The information provided on this webpage is for reference only. It is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of organizations, news sources, policies or political parties, or as a comprehensive resource list.
Coping with Stress and Anxiety Related to COVID-19
We know that stress and anxiety may be heightened due to fears about COVID-19, disruptions to normal routine, financial stressors, and the day-to-day uncertainty about what will happen. The following resources provide information and suggestions about how to help manage stress and anxiety as we work together to pull through the current crisis. It is not a replacement for professional mental health assessment and support.
When to Seek Additional Mental Health Support
If you are not able to function normally (e.g., not able to get out of bed, complete everyday tasks, or look after your children, etc.), you are experiencing persistent low mood, thoughts about hurting yourself or others, or other mental health problems, consider seeking professional help, such as those below.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact the following mental health crisis lines 24/7 for support: Reach Out at 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023 (for adults 18 years and older). You can also visit their website at www.reachout247.ca to access the web chat service; and for children and youth 0-18 years of age, the Crisis and Intake Team at 519-433-0334. If you need emergency mental health services, please call 911 or visit the Emergency Department.
Resources for Youth and Adults
- Coping with Stress During the 2019-nCoV Outbreak (WHO)
- Tips on Coping During COVID-19 (Waterloo CBT clinic)
- Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty (available in multiple languages; Dr. M. Whalley & Dr. H. Kaur)
- COVID-19: Balancing Public Health and Mental Health (Anxiety Canada)
- COVID-19 and Anxiety (heretohelp)
- Mental health and the COVID-19 Pandemic (CAMH)
- A Practical Evidence-Based Self-Help Program for COVID-19 Related Worry and Anxiety (Valley Centre for Counselling; free, 6-session program)
- Tolerance for Uncertainty: A COVID-19 Workbook. A free, downloadable workbook with strategies to cope with the anxiety and uncertainty related to the COVID outbreak (Bay Psychology)
- Tip sheet for Managing Coronavirus Concerns for People Who Have OCD (Shala Nicely)
- COVID-19: Practical Cognitive Behavioural Strategies to Manage your Mental Health (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)
- Finding Hope and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)
- Simple Ways of Finding Happiness in Challenging Times (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)
- Healthy Sleep Tips (Sleepfoundation.org)
Resources for Children
- Helping Children Cope with Stress During the 2019-nCoV Outbreak (WHO)
- COVID-19 Learning Hub (SickKids and AboutKidsHealth)
- 7 Ways to Help Kids Cope with Coronavirus (COVID-19) Anxiety (Children’s Hospital of Orange County)
- Unsure of How to Talk to your Child about COVID-19? Here are Some Helpful Tips (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)
- Child Life Specialists from Children’s Hospital have created a list of resources to help talk to children about COVID-19 as well as activities to engage kids at home or in hospital. Read through the online tips and resources.
Ways to Cope While Physically Distancing or Quarantined
- Keeping Busy During a Self-Quarantine (Newton-Wellesley Hospital)
- COVID-19: Ways to Stay Social Despite the Distance (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)
- Quarantined and Bored? 65 Ways to Pass the Time in COVID-19 Isolation (J. MacLellan, Burnaby Now)
- Staying Busy During a COVID-19 Quarantine (Children’s Wisconsin)
- Working and Learning from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak (healthychildren.org)
- Getting Children Outside While Social Distancing for COVID-19 (healthychildren.org)
- Positive Parenting & COVID-19: 10 Tips to Help Keep the Calm at Home (healthychildren.org)
- Tips for Coping with a New Baby During COVID-19 (healthychildren.org)
Coping with Grief/Bereavement
If you and your family are coping with the loss of a loved one, the resources below may be of assistance. Practical information you might need to make arrangements are also provided to help you in this difficult time.
Grieving has no time limit and varies from person to person. These are some reactions that are normal and can be healthy to express.
- Intense Sadness
Usually these reactions are a normal part of grieving; however, if you are concerned, seek medical advice.
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach Upset
- Chest pain/pressure
- Difficulty eating/sleeping
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty with concentration
- Feeling of loss of control of your life
- Asking “why”?
- Lack of interest in life
- Dreams and thoughts of the deceased
- Regrets and “if only’s”
How to Cope
It is important to take care of yourself. These suggestions may help you cope with the physical and emotional reactions following a death.
- Connect with family and friends virtually or over the phone.
- Tell friends and family how they can help.
- Take time for rest and relaxation. Try to maintain a regular schedule that allows for rest and sleep.
- Eat healthy meals or snacks. Try to limit sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Exercise is one of the best ways of reducing stress. Try to build in some regular exercise at home or take a walk.
- Take your time in making changes and major decisions.
- Sedatives and sleeping pills only delay the grieving process. Contact your family doctor if you are having prolonged difficulty with sleep.
Resources for coping with grief
- Canadian Virtual Hospice
- What’s your Grief?
- The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children & Families
- Helping Grieving Children
- Talking with Kids & Teens About Dying and Death
- Other online resources
- Agencies that provide grief support
Assistance with Basic Needs
If you need assistance with basic needs, such as food, shelter, income or employment support, etc., this resource lists services that aid individuals and families when they are experiencing financial hardship.
- Help Yourself Through Hard Times 2020 (Information London)