Chapter 5: Staying well during COVID-19

Caring for your grief

What the grief experts say
Michaela McLean, grief support specialist, discusses the importance of talking about grief.(3:22)Video transcript

“I think we’re all feeling like we’re looking over our shoulders waiting for what might come.  It’s really unsettling to say the least.” – Housekeeping attendant

It is important that we actively engage in activities that address our needs right now. This is especially important while we are grieving and adjusting to COVID-19.  

Strategies that improve a sense of well-being are unique to each person. Sometimes it helps to think back on other difficult times and identify what has worked for us in the past. 

Below are some general self-support strategies to consider. You can pick and choose the ones that will best support you to cope with the pandemic.

Roll your mouse over each one for more information.

Feel what you feel





Feelings aren’t right or wrong. These are unprecedented times and it’s natural to experience intense and unexpected emotions. Trying to avoid uncomfortable feelings tends to magnify them.


Limit exposure to ‘bad news’





Set limits for how much time you spend with news media. Allow yourself one or two times a day to check what’s happening. Go to trusted factual sources, and seek out ‘good news’ stories.


Focus on what you can control





Be informed about keeping ourselves and the people we care about safe, helping friends and neighbours, showing support and appreciation to those in essential service roles.


Engage with other people





Schedule regular phone calls with family and friends. Connect with each other using Skype, FaceTime, or social media channels, watch movies or tv or eat a meal separately together with someone.


Access mental health supports as needed





If you need more help, reach out. Many organizations have expanded the services they offer, including telephone and online access, to support mental and emotional well-being. 


Set realistic expectations and boundaries for yourself





Recognize that you cannot save and support everyone.


Find new ways to connect and debrief with colleagues





Remind yourself and your colleagues that you are doing the best you can during an unprecedented time. Consider opportunities for debriefing that are both formal and informal; lean on each other for support if you can.