As level red restrictions mean less human interaction, one expert is sharing advice on staying mentally healthy during this time.

Sean Miller is the Executive Director at Peer Connections Manitoba, formerly Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, and works with people who battle mental illness daily. 

However, more and more people are experiencing negative emotions throughout this pandemic time, especially since the restriction level elevated to red in the Winnipeg Metro area and now Southern Health as of November 9.

"We're going to be spending more time in the context of a single person or a few people. Certainly, that means that the environment is conducive to feelings of being alone, of fear of the unknown. There's a lot of panic and anxiety around COVID," he says.

Miller offers multiple tips and different things people can actively do to help their mental state.

"The first one I want to talk about is focus. We build the environment we live in through our focus. We're not talking about 'don't focus at all' but rather focus on the things that are most important."

By giving mental space to things that are important in our sphere of influence, our emotions start to change, says Miller. That includes people's faith.

"Instead of telling God how big the problem is, remind the problem how big your God is. That is a shift in perspective."

Miller says that this vertical relationship between people and God is a vital starting point. 

"Secondly there's a horizontal relationship. There are recommendations that we distance. With the increase of cases and risk of infection, it results in us not being socially active. It's so important to focus on connection, despite this restriction."

Miller says it can be as simple as a phone call, a text, emailing someone, or even writing a letter.

"Getting adequate sleep and eating a healthy diet is important," he says, as foods that have a high sugar content and are processed can affect people's mood in a negative way.

"Stay active. You want to be moving your body. Our lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating toxins in our body so we need to move and stir those waters," says Miller.

Staying physically active also produces endorphins naturally, lifting a person's mood.

"Get outside and get as much sunlight as possible, and supplement with D3."

These things help on a number of different levels, according to Miller, and people's faith is the foundation.

"Meditating on the word of God and getting into the promises really changes the mindset with a response to how the fear may be pushing at you."

If a low mood lasts and turns into a depression that lasts longer than two weeks, Miller says people should reach out for help.