Anxiety: Counselling and other resources

We understand this is a difficult time and that information is changing rapidly. Your health and safety are a priority for the Counselling Centre staff and we are still here to help you.

During virtual operations, we are continuing to offer counselling through e-mail, phone or video conference contact instead of in-person counselling at this time.

Please contact counselling@smu.ca or phone 902-420-5615 to change your appointment or book an intake.

Responding to anxiety

During this difficult time, it is very normal to be experiencing anxiety, we can’t choose when we experience anxiety but we can focus our attention on how we respond to that anxiety.

  1. Being self-compassionate
    Knowing that is it normal to experience anxiety at this time and to not be too hard on yourself for having more anxiety than usual. Even people who don’t usually have high levels of anxiety are feeling anxious.
  2. Limit the news and unplug from social media
    Allow yourself a set period of time per day to use social media and then stop at that limit.
  3. Attempt to maintain a daily routine and if you are able to, incorporate outdoor activities
    Even if it looks quite different to your old routine. If you are stuck inside all day, try to keep up with your hygiene routines. Other ideas include making yourself a cup of coffee and turn on some upbeat music instead of visiting your favourite coffee shop. Instead of visiting the gym, take a walk outside in a non-crowded environment. Social distancing can be lonely. Try using video chat at least once per day to connect with friends and loved ones.
  4. Limit talking about COVID-19
  5. Focus on what’s in your control and follow proper hygiene recommendations

Quick anxiety strategies

Tips for managing anxiety and mood during a pandemic.

Practice some mindful, calming activities to reduce anxiety. Here are some options:

Calm breathing

  1. Take a slow breath in through the nose, breathing into your lower belly (for about 4 seconds).
  2. Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds.
  3. Exhale slowly through the mouth (for about 4 seconds).
  4. Wait a few seconds before taking another breath.

About 6-8 breathing cycles per minute is often helpful to decrease anxiety, but find your own comfortable breathing rhythm.

Notice Five Things

  1. Pause for a moment and take a deep breath.
  2. Look around and notice five things that you can see.
  3. Listen carefully and notice five things that you can hear.
  4. Notice five things that you can feel in contact with your body (for example, your watch against your wrist).

Do some pleasurable activities every day. Some examples include: lighting a scented candle, baking cookies, listening to your favourite song, taking a bath, going for a bike ride, going for a walk in nature, calling your friend. It can be helpful to make a list of these activities and then consult the list when you are feeling down.

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