CASS Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Read More.

Take a moment to S.T.O.P.P.

Posted on Mon, Sep 28, 2020 By:
Posted in: blogMental Health & MindfulnessUncategorized

Hello CASS friends! Thanks for coming. You are welcome here 🙂

How are you doing this fall day as the weather begins to cool and leaves begin to turn? How have you been experiencing Phase 2 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy that began June 12th? What is your relaunch style? Have you been slow, curious and cautious? Methodical and planned? Or have you been adventurous, quick to get back out there, and take it all in? How have you found it? What differences have you noted?  What’s still the same? What gives you hope and what concerns you?

I’ve read articles referring to the relaunching process being more difficult for people to navigate than the shut-down. I’ve heard people echo this for themselves, personally. Navigating the safety protocols (that vary from place to place), fearing a second wave of COVID-19 that could hit us anytime, and encountering people with different beliefs and expectations for space sharing, brings on a bunch of emotions. These emotions may be conflicting, like when I’m excited to be at the mall again, but saddened to see that some stores will not be reopening again – EVER – and then I’m also nervous/confused because some people are definitely not social distancing anymore. These conflicting emotions can be difficult to process – even to understand – and I can be left thinking, doing, or saying things that are unhealthy. To myself and others.

For those of you who, like me, struggle with processing these mixed and (seemingly) spontaneous emotions, there’s a tool for that (there’s also an APP for that, see below ). I found myself using this tool (successfully, I might add) at a grocery store the other day when I felt an urge to freak out at the staff who told me what I could and could not do. I STOPPed* instead. Here’s how:

S: stop and step back. Don’t follow that urge to act. Just pause.

T: take a breath.  Notice your breath as you breath in and breath out.

O: just observe what you are thinking and feeling. What are you feeling and where in your body is it showing up? What are you saying to yourself in your mind to foster this feeling? Is this thought based on a negative self-belief, an assumption, or a judgment? What evidence do I have that these statements are true, partially true, or false? Is this helpful or unhelpful for me?

P: take perspective. Look at the bigger picture. What does this situation really mean to me?  What else might be going on for me to make this situation feel more challenging than it needs to be (remember HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, tired). If a friend were with me now, how would they see the situation?  What would they say to me? What would be helpful at this time? How could I re-frame the situation in a more positive, helpful way? How important is it right now, and how important will it be in a year?

P: practice what will be successful for you. Remember your values and take action based on what is important to you – not only in the short-term but the long-term, too. What action demonstrates your gifts, values, and goals best and is most likely to be effective at getting through the situation? What action allows maximal positive effect, with minimal negative consequences?

Hope this helps!

have a great week, and enjoy whatever sunshine comes your way!

stay well,


* adapted from Carol Vivyan 2009. You can find STOPP and more information about it here:

Resources: videos on STOPP: and
There is a STOPP app available on the App store and Google play.  So cool!

Especially for People we work with
1. Take a look at the first video listed above on STOPP ( with the person you work with. This video is about 5 minutes and is much more thorough, slower-paced, and easy to process than the second video listed. Talk about scenarios when you and the person you work with has, or could have, used this strategy with success. Practice one step at a time, even one step per day if you want to go slower and reinforce long-term learning. Practicing during calm and happy moments is the best way to make the learning “stick” and be available for the times when there is stress and distress to manage.

2. Download and print some STOPP wallet cards for easy reference as you and the people you work with navigate the reopening of our communities. Available here:

3. Download and print the STOPP worksheet where you can record and assess each step of the STOPP process.  Here:

4. Download the STOPP app and practice, practice, practice!!!

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