever camp you may fall in, it's important to know that help is out there, and more available and accessible than ever before. Many employers and government agencies offer a variety of mental health resources – don’t be afraid to use them.

Things will get better

I know some readers may roll their eyes at this last subheading, but you need to know it is often true. We have come a long way and things will get better in due time. It's time to give yourself a pat on the back for successfully making it this far, as it has been no easy feat. It's also just as important to remind your loved ones of this as well.

The information contained herein has been provided by TD Asset Management Inc. and is for information purposes only. The information has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The information does not provide financial, legal, tax or investment advice. Particular investment, tax, or trading strategies should be evaluated relative to each individual’s objectives and risk tolerance.

Certain statements in this document may contain forward-looking statements (“FLS”) that are predictive in nature and may include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “believes”, “estimates” and similar forward-looking expressions or negative versions thereof. FLS are based on current expectations and projections about future general economic, political and relevant market factors, such as interest and foreign exchange rates, equity and capital markets, the general business environment, assuming no changes to tax or other laws or government regulation or catastrophic events. Expectations and projections about future events are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, which may be unforeseeable. Such expectations and projections may be incorrect in the future. FLS are not guarantees of future performance. Actual events could differ materially from those expressed or implied in any FLS. A number of important factors including those factors set out above can contribute to these digressions. You should avoid placing any reliance on FLS.

TD Asset Management Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

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