Maintaining Normalcy During Challenging Times

There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has already become a time of significant uncertainty, concerns, and instability. For many individuals, this chaos may negatively impact general well-being and functioning and may provoke increased levels of stress, sleep disturbances, and lower mood. Try one or all of the following tips to help maintain a certain level of normalcy in your daily regimen:

1. Follow recommendations and take actions

When possible, participating in measures and advice can help us feel connected to our community and increase our sense of internal control. For example, by practicing social distancing, we can feel solidarity and know we are taking a concrete measure to limit the spread of the virus. By encouraging local businesses, we know we are participating in the local economy. By connecting with the vulnerable individuals around us, we minimize their isolation. In this uncertain global climate, taking ownership of our actions can help mitigate our sense of helplessness.

2. Stay connected

Social distancing can tangibly and positively impact the pandemic, but the practice can also leave us feeling lonely. Communicating with friends, family, and colleagues through different means of technology can give us a sense of connection – which is such an essential part of our regular functioning and well-being. Share a meal or a board game session over video chat, play online games with friends, write a letter or send an e-card, or call and message your loved ones.

3. Maintain your routine

When our daily routine is completely changed, it is vital to maintain some key elements, so it is not too difficult when we return to full normalcy. Try practicing your same eating and sleeping habits, get up and maintain your regular wake up time, go for a walk or do some stretches when you would usually take a break during the day, etc. It will go a long way! 

4. Participate in self-care activities

Your self-care remains essential, and we can be creative with that exercise. Many cultural events, physical training programs, and interesting classes are now shared online for free. You may wish to revisit past activities that make you feel good such as playing games, taking a bath, doing a meditation exercise, reading, watching a movie, organizing or decluttering your house, cooking, sorting through pictures, etc.

5. Seeking help and support when needed

Throughout this challenging time, you may feel an increasing need for emotional support. Do not hesitate to rely on your support system, call a distress line, or consult a mental health professional. CFIR is offering secure teletherapy to individuals in need of services, and we are here to help! 

Like all things in life, this chaos will eventually pass. By focusing on our needs and staying connected, we will all get through this together. 

Dr. Karine Côté, D.Psy., C.Psych. is a psychologist at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR). Dr. Côté provides psychological services to individual adults and couples experiencing a wide range of psychological and relationship difficulties related to mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, eating disorders, sleep disruptions, and interpersonal betrayal. She works from a humanistic approach and integrates therapeutic techniques from gestalt and object relations psychotherapies, emotion-focused therapy (EFT), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).