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Coping with the Stress of COVID 19

By Sarah Dale, MSc., RP

Individual, Couple, and Sex Therapist

East Toronto Therapy

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to our everyday lives, and it remains uncertain when we will be able to go back to normal and what that will look like. We’re having to isolate ourselves from our family and friends, and refrain from many activities that bring us structure and joy. It can be difficult to adapt to this new reality, especially when we are surrounded by news and media that highlights the rising numbers of infections. It is important to remind ourselves that this is happening to all of us, and that it is okay to feel stressed and worried—these are normal responses to a stressful situation.

To cope with stress, it may be helpful to limit the amount of news you listen to about the pandemic to once or twice per day and take breaks from screen-time throughout the day. Give yourself time and space to breathe, meditate, eat nutritious meals, and exercise in a way that maintains physical distancing. If you’re able to get outside, even for a few moments each day, this can have a big impact on mood. This may also be the perfect time to find a new hobby or interest. While we need to remain physically isolated, we can still find ways to connect with friends and loved ones, by email, text, phone or video.  Taking time each day to tune in to what you’re grateful for, even in the middle of these challenging times, can help provide balance to the negative news we hear each day.

While it is normal to be affected by the disruption caused by COVID 19, some people may experience intense emotions during this time that are difficult to manage. Signs may include worsening mental health, changes in sleep and appetite, difficulty concentrating on tasks, and increased use of drugs or alcohol. A trained psychotherapist can support you through intense emotions, and help you work through any worries and fears you may have. Psychotherapy can help address any underlying issues and external factors that might be contributing to your stress. Using evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a psychotherapist can help you identify and change unhealthy ways of thinking that may be influencing how you are feeling, and help you develop healthy coping strategies. The therapists at East Toronto Therapy are trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches, including CBT, that can help individuals through these difficult times. East Toronto Therapy has recently switched to online video sessions so that services remain accessible. Research has shown that online video sessions are as effective as in person sessions in terms of building rapport between client and therapist, as well as therapeutic outcomes.

For more information, visit East Toronto Therapy!