Self-Care Strategies

5 Ways to Wellbeing Webinar (Webinar) – University of Toronto
Presenter: Chad Jankowski
This webinar provides an overview of activities that promote resiliency and support individuals in feeling and functioning well.

Anxiety Files,Techniques for Coping with Anxiety and Worry (Article) – Psychology Today
By: Robert L. Leahy Ph.D.
This article compiles techniques to cope with anxiety, depressive thinking, and worry. Topics include COVID-19-related issues, such as isolation and uncertainty, in addition to common sources of anxiety in our everyday lives.

Coping with COVID-19: Resiliency While Socially Distant (Youtube) – Larry Long, PhD
This presentation provides an overview of cognitive distortions associated with fear, anxiety, depression, and frustration. The presentation also highlights coping mechanisms and strategies to restructure thinking and overcome COVID-19-related challenges such as boredom and social isolation.
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Expressive Writing Exercise (Website) – Pandemic Project
This website aims to teach individuals how to use expressive writing as a coping tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some recommended prompts include social life, work and money, health, feelings of uncertainty, and education and student life. Through writing about suggested prompts, individuals can better understand and overcome emotional upheavals.

Mindfulness Exercises (Website) – Therapy Assistance Online (TAO)
Therapy Assistance Online is “therapist-assisted self-help”, consisting of educational and interactive modules, exercises, journals, and progress measures. Individuals can access the TAO Suite for 90 days, free of charge, and explore courses that are specific to personal mental health needs. TAO can be used both as a supplement to regular therapy and as a self-guided tool to achieve mental wellness.

Strengths-Based Approaches to Connecting at a Distance (Website) – Tayyab Rashid Ph.D.
This website provides 101 different actions that promote social connection during physical distancing and isolation. These approaches aim to build character strengths, such as teamwork, creativity, kindness, and curiosity.

The Working Mind COVID-19 Self-Care & Resilience Guide (Website) – Mental Health Commission of Canada
This webpage provides guides for self-care and resilience, containing a mental health self-assessment, self-care and resilience plan, and a list of mental health resources across Canada. The guide also highlights articles about coping with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, and about wellbeing while working remotely.

WellTrack (Website) – WellTrack
WellTrack is a platform designed for students to integrate emotional and mental health into busy lives. Some features include online assessment, mood checks, self-help focus, video chat ability, customizable campus-specific resources, and personal data tracking. WellTrack can be used as a self-help tool, or as a method of client communication and progress sharing.

Wellness Routines for Uncertain Times (Webinar) – Mental Health America
Presenters: Patrick Hendry, NCPS, and Kelly Davis
This webinar aims to teach participants to explore wellness goals by learning the impact of goals and routines on wellbeing, exploring models for achieving wellness goals, and understanding the importance of self-compassion during crisis and uncertainty.

Client Workbooks

A Practical Evidence-Based Self-Help Program for COVID-19-Related Worry and Low Mood (Website) – Valley Centre for Counselling
This 6-session self-help program aims to target COVID-19-related anxiety and low mood by explaining cognitive processes behind common negative feelings, and suggesting exercises to build resilience. Topics covered include anxiety, worry, uncertainty, thinking, calm, and motivation.

Coping with Fear and Sadness During a Pandemic (PDF) – Hofstra University
This document, produced by clinical psychology students and professors at Hofstra University, is a guide to help individuals cope with negative emotional reactions. The guide summarizes common pandemic-related mental health issues, outlines triggers and effects in our thinking, and provides solutions to overcome fear and sadness during the pandemic.

Coronavirus Anxiety Guide (Website) – Ten Percent Happier
This webpage provides meditation- and mindfulness-based resources for coping with stress, fear, and anxiety. Resources include podcast episodes, guided meditation, talks about mindfulness, and a weekly newsletter.

Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook (PDF) – The Wellness Society
This workbook is a tool for building resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workbook provides information about stress and anxiety sources, tools for managing anxiety, and methods for creating a stress resilience action plan.

COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression (Website) – Future Learn
Future Learn is offering a free course for young people, parents, carers, teachers, and other professionals to learn helpful, practical techniques to cope with low mood and depression during the lockdown period, with a focus on how to help young people structure their day and improve sleep and diet.

DBT Crisis Survival Skills (Youtube Series) – DBT-RU
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinic at Rutgers University (DBT-RU) has YouTube playlist with resources for practicing DBT skills. DBT Crisis Survival Skills, includes videos narrated by Dr. Rizvi, who guides the audience through using three core DBT Skills: ACCEPTS, IMPROVE, and PLEASE Skills.

Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19 (Website) – University of Toronto
This free online course, offered by the University of Toronto, provides individuals with a deeper understanding of the anxiety reaction in relation to current life and outlines clear strategies for managing and turning off the anxiety response.

Tolerance for Uncertainty: A COVID-19 Workbook (PDF) – Bay Psychology
Developed by: Dr. Sachiko Nagasawa
This workbook aims to provide assistance in managing strong emotions and anxiety that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic. The workbook is based on dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), which helps individuals to identify feelings and learn skills to manage emotions. The exercises cover topics including wellness planning, emotional regulation, acceptance, improving emotional distress, and self-compassion.

Supporting Front-Line Healthcare Workers

Best Practices for Supporting the Mental Health of Healthcare Workers During Covid-19 (Webinar) – Mental Health Commission of Canada
This webinar is an interview with Christine Devine, a wellness specialist at Michael Garron Hospital, about best practices in supporting the mental health of healthcare workers. Topics covered include challenges associated with COVID-19 response, advice for leaders to manage anxiety in the workplace, how to protect the mental health of other staff in healthcare organizations, and how to help healthcare workers when not in the workplace (ie. with family or when alone).

COVID-19 Coping Tips for Health Care Workers (Webinar) – McLean
Presenter: Dr. Blaise Aguirre
This webinar draws from dialectical behaviour therapy strategies to help mental health professionals and health care workers from all disciplines cope with the challenges they are facing during COVID-19.

Psychological Care of Frontline Health Care Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Issues to Consider (Webinar)- Canadian Psychological Association
Presenter: Anita Gupta, PhD, CPsych
This webinar aims to assist individuals who are providing psychological care to frontline health care workers during COVID-19. The focus of the webinar is to increase the awareness of common stressors faced and implications for care, considerations to take into account when providing assessment and treatment to health care providers of different professions during COVID-19, and how it might be similar or different from treating this population generally.

Psychological First Aid for Frontline Health Care Providers During COVID-19 – A QUICK GUIDE TO WELLNESS (PDF) – Mélanie Joanisse, 2020

Supporting the Wellbeing of Mental Health Providers in COVID-19 (PDF) – Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health

General Resources

2020 Coronavirus Pandemic — Online Gatherings (Website) – The Academic Resilience Consortium

Caring for Young Caregivers (Website) – Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health
This webinar discusses helpful policies, strategies, and accommodations that can be made for young caregivers while they balance schoolwork and caregiving. Topics covered include challenges associated with being a young caregiver, such as chronic lateness and insufficient time for assignments, and how these challenges are exacerbated by social isolation and mental health challenges.

Grief & Loss During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Webinar) – Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health
Hosted by the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health, this webinar explores how experiences of grief and loss may be impacting members of our campus community and how a deeper understanding of these concepts can help us move forward.

How to Support International Students during the COVID-19 Outbreak (Website) – Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health
This info sheet includes information and resources to help support international students during the COVID-19 outbreak. Topics covered include strategies for mitigating stress and anxiety for international students, such as communication, immigration updates, and healthcare coverage. The info sheet also contains resources that students can access in Ontario and internationally.

Managing Stress, Anxiety And Substance Use During Covid-19: A Resource For Healthcare Providers (Infographic, PDF) – Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Abuse
This infographic provides an overview of strategies for healthcare providers to cope with COVID-19-related occupational stress, anxiety, and substance use. Topics covered include coping mechanisms and guidelines for monitoring substance use.

Mental Health and Substance Use Support (Website) – Wellness Together Canada
The Wellness Together Canada website provides tools and resources to improve physical and mental well-being in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources include modules that address mood, anxiety, substance use, isolation, and relationship issues. In addition, Wellness Together Canada offers group coaching, community support, and counselling by text or phone at no cost to Canadians.

Supporting Patients Experiencing Domestic Violence in the Context of COVID-19 (Website) – SADVCC at Women’s College Hospital
By: Dr. Simone Vigod and Dr. Elisabeth Wright
The Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres (SADVCC) offers follow-up care, counselling, and support for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse across Ontario. This website provides an overview of resources for survivors and healthcare providers and lists programs available for access.

That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief (Article) – Harvard Business Review
By: Scott Berinato
In this article, Scott Berinato interviews David Kessler, who has co-written numerous books on managing and finding meaning in grief. In the interview, Kessler shares his thoughts on acknowledging grief during the COVID-19 pandemic, identifying specific sources of grief, and learning to find meaning.

Support Lines

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line (Website) – Donna Cona
The Hope for Wellness Help Line provides immediate counselling and crisis intervention to Indigenous peoples across Canada. Individuals can access support in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut at the toll-free line 24/7, or using the online chat-box.
1-855-242-3310 (phone)

LGBT YouthLine (Website) – LGBT YouthLine
LGBT YouthLine is a 2SLGBTQ+ youth-led organization that supports youth across Ontario by providing anonymous peer support and referrals, training youth to support others, and providing resources for young people to make informed decisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBT YouthLine is available for access by text, email, or online chat.
647-694-4275 (text) or (email)

My Student Support Program (MySSP) (Website) – Morneau Shepell
MySSP provides immediate and confidential counselling 24/7 with experienced professionals in an individual’s language of choice. Students can access support over phone, video, and chat.
1-855-649-8641 (phone)

Naseeha Peer-to-Peer Support (Website) – Naseeha
Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline Peer-to-Peer Counsellors help provide the community with tools to address and improve mental health. Youth can access the confidential helpline from 12 – 9 PM, 7 days a week, for immediate mental health support.
1-866-627-3342 (phone or text)