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Tools for Managing Anxiety During COVID-19

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Join Amber Laing, Occupational Therapist, for how to manage anxiety during the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak. Anxiety is as much a physical experience as a psychological one. By learning to tap into a calm body, the mind can follow. Amber walks us through a series of quick tools that we can use when the anxieties, worries, fears, or stresses begin to pile up.

When your routines are completely changed and you have more tasks than hours in a day, it can be hard to remember to take a break. When you’re in a fight-or-flight survival mode, it can be hard to remember to breathe. Use these tools throughout your day and incorporate them into your existing activities

Body Scan

Start at the top of the body and slowly work your way down, one area at a time. Scan the top of your head, your eyes, your jaw… Notice any tension. Are you holding your breath? As you scan through your body, when you notice a tight area, let that tension go.

Notice where the breath is felt: are you breathing into your belly or your chest? Do you breathe through your nose, your mouth, or both?

Grounding and Presence

Feel your feet pressing against the ground and your back on a chair if you’re sitting in one. Notice what you see in the room, sounds you can hear, and sensations you feel in your body.

Now, do your body scan again. Has your breathing changed? Has any tension come back? If so, then let it go again.

How to Use These Tools

Take 30 seconds, one minute, or two minutes a few times per day or anytime that you’re feeling stressed. You can follow along with the video a few times until you can do it on your own, or you can use the video every time.

Do the body scan, release any tight areas that you find, and feel yourself grounded.


These tools and techniques can be especially helpful if you know that you are about to start a virtual work meeting, a homeschooling session, or anything else that you find is winding up your tension. By starting these activities with a calm breath, a calm body, and a calm mind, you can move forward in a more creative, patient, and productive way.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more from Amber, please follow us on social media and YouTube. You can also make an appointment with Amber for personalized tools, techniques, and strategies. She is available for virtual or telephone appointments for residents of Alberta, NWT, and Nunavut.

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