Minding Your Mental Health

Fear and anxiety during a stressful period can be overwhelming and can cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone Reacts Differently to Stressful Situations

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Feeling irritable or upset.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Taking care of yourself is vital to managing your stress during difficult times

Ways to Support Yourself

  • It’s normal to feel anxious during stressful events. Try not to avoid, ignore or suppress anxious thoughts. Instead, be aware of your anxiety and accept that you’re feeling anxious in this situation. Try to keep things in perspective; notice and challenge your thoughts that may be extreme or unhelpful.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Seek information from reliable news sources only. Limit checking in on the latest news to short, defined periods to stay informed. Appropriate information consumption may be calming and can lessen the sense of danger.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Take the recommended precautions as outlined by Health Canada and other credible health agencies. Remain focused on the factors within your control, such as washing hands, covering your mouth during coughs and sneezes, avoiding non-essential travel, etc.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some activities you enjoy that you may otherwise not have as much time for, like reading, baking, crafts, or your favorite hobby.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. If you are staying home, use FaceTime, Skype, or other online ways to stay in touch with friends and loved ones.

Reach Out

If you notice that your stress level is interfering with your ability to function normally, or you are experiencing significant emotional distress, you may reach out for additional support by contacting any of these services:

Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region613-238-3311
Mental Health Crisis Line613-722-6914
Youth Services Bureau 24/7 Crisis Line613-260-2360  or  1-877-377-7775
Parents Lifeline of Eastern Ontario (PLEO)613-321-3211
ConnexOntario (substance use and problem gambling)1-866-531-2600

If you or someone you love is in crisis and/or at risk of imminent harm, contact 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room.

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