Joanna Salit MSW, RSW

Counselling for Life's Transitions.

My Blog


Ways to Cope in the time of COVID: Activate Things in Your Control

Posted on May 19, 2020 at 1:27 PM Comments comments ()
Coping Strategies in the Period of COVID
Activate Things that are in Your Control
Joanna Salit, MSW RSW

·      Look for ways settle your nervous system (it is on high alert!)

·      Move your body daily: gentle stretching such as child’s pose, cat/cow or neck stretches, yoga, aerobic exercise, walking 

·      Get outside daily and get fresh air

·      Try to ingest nourishing foods and limit salt and sugar intake

·      Drink water

·      Create a sleep ritual that tells your body and mind that it is time to rest: no screens ½ hour before bed, drink herbal tea, take a warm shower or bath, use sleep meditations (eg: apps such as Insight Timer, Calm or Headspace)

·      If you wake up in the middle of the night do not look at screens. Try 4-7-8 breathing until you fall asleep (inhale for 4, hold breath for 7, exhale slowly for 8)

·      Connect socially with friends /family in a safe manner and talk about things that you enjoy

·      Minimize use of alcohol, drugs or nicotine 

·      Try to create some structure in your day

·      Give yourself permission to not be as productive as usual

·      Practice box breathing – inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and hold lungs empty for 4

·      Engage in altruism (eg: check in with a neighbour, donate to charity)

·      Limit exposure to the news

·      Name and acknowledge your feelings 

·      Use grounding strategies such as the Five Sense: Name five things you see, four things you feel on your skin, three things you hear, two things you can smell, one thing you taste

·      Talk to your family doctor and/or a therapist – create space just for you

·      It is ok to not be ok! 
Listen to your body and make choices that are healthy for you

Grounding yourself in the period of COVID-19

Posted on March 21, 2020 at 2:39 PM Comments comments ()

Anxiety and worry are understandable reactions to what we are collectively going through. They can relate to feelings of lack of control and the unknown. Be gentle with yourself. Look for things that are in your control on a daily basis. Make choices for yourself to keep your body and mind active and healthy.

Move your body, take regular breaks from media, engage in something creative and nourish your body with healthy food and water. Social connection through technology is also important to lessen feelings of isolation.

If you feel anxiety coming up, here is a great grounding exercise that is accessible at anytime.

Facing anxiety in the age of COVID-19

Posted on March 19, 2020 at 5:06 PM Comments comments ()
During uncertain or unpredictable times, anxiety or other strong feelings can come up and take over. This is the nervous system warning us of real or perceived danger. As we are fundamentally animals, these signals have served to keep us safe in many situations.

But what happens when your logical mind knows that you are safe, yet your nervous system continues to fire warning signals of danger?

In order to settle our nervous system, we can look at what is in our control and focus upon a 'bottom up' approach of working with the body. "Breathing in" helps to activate our body while a deep thorough "breath out" helps to settle the nervous system.

This is my favourite breathing technique: it is simple and portable. Personally, I use it when I cannot fall asleep or have ruminating thoughts.

Life Transitions: From Adolescence to Adulthood

Posted on February 4, 2020 at 8:21 PM Comments comments ()

We all know that puberty and the teenage years are times of uncertainty and growth. The emergence from adolescence toward adulthood, however, can also feel uncertain. For the majority of our lives, we are told where to be and what to do. The expectations are clear. We go to school and we play with friends. Usually, our financial, emotional and health needs are taken care of by our village. 

However, when teens finish high school, it can be a time of rising anxiety. Who am I? Who do I want to be? How will I support myself? Who are the people in my support system? Will I be ok if I try something and it doesn’t work out? There are more choices than ever before, which is exciting. However, the emergence from a highly structured family and school life to one in which we are responsible for our own path can also be unsettling and daunting. 
This place of launching can bring on worry or other strong feelings, such as grief at the ‘end of childhood’. For instance, the fear of failure can loom big and the number of pathways to take can be overwhelming. As well, factors like social media and hook up culture can lead to worry about relationships or the inability to connect meaningfully and deeply to others. For some people at this stage, the move toward independence is very scary. People in this place may not have had the opportunity to build skills and strategies to cope and build resilience.  
The therapy office can be a place for emerging adults to continue to find their support and unpack their concerns. It can be a place of safety to name the issues and remember who they are separate from the problems they are up against. The therapy room can be a place in which they can remember the tools and strategies they already have or learn new skills to add to their toolbox.  It can be a place to explore identity and look toward a future with confidence. 
Feel free to reach out if you or a loved one would benefit from this exploration. 
I can be reached at 416 795 8006,,  or on the Facebook Page: Joanna Salit Counselling for Life’s Transitions.