How to stay calm during COVID-19

When you're dealing with school closures, event cancellations, and other restrictions, it’s important to pay attention to your mental health and develop healthy coping mechanisms for the anxiety and stress that came with this pandemic.


Note: This information was up to date on the day of publication, and will likely change. Make sure you stay up to date with ongoing developments related to COVID-19. Check for regular updates from government agencies about how the pandemic is affecting the place where you are currently (e.g. city and provincial websites). For information about the situation at Dalhousie, check


1. Stay informed, but know when to step away

It’s important in times like this to stay informed with what’s going on in the world. Everyone should be paying attention to statements made by the Public Health Agency of Canada and their provincial health authorities. However, constantly monitoring the number of cases can cause more harm than good to your mental and overall health. Being mindful of your limit and when to step away from the news is essential to maintain a healthy mindset.

A way to help you through this anxiety is getting your news through trusted sources. Twitter may seem like a tempting place to get your memes and news, but it’s also a breeding ground for rumours and panic. The Public Health Agency has a great count of confirmed cases in Canada that is updated twice daily here. You can also find the latest situation updates from across the country on the main media outlets, such as CBC, Global, and CTV.


2. Do your part

You’ve heard it all by now: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, maintain social distancing (two metres/6 feet away). But there’s a difference in knowing what you should do and actually doing it. The most effective thing you could do is follow instructions on how to slow and stop the spread of the virus.

Follow the examples I just mentioned and other things like not inviting friends over (get together online, instead). Remember that social distancing is different than self-isolation, which you need to observe if you have any symptoms, have recently travelled, or been in contact with someone who was recently out of the country.

For more information on what you can do to help the situation, check the Public Health Agency for information. If you’re already taking these precautions, take pride in knowing you’re doing your part in flattening the curve and ending the pandemic.


3. Prepare (but don’t overdo it)

Preparing yourself can help you feel less anxious about the situation. Things you can do include stocking up on necessities for a week or two, checking in on your loved ones (virtually), or refilling prescriptions. Do what you need to do to stay home for a few weeks to reduce your chances of exposure or contributing to the spread of the virus. The Public Health Agency has a comprehensive preparation list here.

But while stocking up, be a good neighbour and avoid buying unnecessarily large amounts of necessities out of panic (looking at you, toilet paper hoarders). And if something you’re looking for is out of stock, breathe. It’ll be OK. Eventually, it will be restocked, and you’ll be able to get it, whether in-store or online. This is also a good opportunity to check in with elderly neighbours to see if there is anything you can pick up for them when you do need to go out to restock.


4. Distract yourself

In the last few weeks of the semester, we’ll all be preoccupied with final projects, assignments, and exams. Without a solid idea of when things will be back to normal, you’ll probably have some down time to yourself, but it can be hard to relax given the circumstances. To distract yourself from the outside situation, take this time to practice self-care however you see fit: going out for a walk or bike ride (while maintaining social distancing), binge-watching Netflix, streaming home workout or yoga from YouTube to get some excersise, taking a bath, baking your favourite cookies, or even learning a new skill.