Managing Stress in High Stress Times


In a time where everything is uncertain, stress becomes abundant and shared by all.


The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting each one of us in some way. There is heightened awareness, concern, anxiety and fear. Loss of routine or a job, and isolation can lead to depression. A sense of loss or feeling like you have no control is common. We may find that we are not coping with problems as well as we usually do.


This is normal. This is okay. It is important to acknowledge that the feelings you have are real, to validate them, and – most important- to try to lessen the intensity of them.

Once you become aware of your feelings, what can you do to address them?


1.     Check in with yourself to see how these thoughts are affecting your body. Are your shoulders hunched? Is your jaw clenched? Take a second to shake your body free, to smile.


2.     Notice which thoughts keep coming up. Explore these thoughts, try to find out where they are stemming from. It can help to talk to someone about them, write them out, or say them out loud to yourself – these options all can offer a new perspective to what you’re thinking. This also helps to get them out of your head and maybe out of your system!


3.     Reframe your thoughts. Reframing thoughts helps to empower us and gives us back control in our situation. This changes the stress from a THREAT into a CHALLENGE. A challenge is an obstacle that we can confront and overcome. For example: taking “I am being forced to stay at home, I can’t do what I am used to doing, my schedule is disrupted” and turning it into “I am staying at home to reduce the chance of spreading the virus, to do my part to keep my family and community safe, each day that I practice this, I help.”


4.     Breathe. Deeply. Breathe love in, breathe love out. Set a timer to go off every hour and spend 2 minutes taking deep breaths. Our sympathetic nervous system is activated during times of stress – breathing deeply activates our parasympathetic state, allowing for rest.


5.     Nourish yourself. In any and every way you can. Eat good food. Take care of yourself. Stretch, allow for movement, tell yourself nice things. Do things that make you feel good.


6.     Practice positivity. My favourite way to do this is through gratitude journaling. Every morning, before bed, or any chance you can, write down 2-5 things that you are grateful for. This works to bring your thinking from automatic negative, to more positive. It also allows for reflection on your day and your situation.


7.     Reflect. We are in weird times. Whether you’re working from home, not working, educating and entertaining young ones, focusing on yourself – our lives have been shaken up. Reflect on how you’re feeling, mentally, physically, emotionally. Reflect on how the world feels. Reflect on anything that comes up. Again, I always recommend a journal for this, but you can do this through any measure: talking outloud, talking to others, through painting, singing, drawing, photography, or try making a collage.


Above all - Be kind to yourself and to others. This is new territory for all of us, and we are all facing different challenges. Do your best to remove any pressure you may have put on yourself, and try to stay away from comparing situations. Remember that we are all in this together.





I will be sharing a guided meditation that I use frequently to help with grounding and obtaining a parasympathetic state – stay tuned! I will also soon share which nutrients are important in times of stress, some favourite recipes, and more helpful tips to address our mental health during these times!