Skip to content
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Home

Coping with Stress from COVID-19

May 9, 2022

Written by 
Neha Jayaram, Communications and Marketing Specialist

For many of us, this is week 2 of self-isolation. To protect ourselves and the more vulnerable members of our community, we’re working from home, or taking time off work, staying indoors and only leaving the house for the most essential reasons.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused fear and anxiety across the world. Being isolated adds to an already stressful situation.

According to the CDC People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:​​

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

How To Look Out For Others Mental Health During Self-Isolation:

Checking In:

  • Use Audio or (even better) video call – this meets social needs more than text message
  • Dig deeper: Don’t just ask “are you okay?”, ask how their days have looked, what they’ve been doing, how they feel about the future / present, if they feel safe etc.

How To Add Hope / Help Distract Someone Struggling:

  • Have a “watch party” of a TV show or movie
  • Offer to keep the video stream on of you while cooking / working (helps remind them they’re not alone)
  • Play an online game together (e.g. Words With Friends)
  • Play fun / meaningful things to do together once you’re not self isolated
  • Choose a “sticker” / “emoji” to send to each other to symbolize when you’re thinking about them

It’s easier to suffer in silence in these conditions. Let’s be there for each other x

People with depression and other mental health conditions, may find themselves struggling during this time. Quick reminder to reach out to your friends and family, you never know who is in need of that human connection.

We’ve put together a few tips for coping with the stress of the 2019-nCov outbreak:

  • It’s okay to feel scared, confused and even helpless during a crisis like this. If you live with family, spend quality time with them. Play board games, cook a healthy meal together or any other activity your family enjoys.
  • For those who live alone, video call your friends or family members several times a day. Sometimes just having someone on call while you watch T.V. or cook can lessen the feeling of being alone.
  • Maintain your daily routine. Being bored or stressed can cause you to lose your appetite or even overeat. Maintain a healthy diet, workout at home and get adequate sleep.
  • Don’t use smoke, drink or use other drugs to cope with your feelings. It will only make it worse.
  • Our busy lives usually prevent us from indulging in our hobbies. Use this time to revisit old hobbies or cultivate new ones. Try painting or finish that book you’ve been meaning to read for the longest time.
  • Limit the amount of time you or your family spends watching/listening to media coverage, especially if you find it upsetting.
  • Get the right facts from trusted sources. This will help you correctly assess your risk and allow you to take reasonable precautions. False information can increase fear and serves no purpose.
  • Practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Some free resources you can use are

If you or anyone you know has a mental health condition, please have a plan in place. Contact your counselor or health care worker and ensure you know what to do in case of an emergency or if you need someone to talk to.

Stay home, stay safe. Together we can beat this!