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  • Writer's pictureAnna Yam, Ph.D.

Being Mentally Strong During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Lately life has become full of uncertainty, much more than we’re used to. We don't like uncertainty. We like to know what’s coming around the next corner. We like to know what to plan for, what and whom we can count on, what to expect. We thrive on structure and routine, even if sometimes it feels oppressive.

The Coronavirus, COVID-19 Pandemic has muddied our collective waters. The uncertainty we feel is distressing. The “what ifs” exhaust our minds and our bodies.

But we won’t let them. We can choose to show up with intention and purpose, for ourselves and for others. We won’t give up on our mental health, or on each-other. This is your guide to being mentally strong during Coronavirus, and beyond.

Feeling Your Emotions

It is vital for a strong mindset to acknowledge and feel your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, worried, terrified, energized, de-energized, sad, angry, frustrated, furious, resolute - yes! Those are all valid emotions and they deserve space.

Create space for emotions by focusing on how they feel in your body. Does stress feel like a buzzing in your fingers, does sadness feel like a heaviness in your chest? Attend to that sensation, give it shape, color, weight, a name. When you create space for emotion, your body can let it pass.

Talk to someone, share how you feel. It is okay and good to communicate your emotions to children. When done with intention and purpose, you will teach them what emotions are and how to cope with difficult emotions in a healthy way. This is a big topic and I will write about it in more detail in a future article. Stay tuned.

Showing Up for Loved Ones

Survivorship for us as human beings is a collective, collaborative act. We are profoundly tribal, communal, and interdependent. When you hear people say “it takes a village” they mean, it takes a village. It takes a village to do most things of value. It take a village for us to protect our future. You are a part of our village.

At this crucial moment, our duty to our family, friends, and community is to keep our distance.

Because right now physical contact with others spreads the virus, staying away is an act of love. By staying away we protect our family from getting ill and suffering, or from watching us suffer. By keeping our distance, we protect our community from suffering and disease. We can protect our future by staying home.

This article explains the purpose and effect of social distancing, I can't resist posting their visual here.

You can see above why keeping our distance has a huge impact. If you're staying home, know that you're doing your part. My deepest thank you to you. I know it's hard.

Showing Up for Yourself

No, you will not let your mental health slide. You are going to show up for yourself, every day. Let's talk details.

Start of Day Ritual: To begin each day with intention and purpose, it’s important to have a ritual to start the day. It will help you create structure and predictability. It will help you have a day on your own terms. This is key for mental strength during times of uncertainty.

You can choose your own Start of Day Ritual, but it has to be simple. Otherwise you won’t do it.

Here are some ideas:

I don’t recommend checking your phone or consuming news media. The world can wait 10-30 minutes for you to feel prepared to face it.

The Big Three: For each day, have three key things you must do no matter what. These tasks are personal and guided by your values. Perhaps tomorrow it’s important for you to be outdoors, to be intimate with your partner, to call your parents, to write an article that can help others (yep, that was mine for today). Doing your Big Three will keep you moving forward, with intention and purpose. When we act in line with our values, we feel right, we feel connected to ourselves, we feel mentally strong.


If you need some extra support, talk to me. I provide online therapy (now with more flexible scheduling). I can also make a referral that fits your needs. Schedule a free call, here.

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