Calm in Chaos

By Maureen Pollard,

Emotional Health Editor


Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered

social worker with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario. 


The world is a changing place. Right now, as communities adapt to the restrictions needed to slow the spread of covid-19, it can feel chaotic, uncertain and even frightening. It’s hard to know what will happen next, and how people will react. Still, there are many to work to keep your balance and stay calm in the midst of challenging times.

Keep a routine.

Get up at a consistent time. Decide on some activities you will do daily, and maybe some activities you will do only on weekdays, so weekends still feel like a rest. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule, as part of this daily routine.

Acknowledge your feelings.

Everyone has a full range of emotions, and during times like this, when tension is high, it can be hard to feel like you’ll be able to settle down. It can help to cry and release some of the pressure. Talk with someone you trust, or write about it in a journal. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly to help feel calmer.

Keep your perspective.

The world has been through difficult times before, and those times have passed. This will pass, too. Each day, focus  on something you are grateful for. It might be a family member or friend, or something about your life that makes you feel stronger. Make laughter an important part of your day, whether that is sharing jokes or watching funny movies. Laughter helps release pressure and that can affect how we see the situation we’re facing.

Take time to do things you enjoy.

Listen to music, draw, colour or paint. Read, write stories or keep a journal. Creative activities can channel nervous energy and help you feel productive.  Remember, everyone is different and there are many things that can be considered creative, from online gaming, to chess, to paper airplanes. The key is to choose something you enjoy. Sharing your art online can help you feel connected with others, too. Move your body – dance, walk around your house or stretch to relieve tension and stress. 

Use your senses to help you feel calm.

Take a warm bath or a hot shower. Make a cup of tea, or hot chocolate or broth and sip it slowly. Enjoy the scent and the warmth. Sit comfortably and feel your feet connect with the ground, feel the seat under you. 

When everything is changing around you and things seem unpredictable, taking steps to control what you can will help you cope. Take it one day at a time and choose activities that help you feel cool, calm and collected as the difficult times pass.