By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.

3 ways to overcome stress and anxiety during COVID-19

11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Has COVID-19 affected your wellbeing in ways that you had never experienced before?

First of all, we have to realise that it is perfectly normal to feel anxious and stressed during these unpredictable times. Leaving aside the obvious ways to decrease your anxiety and stress during COVID-19 like staying informed by reliable sources, virtually connecting with others during isolation or blending your daily routines, we will focus on how to increase your psychological resilience, so you can cope with the struggles that life throws at you after this particular pandemic is over.

Below are some simple techniques you can use to build your resilience toolkit and alleviate the anxiety you may feel during coronavirus.

Bird’s Nest View

I am a big fan of Stoicism because of all the transformative techniques that their philosophy can offer to the modern man, and their ideas could never be more relevant than now. In the  words of Epictetus: ‘people are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them’, and this is exactly what I mean! Stress arises because we see our situation from our own particular, and sometimes, limited point of view. But would the same situation seem as stressful from another perspective like from high above, from a birds nest?

When anxiety or stress arises, contemplate on the following questions, and even better, write your answers down.

  • How would another person see your situation?
  • How would your past experience affect your current state?
  • How would your life look from high above, as if from a birds nest?

Think about these questions for a moment. If you are one of those who lost their jobs and financial anxiety rushes towards you, at least now you have the free time to do all those things you were only dreaming of a couple of months ago but could never do amidst work and chores. If not now, when is the best time to read that book that still lies on your bookcase, to practice your dusty guitar, or even learn something completely new?

Gratitude Journal

This is one of my all-time favourites. The idea behind a gratitude journal is to contemplate on your day and write down the things that you are grateful for. Personally, every night before I go to bed, I write three things that made me feel good. I also encourage my coaching clients to keep a gratitude journal and all of them report back how content they have started feeling. The first time that I introduce this exercise to my clients, they respond “so, I can write down that I am grateful for my family and kids, right?” Well, these are the obvious things that someone can be grateful for, but the exercise becomes more powerful when we contemplate on the little things; on the small and forgotten pleasures. Here are some of my own entries:

  • A passenger smiled at me this afternoon as we passed by
  • Sunny day and felt the warmth of the sun
  • Helped a mother with a pram on the train. A massive shift happens within us when we start keeping such a list because unconsciously, we remind ourselves that good things happen all the time, even when we don’t perceive them with our conscious (and sometimes depressed and anxious) mind.  

Meditation & Mindfulness

These have become very popular in the last decades in the west and for valid reasons. Benefits of meditation include stress relief, anxiety control, enhanced self-awareness, reduction of memory loss and almost all of them are scientifically backed. But don’t take someone else’s word for it. You can realise the benefits of meditation only through your own experience. So, if you have never meditated before, here is a simple breathing exercise for you to try out.

  • Sit on a chair or on the floor, in an undistracted place.
  • Close your eyes, so you don’t have any visual distractions.
  • Start noticing your breath - no need to control it, let your breathing happen on its own.
  • When anxious thoughts come to your mind, acknowledge them and accept them.
  • Inhale deeply and, as you exhale, fully let those thoughts be.
  • If your mind starts to wander away, focus back on your breath.

You can continue with this breathing meditation as long as you feel like but setting your alarm to 5 or 10 minutes is a good start. These are just a few simple techniques that you can use to alleviate anxiety and stress during COVID-19. However, you have to understand that it is the techniques in combination with the way you live through them that will improve your wellbeing. Undoubtedly, these are hard times for all, but trust me this can be a good starting point to work with yourself in a positive way.