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Stress-Busters & Anti-Anxiety Actions

By Maureen Pollard,

Emotional Health Editor

Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered

social worker with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario. 

Trying to cope in the midst of a global pandemic isn't easy, and it is completely understandable to be feeling stressed and anxious right now! 


If you are struggling with stress and anxiety, try to practice something from this list of coping strategies every day. Find the ones that make you feel competent and confident as you face your worries. You’ve got this!

  1. Accept that you can’t control everything. Don’t let your mind get caught up in the things that are beyond control. Instead, focus on what you can control– things like what time you wake up and what activities make up your daily routine.

  2. Limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Eat balanced meals and get enough sleep. Taking care of your body also helps take care of your mind.

  3. Make movement a regular part of your day. Physical activity can discharge tension, it releases feel good hormones and can help you sleep better.

  4. Take deep breaths. Exhale long and slow. Chew gum. Count. You can count forward, or if that doesn’t work to distract you from your worries, count backward or count by sevens.

  5. Connect with family or friends who understand you and help you talk about your feelings. If you’re struggling to find someone to talk to, reach out to a professional. Kids Help Phone is always available. Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868 or visit the website for live chat

  6. Watch a funny movie or tv show. Search for funny jokes or videos. A good laugh really helps us feel better, physically and mentally.

  7. Practice gratitude for the good things in your life. What makes you happy? What is going well? What are you lucky to have in your life?

  8. Write your worries out – use note paper, an app or your computer. When you’ve written them all out, shred the paper or delete the file. Release those feelings and make space in your mind for more positive thoughts.

  9. Volunteer to assist someone else. When you lend a hand it takes your mind off your own stress for a little while and you’ll feel good about being helpful.

  10. Do your best with whatever circumstances you find yourself facing. Even when you feel like your best is not very good, keep trying and it will get better. No matter what is happening around you, you will get through it one breath at a time.


When you need more help: while it is completely normal to be feeling anxious right now, if you feel overwhelmed and need extra help and support, here are some places to start - as mentioned in the article above, Kids Help Phone is available for chat or text.  We have links specific to COVID-19 mental health in our Resources section here and you can also contact your family doctor, a psychologist or therapist.  Many organizations are also offering counselling by video chat, text and phone during the COVID-19 crisis.