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  • Ray St-Amour


As I write this on this beautiful Sunday morning people all around the world are worried about the pandemic of the Corona Virus. I cannot say that we have escaped here, despite knowing better. We are not worried for ourselves, but more worried about having people we care about keeping themselves safe as they travel the world, worried about our community and the risk to the elderly and people with comorbidities. We are at an age and stage that we do not go out a lot; we are happy together being at home, puttering around the house, doing online courses, watching some tv.

This feels a little unreal. Today Spain has closed its borders, announcing a lockdown of 46 million citizens as the COVID-19 spreads through their country. Italy did so some days ago amidst the devastation of the virus upon its soil with over 21,000 infections and 1,400 deaths. Just a few minutes ago Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the government is “not taking anything off the table” in reference to shutting down the border and mandatory 14 day self quarantine after travelling out of the country. Yesterday a message from Ottawa “return home while you can”. These are very uncertain times. Public schools in Ontario are closed for 3 weeks instead of the usual March break week. NHL has cancelled and so have other sports teams. MIrvish has cancelled their plays. People are raiding the shelves of the grocery stores as if this was a 6 month quarantine.

How does one regroup and stay grounded in this time of uncertainty? Many of you are parents. You have to keep a level head. Remember to breathe: deep breathing always works. Also a mantra helps, such as “I can deal with this. I will be fine. I am doing social distancing”. Some of you work in healthcare and I so feel for you, having to be on the front line. Your hard work, putting your profession first does not go unnoticed. When the worry troll shows its ugly face, reframe the thought. Can you say “this is giving me extra time to spend with my kids” and “I needed some down time, so now I have to be home with them”, “ I will keep myself safe at work to help my patients and clients. My work is important”. I know, many of you still have to go to work. And so, you have to rely on close friends and family for support. This is not forever, this is just for now.

So I am asking you to breathe, stay grounded, practice your affirmation and to be strong. I understand that the unknown is scary. But you WILL get through this. Turn off the tv or the screens, do soothing and grounding activities such as walking, doing a craft, play with your kids, snuggle with your pets, write a poem, reorganizing your cupboards. Do activities that keep you and your family grounded. If you live alone, please reach out to your neighbour or your friends and family. You do not have to go through this alone. As for me I will be working on my online course today and, yes, my closet does need reorganizing. And of course, knitting in front of the tv is also part of my grounding, but maybe watching a tv series and not the news.

Our offices at Maray Counselling remain open. If people prefer to do a phone appt instead of an in person appt that is fine. If you are ill please reschedule. Just let us know.

Ray St-Amour, MSW, RSW


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