Five tips to help you cope with Covid stress

covid stress May 06, 2021

Shouldn’t we be done with this pandemic by now? And yet here we are again, more that a year later, in a third wave, with Covid variants racing around the globe. Stress levels are high.

May is Mental Health Awareness month. So I decided to participate in a Zoom call on mental health organized by the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS).

I thought I would share some of the tips I picked up.

From Sajel Bellon, founder of Mind Armour and SOS Psychotherapy

We can be emotional and not have to apologize for it. We can use our emotions to renew or deplete us. The choice is ours. We need to leverage our emotions to respond to something, rather that to react to it.

From Dr. Bal Pawa, who works with organizations to transform health and stress in the workplace

Even though we are a society that wants to ‘throw a pill for every ill’, there is much we can do on our own to relieve stress. When you are feeling stressed, Dr. Pawa recommends you reset your mind using her SODA technique:

S - STOP the endless chatter and calm your mind

O - OBSERVE your thoughts. Are they negative? Positive?

D - DETACH from the automatic negative/fear thoughts

A - AFFIRM new trust-based thoughts.

From Patricia Morgan, a sought-after consultant on resilience

Patricia spoke of the loneliness Covid has imposed on us. In her opinion the phrase ‘social distracting’ adds to the stress of being alone. She suggests we should instead say we are ‘physically distancing’ - because we need to put space between us but we all need to stay socially connected.

We especially need to touch and hug each other. Since we can’t do that in person because of the pandemic, send people virtual hugs. Connect more often in virtual groups. Be social while you’re physically distancing.

From Monique Caissie, a human behaviour consultant

Monique stressed the importance of being kind. And also of just showing up when people are in trouble and asking the question ‘How can I help?’.

From Ruth Sirman, a certified mediator, scientist and speaker

Ruth talked about how so many people are struggling with what she calls ‘button fatigue’. That’s when one of your buttons is pushed over and over and you finally snap. She says this is happening more often that usual.

And if you know someone who has a family member or friend fighting Covid, Ruth says the most powerful words you can say to them are “I know this situation sucks.” You’re acknowledging their pain. Then also acknowledge that their journey is not your journey and you don’t know if you could cope as well as they have.

We all need our coping mechanisms to be in good order as we move deeper into a second year of living with Covid-19. These tips certainly resonated with me, and I hope some of them do with you, too.