Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Managing Your Stress

You and your family

Talking about what might happen and what actions can be taken may help families cope with the effects of the pandemic.

  • Be clear about priorities. The health and safety of your family, friends and neighbours comes first.
  • Remind each other that strong feelings are normal under the circumstances.
  • Acknowledge that you’re all feeling stress and talk about how it may affect your relationships.
  • Let each other know everyone’s doing a good job in a difficult situation.
  • Continue to laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

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Learn the common signs of stress and think about how you usually deal with it.

Signs can range from headaches, muscle tension, sleeplessness and trouble concentrating, to irritability, anger, anxiety and sadness. Everyone has resources that can help them cope with stress.

It’s important to remember what resources you can count on, including:

  • family, friends, connection with others
  • spirituality, faith
  • awareness of own values
  • sense of purpose
  • exercise, leisure, creative activities
  • ability to help others
  • initiative to plan and prepare for future events/changes
  • acknowledgement of good feelings, not just negative ones
  • awareness of the world around you

When you’re feeling stressed, take regular breaks and relax. Use relaxation techniques that help you slow down, stay calm and de-stress.
An important stress indicator is shallow, fast breathing. Take slow, deep breaths (from your stomach) and focus on calming your breaths.

  • Go for walks, stretch your muscles. Any kind of exercise is good.
  • Eat healthy food and eat regularly. Good nutrition is key to managing stress.
  • Keep to a regular sleep routine.
  • Take regular breaks from electronic devices.
  • Try to focus on the positive and show compassion for yourself and others.

  • Self-awareness is important and you can monitor your moods and attitudes at different times of the day.
  • Make a point to stop and check in with yourself, often, and make sure you are doing things that support a healthy body, mind and spirit.

  • Keep on top of current news but don’t spend the whole day tuned into media broadcasts.
  • Try and keep as close to your normal daily routines as possible and only check the news occasionally. (no more than once a day is best for most people).  
  • Obtain your health information from reliable sources only (e.g., Health Canada).

Common thoughts people of any age may have during pandemics, such as COVID-19 include:

I must be losing it.
What you are feeling is a common reaction to an unusual, pandemic situation.

I've got this under control. I don't need help.
What you are feeling is a common reaction to an unusual, pandemic situation.

No one else understands.
It’s true that your feelings and experiences are unique to you. But other people are going through this, just like you are. Everyone has a different way to make sense of what is happening during a pandemic.

Nothing will ever be the same.
While some things are changed forever, most things in your daily life will return to normal in time.

If one more person crosses me, I’m going to snap!
It’s normal to feel irritable, angry and frustrated when you’re in stressful situations. Be patient with others and yourself.

I should have... I could have... If only I had...
People often think that bad things happen because they did or didn’t do something. This isn’t true! No one person can control the effects of a pandemic, such as COVID-19.

Need Help Now? Contact a Crisis Line.