• Stress related to COVID-19


    It is understandable to have concerns and fears about how we could be affected by COVID-19. We can’t expect to feel fully in control at such times. But nor do we need to become stuck in feelings of fear or helplessness. Most importantly, we can appreciate that there are things we can do to at least improve the situation.

    Keep things in perspective

    When we are stressed we can get caught in worst case scenarios.  Continue to notice how am I thinking about things:

    • Am I getting ahead of myself
    • Am I anticipating the worst
    • Am I underestimating my ability or others’ abilities to cope

    Encourage yourself to bring awareness back to the current situation, appreciate the impact of what you are doing while focusing on what you can do.  Try to let go of the things you cannot control (e.g., other peoples’ actions and choices, how long this will last). Be mindful of noticing your resilience and others.

    Tune into how you are feeling

    When we are exposed to distress and suffering it can start to impact on how we feel towards ourselves and others.

    Take time to practice gratitude, look for things we can appreciate in ourselves, others and our environment, no matter how small. Limit your exposure to hardship, in personal time consider reading or watching something light, limit how much media you are exposed too. Notice the positive things you and others are doing.  Practice compassion towards suffering, appreciate how uncertainty and loss activates our threat response (i.e., anxiety, anger, disconnection) and continue to implement appropriate boundaries.

    For those working in jobs where you are seeing and hearing suffering from others, it is particularly important to be aware of vicarious trauma and burnout.  Warning signs include: physical exhaustion, feeling useless or emotionally detached or making mistakes.

    If you are noticing these signs talk with a colleague about how you are feeling. 

    Practice self-care

    When we experience high and ongoing demands it can be challenging to maintain self-care behaviours.  Bring awareness to your emotional and physical needs.

    • Maintain social connectedness
    • Foster supportive networks
    • Make time for things you enjoy, no matter how small
    • Make time for exercise
    • Practice relaxation, meditation, mindfulness to give your body a chance to settle and re-adjust to a calm state
    • Avoid the use of alcohol and drugs as a means of coping

    You are not alone

    Be mindful that you are not alone.  We are all adapting to our new way of being.  Be mindful that with suffering there are also opportunities for ongoing learnings that perhaps we cannot appreciate currently.  I wonder in time what we will learn from our current experiences as individuals, families, friends, professionals and a community.