Interfaith Health Care Association of Manitoba


If you’ve lived in Manitoba for some time, you know the rhythm of the seasons and you’ve (mostly) learned to adapt.

You also know that some winters go on a long time and are hard to endure – not unlike how the pandemic is feeling for many of us.

We are seeing much less transmission in places that follow public health orders and have high vaccination rates. Getting vaccinated is allowing us to enjoy many activities we enjoyed pre-pandemic, like eating out, going to movies, sports events, etc.  Whether or not we are vaccinated, we can go shopping, visit a friend in their home etc. Things are moving in a good direction.

Still, living under Public Health Orders has been challenging for many peoples’ mental health. So how do we learn to endure what seems like a “never-ending winter?”

Here are a few ideas from psychologist Christina G. Hibbert and others:

  1. When strong emotions come up for you, be present to them. Many people fear being overwhelmed by their emotions. Others find it painful to feel their feelings. It may come as a surprise then, that facing our emotions is often the first step in the path to emotional healing.  Hibbert developed a method called TEARS, five things to do when feeling overwhelmed by life stressors:

T- Talking

E- Exercising

A -Artistic expression

R - Recording or writing experiences, and

S - Sobbing

She suggests we set a time limit to feel our emotions every day. Even 15 minutes can help to process your emotions.

  1. Create some distance between you and the hardship you are experiencing. When you’re in crisis, it’s hard to see any upside but you may be able to reframe some things. You lost your patience with a patient or co-worker. Your supervisor has called you in to talk about it. You fear for your job. Taking some time to practice self-compassion will help you talk to your supervisor in a way that has a better outcome. Take a look at some of the great self-compassion resources from yesterday’s email. Exploring this crisis with a qualified professional may open up new areas of personal growth. Please see the Mental Health resources below.
  2. Avoid or limit time with people who drain you. There may be people in your life who are not supportive or reliable, don’t listen to you, or are critical, judgmental and demanding.  After being with them, you feel worse than you did before. Taking a break from people like that or finding ways to avoid spending long periods of time with them may help you regain some energy and positivity.
  3. Try to keep focused on this particular moment. Practices such as those offered by mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation or yoga, may help you be present to both mind and body when going through a crisis. Excessive worry about the future only increases stress. If you connect with spirituality or religion, try praying, alone or with others. Practice the rituals of your faith or spiritual path.
  4. Create some moments of joy or peace each day. Can you identify things that bring you a sense of well-being?  Be intentional about including those things, daily or several times a week.
  5. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon – remember that living through this pandemic will take time and effort. Focusing on self-care and caring for others today will help us get through one day at a time.

You’ll find more tips in the links found on the right column!

You Have Need of Endurance | Desiring GodSomething to Watch/Listen to

“Ten Percent Happier” Podcast:  Episode: A non-obvious way to relax. Anushka Fernandopulle (May 7/21). Wherever you get your podcasts.

The Great Realization

Carrying On Podcast: Mental Health Strategies for COVID 19, Episode 41: Coping Skills considerations (July 20, 2020) 8 minutes

Something to Do

Mental Health Resources for Health Care workers and the Public

Something to Read

14 Ways to Get Through Tough Times

Stories of health-care workers in Manitoba from the 1918-19 flu pandemic. Their stories are much like ours – dedication mixed with exhaustion and frustration. No doubt their mental health was affected. But their stories of courage and compassion serve as an inspiration for us today. The advances in medical science over the past 100 years are something to be grateful for.

Disclaimer: Not all the views expressed in these resources are those of the WRHA.