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Stress and Coping During COVID-19

Updated: Apr 14

Self-Care and Stress Management

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has the potential to increase stress and worry, not only because of the fear of becoming ill but also because of the impact it could have on our everyday life, the economy and our sense of connection with others. Here are some practical steps you can take to cope with the stress and improve your well-being.


Increase your sense of safety.


Know the facts by obtaining information from credible sources. Here are some helpful links to gather more information about COVID-19, how to be prepared, prevention and risks, symptoms and treatment, and more.



Good hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading the infection to others.


  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, sleeve, or a tissue, not your hand. Properly dispose of tissues immediately and wash your hands immediately.

  • Avoid touching your face (specifically your eyes, nose or mouth) with unwashed hands.

  • Stay home if you are sick.

  • Avoid contact with others who are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects regularly.

  • Make plans for how to respond if someone in the home becomes ill or requires quarantine.


Social distancing can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Make an effort to keep physical distance between you and others.


  • Avoid non-essential gatherings.

  • Avoid crowded areas or events.

  • Limit contact with people who are at higher risk, such as seniors or older adults, or those in poor health or immunocompromised.

  • Avoid physical contact through common greetings such as handshakes, hugs, or high-fives.

  • Keep a distance of at least 2 meters from others.


Stay connected.


  • Make time to stay connected with loved ones and friends through video calls, talking on the phone, email or text.

  • Seek support from churches, community and support groups through online forums.

Cultivate Calm.


  • Accept that it is normal to feel anxious or stressed, especially when faced with uncertainty.

  • While it is important to stay informed, set limits on how much time you spend watching the news or checking social media feeds to give your mind breaks.

  • Take time to meditate. The relaxation response from meditating helps lower blood pressure, improves heart rate and brain waves, and reduces muscle tension.

  • Practice slow deep breathing and progressive relaxation. Deep Diaphragmatic breathing can lower your blood pressure and heart rate and lower the harmful effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) on your body, and make it easier to sleep.

  • Make time for light exercise - getting out in the fresh air for a walk can boost your mood and reduce anxiety.

  • Embrace positive calming activities, such as gardening, painting, listening to quiet music, reading, or spending time in nature.


Nurture hope and resilience.

  • Reflect on the positives and on the things you are grateful for.

  • Focus on what you can accomplish and control. Celebrate small wins.

  • Reflect on times where you overcame adversity; identify your strengths, skills and abilities.

  • Look for opportunities to practice self-compassion; be kind and patient with yourself.

  • Draw upon your faith or spirituality, those who inspire you.


If you are struggling to cope, your Employee and Family Assistance Program is here to help. Professional counsellors are available by phone 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Contact EFAP, we're here to help. Sources:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/COVID_managing_stress.asp


Founded in 1974, we are a national provider of employee assistance programs (EAP), employee and family assistance programs (EFAP), workplace health & wellness solutions.

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