We’re nearly a year into the pandemic, and I see more stress building in my clients, friends, co-workers, and family as the days go by.

Of course, right?

Isolation prevents holidays with family, hanging out with friends, or just interacting with strangers at a café or local watering hole.

Feeling defeated is normal.

We might even wonder why no one reaches out to us first.

Sending a simple, light-hearted text is an uncomplicated way to combat our own isolation while offering compassion to another without intruding on their busy life too much.

Texting is personal, supplying instant connection from anywhere.

Texting is Low Risk, Easy, and Low Pressure


Coronavirus Social Distancing: How to Cohabitate & Manage Relationship Stress

Photo by Morgan Sessions on Unsplash

When I think of couples spending quality time together, it summons images of John and Yoko’s bed-in for peace. I almost have this Disney-style optimism of what it would mean to be “stuck” at home with my spouse.

But I’m being idealistic here. That’s far from reality.

Most of us are redefining our roles as mom, dad, remote worker, and even teacher as we practice social distancing. We must remember that at the opposite end of the spectrum from idealism, we have the old adage of “familiarity breeds contempt” where we may take our partners for granted.

Instead, let’s focus…


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Prior to few weeks ago, I hadn’t heard the term social distancing, but now I hear it almost hourly. Well, that and flattening the curve.

I think many of us assumed the coronavirus problem would remain isolated to Wuhan, China. We kept it on our radar but went about our business as usual. We tried to stay sensible and avoid buying into the media panic. But now it’s hitting home — and fast.

While isolation and disruption are inconvenient, we must focus on the best interest of public health. …


Sometimes we find ourselves feeling alone in a dark place. We think no one loves us or cares one way or the other. Other times, we can still suffer from intense loneliness even in a sea of people.

Some of us still feel extremely alone in the world and empty inside. We might cling to the adage of “fake it till you make it” but return home and hide.

In the TV show Dexter, they talk about the Dark Passenger. While many compare it to the struggle against addiction, I think it also applies to those of us who feel…


Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

When most of us deal with a disturbing event we may have an initial stress response of where we face stress, anger, regret, or guilt and dwell on it, maybe brood on our emotions, for a day or two but then we learn, and move on — that is healthy adaptation.

Rumination happens when we can’t let go of these negative thoughts — even when we know we should. Dwelling on a traumatic or disturbing event/situation longer than we should stirs up intense feelings of regret. We keep playing that tape over and over in our minds around something that…


Photo by Hana Lopez on Unsplash

It’s all too common that we avoid healthy changes towards wellness because they push us outside our comfort zone.

Starting a new workout, updating our diet, and improving our interpersonal relationships all involve some level of anxiety and discomfort.

For millions of Canadians, dental anxiety is a major hurdle to oral health.

While securing dental insurance poses a barrier, millions avoid routine dental work out of anxiety-induced fear.

Dental health is an important part of health, and overcoming anxiety symptoms associated with visiting the dentist is a critical form of self-care. …


Sometimes we catch ourselves behaving in a way that surprises us.

Sometimes the feeling is a positive one: we accomplish a major goal that we weren’t sure we were going to accomplish, we crush that job interview that we were certain was a total failure, or we find the courage to ask for that big promotion at work.

However, there are times when we do or say something that surprises ourselves, but in a negative way. We snap at our coworker for taking too long to finish a report or we have an argument with a loved one that ends in tears.

So, what can you do when you find yourself…


Many of us have a list in our minds of the things we want, and most of us go through life trying to get these things. Sometimes we rely on our beliefs as a roadmap on this journey –follow these rules and you’ll be enlightened, be happier and have healthier relationships. I used to think that there was a secret recipe to life, and when things are going great, I do tend to think I have it all figured out. However, reality eventually sets in when we realize that’s not always the case, and when that reality hits, we turn…


Whenever we enter a new year I start to see people thinking in one of two ways. Some marvel at the negativity of the year that’s just finished, “I can’t believe that happened!” or “I think next year will be same as this year, terrible!”, and some start planning new year’s resolutions.

Creating resolutions and goals can sometimes feel like setting yourself up for failure, which, for some, can lead to a downward spiral of guilt and shame. What a de-motivating way to start the year!

However, goals help us move forward, and even if they are moving targets, it…


I recently gave a presentation on holiday stress. And if you haven’t experienced stress associated with the holidays that is truly a holiday miracle. For most people, in particular, many clients I have seen stress associated with family is not only expected but normal. For many, the holidays don’t lend themselves to the idea of “it’s a wonderful life” but rather a version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!

The first thing we ought to consider is anticipatory stress. Here is where you start to get stressed about things that haven’t even happened yet.

Things that I have recently seen that…

Shaun Ali, M.S.W., R.S.W.

Mental health professional. Helping you find your path, navigating experiences of stress, PTSD, life changes, work and relationships.

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