Dealing with the Stress of COVID-19

Working Remotely: COVID-19 Principles

  1. You are not “Working from Home”, you are “at your home, during a crisis, trying to work”.
  2. Your personal, physical, mental and emotional health is far more important than anything else right now.
  3. You should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours.
  4. You will be kind to yourself and not judge how you are coping based on how you see others coping.
  5. You will be kind to others ad not judge how they are coping based on how you are coping.
  6. Your team’s success will not be measured the same way it was when things were normal.

A Message from Traci


I don’t think it’s any secret that all of us are feeling some level of stress and anxiety about COVID-19 and the drastic impact it is having on life as we knew it. In this regard, this pandemic is not discriminating. It is affecting us all to some degree or another. If you’re like me, you’ve been reading a lot on how to handle stress, and with a couple of exceptions, the information is pretty much all the same. Good suggestions, but still some version of the same. My take on that is that there is no magic pill for any of us. The best coping strategies for any crisis are the best coping strategies for this crisis. Here are just some of the ones that have resonated with me:

  • Take time out to disengage from things that are causing you stress (especially the news and social media)
  • Stay connected to family and friends (as Dr. Torres has reminded us, we should practice physical distancing, but stay socially connected)
  • Deep breathing: take five deep breaths through the nose and out through your mouth
  • Do what brings you joy: reading, singing, dancing, praying, meditation, exercise, etc.
  • Exercise (even if, for those like me, it doesn’t bring you joy!)
  • Maintain a routine to avoid exacerbating feelings of lack of control
  • Identify a hobby or new project you’d like to start as a distraction from the disruption to your life
  • Tap into your moral compass or your spiritual life for support
  • Work reasonable hours and set boundaries for your work schedule. When you cannot accomplish something or attend a meeting, be honest.
  • Recognize the impact of isolation and loneliness so reach out to your colleagues to check on each other.
  • Most importantly, extend GRACE to yourself and to others.

I frequently refer to this graphic to assess how I’m feeling at any particular moment and to remind myself that I want to be in the Learning and Growth Zones rather than the Fear Zone. I share it with you and hope that it helps you as well.