The coronavirus (COVID‑19) pandemic is a singular, unprecedented reality that no one is prepared to cope with for a lengthy period of time. It can affect people physically, psychologically and socially. In this kind of context, it is quite normal to experience a lack of balance in life and it can become harder to manage our thoughts, emotions, behaviour and interpersonal relations.
Various types of behaviour can, however, improve things and make a difference in the lives of others; for example, maintaining healthy relationships, listening to the needs of friends, family and colleagues and denouncing violence when we become aware of it.
This Web page offers various ways that can improve your emotional and psychosocial well-being.
Take care of yourself
- Trust in your abilities.
- Focus on your feelings, emotions and reactions and empower yourself to express them to someone you trust or by writing them down or being physically active.
- Do physical activities that enable you to relieve stress and eliminate tension.
- Limit time spent on stress factors. For example, while it is vital to be adequately informed, reduce the amount of time you spend searching for information about COVID-19 and its consequences. Overexposure may induce more stress, anxiety or depression.
- Enjoy the little pleasures of life like listening to music, reading or taking a warm bath.
- Remember the winning strategies you used in the past to get through difficult times, and rely on your personal strengths.
- Stake out boundaries (for example, decline a non-essential task that you really do not want to perform).
- Learn to delegate and accept help from others (for example, ask your children to do the dishes).
- Participate in mutual assistance and solidarity efforts while respecting your own personal limits and public health directives. Helping others will improve your own well-being, too.
- If you live close to nature, take walks and breathe deeply and peacefully.
- When you are going through difficult times, take advantage of the resources provided by organizations that provide telephone or online crisis counselling. It can help you to manage your emotions and develop new strategies. The links in the Help and resources section may be useful.
Read Stress, anxiety and depression associated with the coronavirus COVID-19 disease for other solutions.
Take care of children and adolescents
- Keep to a routine. Routines and a stable family environment help preserve the feeling of security, both for your children and yourself.
- Listen. Let your children express their feelings in their own words or in play. Listen to their worries and their need to be reassured. Answer with kindness and shower them with even more love and attention.
- Be honest and use age-appropriate, simple words when explaining the situation. Answer their questions honestly and always admit it when you don’t know the answers.
- Allow your children to maintain virtual links to their friends and other family members.
- Take good care of yourself. Your children experience events through your eyes. Focus on your feelings, emotions and reactions. If you feel the need, take a few minutes to calm down in a separate room.
The following publications may help you find other solutions:
Take good care of your friends and relatives
- Never forget that they are in the same boat as you.
- Focus on the signs of impatience and anguish in others. Take the time you need to ask what’s wrong and understand their feelings.
- Provide support to others, but always comply with physical distancing measures. Helping others in hard times helps both the receiver of support, and the giver.
Choose healthy living habits
- Try your best to keep to a routine for meals, rest, sleep and the other activities of daily life.
- Take the time you need to eat well.
- Go to bed at a time that lets you sleep enough.
- Exercise regularly while obeying social distancing rules.
- Reduce your consumption of stimulants like coffee, tea, chocolates, soft drinks, and energy beverages.
- Drink lots of water.
- Lower or eliminate your use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, and avoid games of chance.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for your daily life such as feeling anxious about the economic slowdown, experiencing isolation, loneliness and the disruption of your normal routine, keeping more alcohol and cannabis in the house (over and above your usual supplies) may lead to a higher level of consumption and more online gambling. If you have questions about alcohol and drug consumption or games of chance, or if they are causing you problems, feel free to discuss it with a trusted friend or health professional. Refer to the Help and resources section.
Keep moving, even inside the home
- Choose physical activities on the basis of your capabilities. There is more than one way to move around!
- Set up a space for exercising in the home and if possible, move furniture around to make more room.
- Make exercise part of your daily routine.
- Do long distance activities with your friends by telephone or video calling.
- Exercise with your children. Include them in your own activities.
Nurture your social network
- Keep in contact with people who do you good.
- Nurture positive relationships with your family circle, friends, neighbours and workmates.
- Choose activities that you enjoy and find the time to do them while obeying social distancing instructions.
- Overcome your feelings of loneliness, especially if you are experiencing a truly difficult situation such as bereavement or unemployment. Reach out to your friends and family, someone you trust or an organization that provides support or someone to talk with who will listen to you.
Let your emotions be free to express themselves
- Verbalize what you are going through. Do you feel lonely or have concerns? Share your emotions with someone you trust while complying with physical distancing directives.
- Keep in mind that others in your circle are also going through hard times linked to the pandemic.
- Make space in your life for your emotions and for those of your friends and family.
- Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. When you take steps to help yourself, it isn’t a sign of weakness but rather shows personal strength.
Make judicious use of social media
- Do not share just anything on social media. Wrong information can be harmful and hinder everyone’s efforts to move forward. With respect to COVID-19, ensure that whatever you post is up-to-date. The situation changes quickly.
- Use social networks to disseminate positive action. Share your tips and tricks for keeping your children busy, working from home and suggestions for watching TV series, videos and such.
- Follow your neighbourhood groups online as well as others that provide solutions and support mutual assistance.
- Watch videos that make you laugh.
Read Don't forget about mental health! - Stay informed for other solutions.
- Set up a comfortable space in your home that you only use for work.
- Take breaks to relax, and stay active. Go outside, but always comply with the recommended distancing measures.
- Take meal breaks.
- Maintain daily contact with colleagues. There are plenty of tools at your disposal like the telephone, video calls, email and the Web or online chat rooms.
- Always salute the efforts and victories of your workmates. Remember: they also need to adapt to the new reality.
- Be indulgent to yourself and your workmates. Some days will be less productive than others.
For other solutions, read Don't forget about mental health! - Organize your telework .
A different way of grieving
You can lose a loved one at any time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The death of someone who is dear to you can be a distressing event and the pandemic affects how we grieve. The following tools describe common reactions to grief and what you can do to cope and help yourself feel better.
- Bereavement during the pandemic (COVID-19)
- Guide for Bereaved People During a Pandemic prepared by Formations Monbourquette sur le deuil
You can ask a loved one or professionals for support at any time. Consult the list of resources that can help you in the Help and resources section.
When should I seek help?
Generally speaking, and even in the current situation, you can sustain your emotional and psychosocial well-being. Even so, you may need help to get on top of things, and professional services can be very useful. Focus on your signs of stress, anxiety or depression and, if you feel the need, consult a health professional. You are not alone in the current situation. The Help and resources section below lists available resources.
Help and resources
Aller mieux à ma façon digital tool
Aller mieux à ma façon [Feeling better my way] is a French-language digital self-management tool for emotional health. If you are experiencing difficulties due to stress, anxiety or distress, the tool can help improve your well-being by identifying practical actions for you to put in place that are tailormade for your situation. Since you know yourself better than anyone else, you can pursue your goals at your pace, making your own choices and relying on your strengths. Note that the tool is not a substitute for conventional therapy such as psychotherapy or medication.
For more information or to start self-managing your emotional health, visit the allermieux.criusmm.net (in French only) website.
The Aller mieux à ma façon tool was developed by the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, the Association québécoise en soutien aux personnes souffrant de troubles anxieux, dépressifs ou bipolaires – REVIVRE and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Developed with input from an expert committee made up of rehabilitation professionals, peer helpers, clinicians from institutional and community settings and researchers, the tool has been scientifically validated.
Government of Québec COVID-19 information for the general public
- Telephone: 1‑877‑644‑4545 (wait for English option)
Psychosocial telephone advice and referral : Info-Social 811
Province-wide elder abuse crisis and referral
- Telephone: 1‑888‑489‑2287
Caregiver Support is a free and confidential phone consultation, information and referral service for the caregivers, as well as friends and family, practitioners and health care professionals.
SOS domestic abuse
Free, anonymous and confidential 24/7 service for victims of domestic abuse and anyone affected by it
- Telephone: 1‑800‑363‑9010
Provincial helpline for victims of sexual assault
Province-wide suicide prevention hotline
- Telephone: 1 866 APPELLE or 1‑866‑277‑3553
Drug help and referral
Gambling help and referral
Tel-Écoute – Ligne Le Deuil
Telephone consultation, individual and family interventions for both adults and children.
Crisis help line
Community organization that supports people experiencing emotional distress
Québec telephone crisis lines
Locate a Québec telephone crisis line in your area at www.lignedecoute.ca (in French only).
Protecting your well-being – American Sign language
Last update: May 22, 2020