Dr.’s Tips how to manage Anxiety Surrounding the Uncertainty of Coronavirus
Managing our Anxiety Surrounding the Uncertainty of Coronavirus
Take the Anxiety Test
It is only 42 questions like….on a 5 pint scale Are you able to relax (not at all or all the time), and No matter what I do, I can’t get my mind off my problems (or replace this with COVID-19)
Or try the Perceived Stress Scale I have a copy of the scale below (source: https://www.midss.org/content/perceived-stress-scale-pss
Dr Gordon says we can only control two things
1) Our Attitude
2) Our Actions
(Below see article or click to watch video clip of Dr K Gordon, City Line March 18, 2020
If you are in mental health crisis take action and call HERE247 anytime ( 1 844 437 3247 ) or TTY: 1-877-688-5501 https://here247.ca/about-here247/contact-us/
If you need help, but not in crisis: call CMHA reception at 1-844-CMHA-WW3 (264-2993).
However, if need Emergency Medical Services call 911
If you’re feeling anxious or fearful during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. Offering hope and understanding, author Elizabeth Gilbert reflects on how to stay present, accept grief when it comes and trust in the strength of the human spirit. “Resilience is our shared genetic inheritance,” she says. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and head of curation Helen Walters. Recorded April 2, 2020)
Blanck et al.’s (2018) study is important because it shows that there are positive ways for individuals to deal with their anxiety on their own (e.g., outside of a structured intervention).
Manage your attitude. “Attitude” means your basic view of your relationship with panic and anxiety, your judgment of panic, your belief about how you should act in the face of anxiety.
As we approach any task, our attitudes and beliefs influence the degree to which we are willing to try to solve problems, our determination to persist in the face of obstacles, and the amount of time and energy we devote to the endeavour. (Source: https://www.anxieties.com/48/panic-step3
We can all benefit from building upon your repertoire of stress-fighting strategies. A good way to start is:
1) De-Crease your stress with Yoga
Reduce stress as well. Yoga, music, meditation, whatever you need to bring down your stress level. That’s going to help your immune system a great deal. (Q11 https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/ctv-news-20-questions-on-covid-19-with-dr-abdu-sharkawy-1.4862744
2) Help others – it’s Contagious
Do something for the greater good. (Jennifer Moss, CBC Happiness and Well-being Columnist March 26, 2020 ..at 53 minutes – 57 CBC podcast Ontario Morning https://22163.mc.tritondigital.com/CBC_ONTARIO_MORNING_FROM_CBC_RADIO_P/media-session/cc718bfd-b3ce-4b5a-b8bb-f350db1137b5/ontariomorning-mYO81QZT-20200326.mp3
Consider how you can help someone else; while still keeping social distancing:
Helping others will improve your happiness 3.5 times longer than if you did something just for yourself.
- Call a senior, someone that you know is alone or may be struggling. Be sure to call with a smile on your face since science has shown people can feel your more positive energy even via the phone.
- Pick up Groceries for others while you are already out going your shopping.
– Help our Homeless: On Sun March 22, I forwarded a call for help from one of our areas most compassionate community nurses and by that afternoon all this showed up and was distributed to our areas homeless that same night. One week later, I am still receiving items–Thank you to all those who have helped. If you have sleeping bags, blankets. pillows, water bottles, or anything that would help. If you are cleaning your home and have something to give, please contact me
Use technology to help feel less isolated
Live feeds…..some of my musician buddies are doing it.Contact me if you would like to see some live music and unsure how to find it.
Post positive helpful videos.
3) Positive Emotions, Actions and People
Data has shown that when mental health professionals incorporate methods of positive psychology that encourage positive feelings and behavior, it can lead to an increased sense of well-being for certain patients. So how can positive psychology help you? Depression, anxiety, and addictions to alcohol, gambling, drugs, sex and pornography can stem from or contribute to existing feelings of low self-worth or low self-esteem. Studies have found that how you view yourself and feel about yourself can have a big impact on your mental and physical health, as well as how well you relate to others in social interactions and intimate relationships (source: https://novusmindfullife.com/positive-psychology-helps-anxiety-and-depression
Focusing on positive emotions like gratitude. The simple act of making a daily list of three good or positive things that occurred or that you are thankful for can have a powerful impact on your mood and perspective. Over time, the practice can strengthen like a muscle and help to slowly build a more positive outlook on life.
Being positive and looking at the bright side is contagious. So post positive things on your social media feeds.
Surround yourself virtually with positive happy people. It is said if you have happy friend and neighbour, it increases your happiness levels. If have happy sibling it increase your happiness by 14%.
Anxiety is quite contagious; however, you have the power to decrease it.
4) Get your information from trusted, credible sources and use common sense
COVID-19 Reliable Updates
The Region of Waterloo Public Health has a COVID-19 website https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx#
Federal – Public Health Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
In addition, only use latest news sources like CBC radio (listen to their house Dr Lin in the Ontario morning show
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, March 26
Also check out:
Disinfect with Bleach
The bleach is a simple one because it’s still relatively plentiful and available in most places and the solution that I would recommend is about four teaspoons of bleach in a liter of water, put it into a spray bottle like you might use for a Windex. (Question 16)
5) Limit your time with COVID-19 updates
Try limit to max 15 minutes per day or less.
Instead use this down time to do some things you never have time to do, like :
A) Connect with those you typically do not have time to safely. My sixteen year old is going old school and hand writing and mailing letters to one of her schoolmates in Montreal.
B) Spring Clean. Some of my friends and clients are sharing they are spring cleaning. I’m hoping this may hit me too LOL
C) Plant your seeds to get a head start on your veggies or flowers you plant.
D) Cook, Bake and prepare healthy meals and snacks
E) Art or music
There are just so many options
6) Try new self care techniques
During stressful times, we need more self care tools. Keep trying new and old self care techniques.
A good mental Health resource is
7) Learn something new
Take a class or course in something of interest to you
Coursera has free courses you can take on line https://www.coursera.org/
8) Write down what you’re anxious about
What are you most afraid of? What are all the terrible things that could happen? What’s the worst case? Write them all down. Now look at them, and ask yourself what the probability is that any of this would happen? Would it really be the end of the world?
Chances are none of these bad things will come about, and if you’ve written this in a journal with the day’s date, you’ll look back months or years later and smile thinking how everything turned out just fine. Maybe the results were downright amazing. This is a great reference to have for future anxieties.
Finally, when I’ve made this kind of list I hand it over to God to take care of, and then move on and do whatever I have to do next.
When we’re scared or stressed we breathe shallowly. If you feel nervous take 5 (Breath in for 5, breath out for 5. You’ll feel much calmer and also have more mental clarity that will help you with problem-solving and planning.
The combination of mindfulness, breathing and stretching calm the nervous system and help you relax. It also gets you out of your worried monkey mind and into your body, which can be a great relief.
Relax, and rejuvenate with gentle trauma informed therapeutic yoga we Jayne form Innovative Wellness
7:45am yoga every morning via FaceBook VideoChat
11:30am Wednesday yoga via Zoom
10am Friday Family Fun Yoga via Zoom
To join these classes connect with me, Jayne Hembruff, via FaceBook messenger 24 hours in advance. This will allow me to add you to the group.We also offer video classes via FaceTime, Zoom, Google Chat. If you do not have video capabilities, we can also offer audio classes over the phone. Choose what style of class you would like.
11) Exercise regularly
Do some form of exercise every day. Walks are really great for calming an anxious mind and blowing off steam. If I’m feeling really wired, I’ll turn it into a run and sometimes even talk or shout out loud about my worries or frustrations as I pound my feet across the ground. (luckily, I have a place I can go where there usually aren’t too many people around to witness this spectacle) Don’t exercise too close to bedtime, though, as this can make it hard to sleep if you’re already tense.
6:30pm Ballet with Leela Monday & Friday via FaceBook VideoChat
To join these classes connect with me, Jayne Hembruff, via FaceBook messenger 24 hours in advance. This will allow me to add you to the group.
Research has indicated that physical activity is linked to reduced anxiety symptomatology, as well as improved cognitive functioning, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being (Carek, Laibstain, & Carek, 2011)..source https://positivepsychology.com/anxiety-therapy-techniques-worksheets/
A comprehensive review also has indicated that exercise is beneficial for anxiety disorders, including OCD, GAD, and SAD (Baldwin, Anderson, & Nutt et al., 2014).
In addition, exercise has been associated with reduced anxiety symptoms among sedentary patients with medical conditions (Baldwin et al., 2014).
Exercise is especially attractive because it’s cost-effective and may be performed in a variety of ways (e.g., walking, biking, swimming, running, hiking, etc.). While exercise may not reap the same benefits for anxiety patients as compared to CBT or other psychological approaches, it may enhance the impact of such treatment.
12) Seek out positive memories
A great tool is to go back in your mind to times when you felt seriously anxious about a new element of your life. How did things turn out? Chances are everything was just fine, and it’s really useful to remind yourself of this.
Make a happy wall of all your happy memories – when my children were little we had a wall with all the art and certificates they were proud of as well as our family vision board (one bristol board with pictures of all the things we desired int he future). Or if you are more tech savy, make a college or slide show of these hapy positive memories and future vision.
13) Hire a coach or counsellor to help you through
When you’re worried about steps you’re taking forward and the related anxiety, it’s helpful to have an expert sounding board. It’s one of my greatest joys to tell clients that their worries are totally normal and that I have had similar experiences – I love hearing and feeling their relief pouring down the phone line.
Here in KW
If you are in mental health crisis call HERE247 anytime ( 1 844 437 3247 ) or TTY: 1-877-688-5501 https://here247.ca/about-here247/contact-us/
If you need help, but not in crisis: call CMHA reception at 1-844-CMHA-WW3 (264-2993).
However, if need Emergency Medical Services call 911
In addition, you can call:
- your EAP (Employee Assistant Program), if you have one to get immediate help
- Private Counselling and Psychotherapies. I have co-facilitated grief groups with https://www.laurieblaikie.com/
- Use online resource like
- Canadian Mental Health https://cmhaww.ca/covid19/
- Big White Wall https://www.bigwhitewall.com/about-us/?lang=en-ca
- Parents for Children’s Mental Health Resource Guide http://www.pcmh.ca/waterloo_resourceguide
- Parents Support Group http://www.apsgo.ca/
mental wellness network https://www.waystomentalwellbeing.com/support-services
- Waterloo Region Suicide preventions council created the below or click to see their document Maintaining Mental Wellness during COVID-19
Support Services Offered Online Or By Phone – Local (Waterloo Region)
If you are in crisis, please call Here 24/7. Here 24/7 is continuing to provide phone support including crisis support for individuals. Call them at 1-844-437-3247
If you are not in crisis but are looking for support, the following local service agencies have adjusted to providing services via telephone or online sessions.
CMHA Waterloo Wellington – View their post here outlining how to access their support based on your need, and for some tips they share on managing anxiety related to COVID-19.
Self Help and Peer Support – Self Help & Peer Support (a program of CMHA) will be providing telephone based support only. View their update here for information on how to access telephone based support at the various locations.
Front Door: Access to Child and Youth Mental Health Services – While the Front Door location is currently closed to the public, they are encouraging people who need child or youth mental health support to call to make a telephone or video appointment. Please contact them at (519) 749-2932, and press “1“ to speak to a staff.
Carizon – Carizon is offering ongoing counselling and support to individuals and families through telephone and video conferencing at no cost until April 5th. Please call (519) 743-6333 to book a counselling appointment. View their full COVID-19 response on their news page here.
Family Counselling Centre Cambridge and North Dumfries – FCCCND is providing phone counselling sessions currently. New clients can call the agency number (519) 621-5090 and leave a message. They are offering brief, solution-focused, subsidized (free) sessions.
Interfaith Counselling Centre – ICC is providing counselling via phone or video until April 5th at no cost. To book your session, contact them at (519) 662-3092. Office hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
Shalom Counselling Services – Shalom is offering ongoing counselling support by telephone. Contact their office during their regular service hours (Monday-Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am-4pm) by calling (519) 886-9690 to inquire or book an appointment.
Woolwich Counselling Centre – WCC is offering no-cost telephone counselling appointments. If you are interested in counselling, please call the office at (519) 669-8651 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Provincial And/Or National Supports
- Crisis Services Canada (24/7) – 1-833-456-4566
- Trans Lifeline (10am-4am EST) – 1-877-330-6366
- Hope for Wellness Indigenous Help Line (24/7) – 1-855-242-3310
- Boots on the Ground Peer Support for First Responders (24/7) – 1-833-677-2668
- ONTX Ontario Online & Text Crisis Services (available 2pm-2am EST) – Text 258258
- Crisis Services Canada (available 4pm-12am EST) – Text ‘START’ to 45645
- ONTX Ontario Online & Text Crisis Services (available 2pm-2am EST) – dcontario.org/ontx.html
- Hope for Wellness Indigenous Online Chat Counselling (24/7) – hopeforwellness.ca
*NEW* Ontario COVID-19 Mental Health Network – A network on liscenced psychotherapists facilitating free mental health services via telephone for Ontario COVID-19 healthcare providers on the frontlines. To request support through this network, visit covid19therapists.com and click the ‘request support’ button.
Big White Wall – Big White Wall is an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programs, creative outlets, and a community that cares. Visit bigwhitewall.ca to sign up.
Bounce Back Ontario – BounceBack® is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness. Visit bouncebackontario.ca and submit an online form.
Woebot App – Woebot is an artificially intelligent chatbot delivered through a smartphone app that helps individuals monitor their mood and learn about themselves. It uses evidence-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) techniques to equip users with the tools they need and has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety and depression in just two weeks. Woebot is not a therapist and is not intended to replace in-person treatment. It is a tool to use alongside therapy sessions and post therapy support. Anyone can download the app for free at woebot.page.link/ontario.
- Kids Help Phone
- LGBTQ YouthLine (Sunday to Friday 4pm-9:30pm ET)
- Good2Talk Post-Secondary Student Line
- WES for Youth Online Counselling: wesforyouth.ca
Resources Providing Tips, Suggestions, Or Advice For Staying Well During COVID-19
- CMHA Waterloo Wellington: Tips on how to manage your mental health during COVID-19
- CMHA British Columbia: Pandemic pushing your anxiety buttons?
- CMHA Ontario: CMHA offers tips to support mental health amid concerns of COVID-19 pandemic
CMHA Ontario: Understanding social distancing and the importance of social connection
- Mental Health Commission of Canada: COVID-19 mental well-being
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty
- CMHA National: 6 tips to respond to employee anxiety about COVID-19
- Carizon: Talking to Children & Youth about COVID-19
- Lutherwood: Talking to your kids about COVID-19
- Kids Help Phone: Supporting the young person in your life during COVID-19
- The Dougy Centre: Supporting grieving children and teens during the COVID-19 global health crisis *NOTE this is a U.S resource*.
14) Worksheets that may be helpful to reduce anxiety
There are numerous worksheets available online that may be useful for reducing anxiety. Here are several examples:
- The Anxiety Workbook: A 7-Week Plan to Overcome Anxiety, Stop Worrying, and End Panic (Cuncic, 2017)
- Jane’s Worry Elephant: A Self-help Guide for Kids with Anxiety (Miller, 2019)
- The Worry Workbook for Kids: Helping Children to Overcome Anxiety and the Fear of Uncertainty (An Instant Help Book for Parents & Kids; Khanna & Ledley, 2018)
- Conquer Anxiety Workbook for Teens: Find Peace from Worry, Panic, Fear, and Phobias (Chansard, 2019)
- The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal: A Creative Way to Stop Freaking Out (Peterson, 2019)
- The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution (Clark & Beck, 2011)
- The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Workbook: A Comprehensive CBT Guide for Coping with Uncertainty, Worry, and Fear (Robichaud & Dugas, 2015)
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (Bourne, 2015)
- Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life (Sweeney, 2018)
Dr. Karyn Gordon shares her tips to stay clearheaded during times of uncertainty
During this time is a great example of how to manage anxiety in a situation that’s really uncertain. The number one thing I want people to focus on is that panic and anxiety are an emotion, we cannot control emotions. So, the more we focus on these anxieties the more it expands. It is good to acknowledged the feeling but don’t stay there because the more you stay there it actually makes it worse. You can acknowledge the fear and anxiety, but then lets shift our focus to the two things we can control.
We can control 1) attitude and 2) actions, and this is where we put our focus. We accept what we can not control which is the fact that it’s here and focus on what we can control. When we focus on those two things then thats when we all of a sudden get more calm.
The Unknown Defined
Quarantine is a separation and restricting the movement of people who are exposed to any kind of contagious disease to see if they become sick.
Social Distancing remaining out of places where people meet or gather on mass. Remaining a distance of 6 feet to two meters from others.
In situations like these the kids will mirror the emotion of their parents. If parents are panicking, kids will be panicking. If parents focus on their attitude and actions because those are the two things that we can control the kids will be okay. Plans reduce anxiety and the more that we can do as parents the kids will sense it.
If above link does not work, try https://www.cityline.tv/2020/03/18/anxiety-fear-surrounding-coronavirus/
Innovative Wellness Virtual Classes
During this unprecedented time of social distancing and isolation, all we can control is our attitude and actions.
De-stress, stretch, strengthen and have some fun with us.
Since 2006, I have taught yoga full time and specialize working with people of all ages who are struggling with their mental and physical wellness.
Since March 16, we have been delivering private classes via phone, FaceTime, Zoom, GoogleChat, FaceBook VideoChat.
To set up a virtual class just Contact Us
Request the style of class that suits your needs the best:
- Chair Yoga
- Back Care Basics
- Ballet Class with Leela who is home from professional Ballet School
- Family Yoga – have some fun with your kids
- Foot Care and Foot Strengthening
- Relax, Rejuvenate & Restore
- Stiff Bodies
- Yoga & Cardio Blast
In addition, i have posted some yoga videos on FaceBook in a group called Innovative Wellness Yoga Live Stream. http://Innovative Wellness Yoga Live Stream
Our Current Virtual Classes:
7:45am yoga weekdays
Friday 10am Family Fun
Relax & Rejuvenate with a gentle therapeutic yoga
6:30pm Ballet with Leela Monday & Friday
To join these classes connect with me (Jayne Hembruff) via FaceBook messenger 24 hours ahead, this will allow me to add you to the group
Please keep checking this website for Schedule Updates
Any questions Contact Us
Perceived Stress Scale – PSS-14
The questions in this scale ask you about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. In each case, you will be asked to indicate your response by placing an “X” over the circle representing HOW OFTEN you felt or thought a certain way. Although some of the questions are similar, there are differences between them and you should treat each one as a separate question. The best approach is to answer fairly quickly. That is, don’t try to count up the number of times you felt a particular way, but rather indicate the alternative that seems like a reasonable estimate.
Scale: 0 = Never; 1 = Almost Never; 2 = Sometimes; 3 = Fairly often; 4 = Very often
- In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
- In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?
- In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and “stressed”?
- In the last month, how often have you dealt successfully with day to day problems and annoyances?
- In the last month, how often have you felt that you were effectively coping with important changes that were occurring in your life?
- In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?
- In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way?
- In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?
- In the last month, how often have you been able to control irritations in your life?
- In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?
- In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that happened that were outside of your control?
- In the last month, how often have you found yourself thinking about things that you have to accomplish?
- In the last month, how often have you been able to control the way you spend your time?
- In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?PSS ScoringPSS-10 scores are obtained by reversing the scores on the four positive items, e.g., 0=4, 1=3, 2=2, etc. and then summing across all 10 items. Items 4,5, 7, and 8 are the positively stated items.PSS-4 scores are obtained by reverse coding items # 2 and 3.PSS-14 scores are obtained by reversing the scores on the seven positive items, e.g., 0=4, 1=3, 2=2, etc., and then summing across all 14 items. Items 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 13 are the positively stated items.
Purpose: To assess the degree to which people perceive their lives as stressful. High levels of stress are associated with poor self-reported health, elevated blood pressure, depression, and susceptibility to infection.
Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385-396.
Any questions Contact Us