Coronavirus Stress: Coping with Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

Do these uncertain times have you feeling more on edge than usual?

… If anxiety is keeping you up at night…

… If you’re afraid to leave your home…

… If you’re feeling helpless in the face of this global pandemic …

You may be experiencing coronavirus stress. 

Coronavirus stress can take a severe toll on your well-being — but only if you allow it. The tips in this article will support you and keep you grounded during these stressful times.

What is Coronavirus Stress?

Believe it or not: stress can be good for you. It’s a biological response that helps you rise to the challenge. 

In demanding situations, your brain releases hormones that increase your heart rate and accelerate blood flow. This quickens your reaction time and sharpens your focus. 

But see, stress symptoms are usually temporary.

These symptoms should subside after the stressor disappears, like after you finish a race or give a speech. 

Yet, coronavirus is the stressor we’re all facing and it hardly feels temporary. You’re in constant fear of you or your loved ones being vulnerable to coronavirus. We’ve been staying at home for three or more months now, and even with businesses slowly reopening, you may still choose to stay isolated due to fear! Adding to your worries, you may have experienced the following:

  • Furlough
  • Layoffs
  • Unable to find employment
  • Scarce inventory at your local supermarket (although I’m finally seeing toilet paper on the shelves again)
  • Helping children with home-schooling or online learning

You’re bombarded with stressors left and right — it’s no wonder why you might be feeling anxious and overwhelmed!

How Coronavirus-Related Stress Takes a Toll on Your Body

Coronavirus stress can attack you on all fronts.

You’re physically affected:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

You’re mentally drained:

  • Poor memory
  • Clouded focus
  • Continuous worrying
  • Racing thoughts

You’re emotionally vulnerable:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fear

The added stress can compromise your immune system, and if left unchecked, you leave yourself more susceptible to COVID-19.

So what’s the antidote? How can you keep yourself healthy and happy when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life?

Self-care, self-care, self-care!

Self-care can help you feel centered and grounded again when coronavirus has hurled you into a whirlpool of stress and anxiety. And here’s how you can do it.

Coping with Coronavirus Stress: 3 Self-Care Tips to Empower You

When you’re stuck at home, it can feel like all the days blend into each other. Creating a self-care routine will keep you empowered and advancing in your goals — even during these uncertain times.

Here are a few activities to add to your self-care routine.

#1 Deep Breathing

Next time you’re feeling stressed, don’t seek the nearest distraction outlet. Cultivate a sanctuary of calm within yourself. Click To Tweet

Take a moment and shift your attention to your breath.

When you’re feeling quarantine stress, you might experience shortness of breath without realizing it. This can lead to tightness in your body — your muscles might be tense and your shoulders raised.

Deep breathing will help you unwind from the tension.

Let’s try it now.

To the count of five, take a deep inhale through your nose.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

Next, hold that breath to the count of five.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 

Finally, slowly exhale through your mouth with a whooshing sound to the count of 10.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9… 10.

If you still feel tension, complete another breath cycle. And more breath cycles until your heart rate slows, your mind becomes clearer and your body feels more grounded to the earth.

Next time you’re feeling stressed, don’t seek the nearest distraction outlet. Cultivate a sanctuary of calm within yourself.

Find your center within your breath.

In the comments below, let me know how you feel after trying this quick breathing exercise.

#2 Spend Quality Time with Family

Life can be hectic. Before the pandemic there were meetings, running errands, feeding the family. Some days, you might have wondered how you managed to get even 70% of your to-do list checked off!

And in the process, you may have lost out on quality time with your family.

I know coronavirus can be scary… So why not use this time at home as an opportunity to be more present with your family?

When was the last time you watched a movie as a family? Or gathered around the table for game night?

Make time for this now.

Unwind from the stress by strengthening your support systems.

#3 Return to Nature

With fewer people commuting to work, have you stepped outside and noticed how much cleaner the air is?

Right now, your home may sometimes feel more like a cage than an oasis. Step outside and go for a long walk (if your area permits it). Studies show that exposure to sunshine encourages your body to produce more serotonin, which can “result in more positive moods and a calm yet focused mental outlook.”

In these stressful times, you need all the serotonin you can get!

So, take the dogs to your local park (if it’s open). If you’re feeling adventurous, challenge yourself by completing a hiking trail. Just remember to stay at least six feet away from other hikers!

Calm and Tranquility is Just 10 Minutes Away

Being stuck at home, you may feel like you’re an island. You might even feel like you’re the only one feeling coronavirus stress. At times, you may feel overwhelmed.

Remember: You’re not alone.

If you need extra support with healing and managing your overwhelm, I’m here for you. I invite you to sign up for my complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session. In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:

  • Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again
  • Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm
  • Tap into greater energy and inspiration 
  • Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.

Click here now to sign up for a complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session.

How Compassion for Yourself Can Enrich Your Life and the People Around You

Imagine a world that is more loving, more compassionate, and more forgiving. There is less racial injustice. Communities and people from different backgrounds embrace each other. Everybody is treated equally under the law and in reality.

It almost seems like a utopia too good to be true, right?

Yet, it’s a mission that is just and worth standing for. I believe compassion is the key to manifesting a world that is freer and more equitable. But before we can change society, we must start with ourselves. Enriching the lives of the people within your community begins with having compassion for yourself.

Enriching the lives of the people within your community begins with having compassion for yourself. Click To Tweet

What Does It Mean To Have Compassion For Yourself?

The myths surrounding self-compassion are abundant:

  • It’s self-indulgent
  • It’s selfish
  • It’s for weak-willed people.

But here’s the truth. Compassion is necessary for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Compassion is what encourages you to care for your body and your mind.

Think about this.

If you own a pet, you care for them. You feed them high-quality pet food, bathe them, buy them toys. You love to spoil your non-human companion. 

Yet so many women fail to direct this affection within.

When you neglect your well-being, you deny yourself the resources needed to live a beautiful and thriving life. Can you imagine a life where you’re:

  • Full of inspiration
  • Abundant with energy
  • Loved and fulfilled
  • Guided by meaning and purpose

This is the power of self-compassion. And when you build a well of love and compassion with yourself, you can then share it with others.

That is why I encourage you to prioritize enriching your life first and then expand your circle of influence to encompass the people within your community and country.

Why is Self-Compassion Important for Enriching Other People’s Lives?

Even if your own relationships are in order, you’re living in a bubble. The world outside your bubble needs your support too.

People are suffering. Botham Jean, Aura Rosser, Philando Castille, and more have died under a system of racism. We’re seeing more headlines of deaths and injustices every week.

And it’s within your power to extend your hand to help. It’s within your power to express compassion towards those who need it most.

However, you must first fill your own well. Practicing compassion towards others begins with practicing compassion toward yourself.

Here’s how you can do it.

3 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion to Enrich Your Life and the People Around You

#1 Advocate for Your Well-Being

When you hear about horrific murders, like what happened to Stephon Clark, you feel compelled to advocate for those who suffer from racial discrimination. This is an important mission and I encourage you to educate yourself with anti-racism resources and join causes that oppose racism and police brutality.

At the same time, I encourage you to advocate for yourself to become a better and healthier you. You may want to charge full-force ahead, but doing this will leave you feeling burned out and overwhelmed.

Remember to take care of yourself. If you’re feeling mentally strained, try going on a digital detox for a few days. Unplug from social media, turn off the television, and stop reading the headlines. During your detox, practice more self-care:

  • Read a favorite book
  • Go for a long walk outside
  • Light some candles and indulge in a warm bubble bath
  • Have a movie night with your family

Practice self-compassion by giving yourself permission to relax and pamper yourself when you’re feeling signs of burnout.

What is one thing you do to practice self-care when you’re feeling tired? Share it in the comments below!

#2 Keep a Self-Compassion Journal

Dr. Kristin Neff says that journaling is one of the best ways to express your emotions and it’s often linked to mental and physical well-being. This is one reason why journaling is a part of my morning activity. Writing in my journal has become a spiritual practice that helps me be more present and mindful of how I’m feeling in the moment.

“As you write,” Dr. Neff says, “try to be accepting and non-judgmental of your experience, not belittling it or making it overly dramatic.”

The point of this exercise is to acknowledge the full-range of emotions you’re experiencing at this moment without judging yourself. Whether it’s anger, disappointment, sadness, or another emotion, acknowledge what you’re feeling as you write about it. 

In your journaling practice, your body could be telling you things you didn’t recognize earlier. You might realize that you’re stressed and need to take a step away from work. Or you might have a stroke of inspiration and tap into your creative flow.

#3 Ask for Help When You Need It

Learning how to love yourself can be difficult when you’re already overwhelmed with life.

You have to work. Put food on the table. Care for the children. Run errands. 

You’re so busy! How would you even find the time to practice mindful self-compassion?

When you’re feeling overworked and burned out, self-compassion can often look like enlisting others’ aid.

If you need help restoring order to your hectic life, I encourage you to accept my gift of an “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session. In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:

  • Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again.
  • Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm.
  • Tap into greater energy and inspiration.
  • Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.

Click here now to sign up for a complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session.

Practicing self-compassion can be one of the greatest challenges you encounter. It can be a struggle to accept and love yourself.

Yet it’s a worthwhile challenge. Because self-compassion is necessary for your personal growth and fulfillment of your potential. As a more compassionate woman, you have a greater capacity to enrich your family. And if you’re called to be an advocate, you can tap into your resources and help those who need it most. 

How I Use My White Privilege to Stand for Love, Compassion, and Racial Equality

What do you think of when you hear the words “white privilege”?

They make some people shift uncomfortably in their seats. I think this is because it doesn’t get discussed enough.

In this social climate, following the recent tragedies of racial injustice — George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor — it’s time to unpack white privilege.

It’s important to not only understand what white privilege is but also how you can use it as a resource in the stand for equality and justice.

What Is White Privilege?

White privilege is defined as “institutional and cultural preferential treatment and exemption from racial and national oppression” for white people (Racial Equality Tools). 

Unfortunately, in a society as free as ours, racism still exists. People of color experience prejudice that white people don’t. And it’s black people, like Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, and Eric Garner, who have suffered from racial discrimination.

As a white person with white privilege, I move through the world differently and in many ways unhindered as compared to a person of color.

Examples of White Privilege (You May Not Know About)

White privilege exists in ways you may never have realized before. It exists in seemingly minor and mundane things:

  • Finding makeup in your skin tone
  • Finding hair products for your hair texture
  • Reading books and watching movies with characters that share your life experience.

White privilege can also determine how people perceive you — judgment based entirely on the color of your skin. I can walk around my neighborhood without people thinking I don’t belong. When a police officer pulls me over, I don’t immediately fear for my life. I have the privilege of carrying on with my day without thinking about how people will perceive me because of my skin tone.

But what if you’re Black?

Shola Richard, a workplace civility activist, explains how he always brings his daughter and dog when walking around his neighborhood. When people see him, he’s just like any other “loving dad and pet owner.”

But everything changes when he’s alone. Instead, people see him as an “athletically-built black man in a cloth mask who is walking around in a place where he doesn’t belong.”

We see instances of white privilege every day, yet some white people close their eyes.

Why Some White People Stay Silent

What if your white privilege can help you create the positive change you want to see in your community? Click To Tweet

The concept of white privilege is uncomfortable for most white people. 

A common criticism is that not everybody who is white has overtly benefited from white privilege. And many white people who achieve success believe it’s entirely because of their hard work.

Here’s what Teaching Tolerance has to say about it:

“White privilege is not the assumption that everything a white person has accomplished is unearned …  Instead, white privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort.”

Built-in advantages, like employers choosing a resume with a more white-sounding name or being approved for a home loan because you come from a “white neighborhood.”

White privilege can be difficult to digest. You probably feel ashamed or guilty. 

But what if you can turn that shame into determination? What if you can use white privilege as a resource — a resource to help you stand for equality and compassion? What if your white privilege can help you create the positive change you want to see in your community?

This is how I do it.

How I Use my White Privilege to Stand for Racial Equality

I Call Out Injustice When I See It

When I see tragic headlines, like the horrific murder of Trayvon Martin, I call it out.

I do my research. I talk about it with my family. I share it with my friends across social media.

We must shine a light on injustice and stand for positive change and accountability.

We have a voice and our voice has power. 

Use your voice to raise awareness and stand for equality.

I Teach Love and Compassion

I can never fully empathize with the hardships that a person of color experiences. But this inability to fully empathize does not mean I should do nothing.

What I can do is use my platform to teach self-love and self-compassion. Because your circle of influence starts with you. When you learn how to love yourself and be compassionate to yourself, you can slowly push that circle outward.

You have more power to help others. 

You have more space in your mind and heart to lift other people.

You can take that compassion and love for yourself and share it with others.

And in these times of social unrest, we need compassion more than ever because positive change is rooted in kindness and a willingness to help others.

I Empower YOU So You Can Empower Others

In my articles, I often talk about self-care. And I do my best to address women who are busy professionals and entrepreneurs.

The landscape has changed for women. We’re feeling overwhelmed with life more than ever.

But when we neglect our health, everything collapses. When women are burned out, unfulfilled, and unhappy, society declines.

That’s why  I use the various experiences and knowledge I’ve accumulated to empower you through self-care. Because self-care is what encourages you to be:

  • Physically healthy
  • Mentally sharp
  • Emotionally resilient

I want you to feel powerful so that you can make beautiful changes in your own life and have the strength and resources to create positive change in other peoples’ lives.

I empower you so that you can empower others.

In the comments below, use your voice now to share one thing you’re doing to create positive change in your own life and/or the lives of others.

Become an Ally

Spreading awareness about racial equality starts with becoming aware yourself. Begin with educating yourself about racial equality and anti-racism. After you do this, you can then learn how to use your resources to spread equality and compassion. 

And if you’re called to be an activist, you can use your white privilege to your advantage as you ally with those who suffer from racial prejudice and discrimination.

To learn more about racism towards people of color, here’s a list of anti-racist resources for becoming a white ally. If you haven’t already, help spread the message of Black Lives Matter and sign this public open letter to end racism and stop police brutality.

Also, sign up for my email list to receive valuable and actionable tips on self-care and living your best life — because creating positive change in other people’s lives starts with how you treat yourself.

Black Lives Matter: The Power of Hope, Solidarity and Taking Action

May 25, 2020.

This day marks the tragic day when George Floyd died. He and so many others — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor — are among those who suffered and died within a racist system.

Black Lives Matter.

This movement has become necessary to secure equality for all races, especially our black communities. Only a few weeks have elapsed since George Floyd’s passing; yet, Black Lives Matter has initiated many positive changes. Changes that may be small but also inspire my hope for a country that is more loving and more compassionate.

In this article, I share some of the victories Black Lives Matter has achieved, along with three critical life lessons I’ve learned from this remarkable movement.

The Amazing Progress We’ve Made After Only a Few Weeks

Black Lives Matter is raising awareness of the racism and discrimination targeted toward our black communities. Racism and inequality isn’t something we can turn away from. It’s an injustice we must face head-on and take action to rectify.

And it’s working.

We’re seeing positive change in people’s hearts and policy:

  • More people — especially white people — acknowledge that racism and white privilege indeed exist.
  • Black Lives Matter has gained global traction with supporters in Amsterdam, Germany, Canada, and more.
  • The Minneapolis police department banned chokeholds.
  • A “Duty to Intervene” policy was created in Texas to empower police officers to step in if a fellow officer uses excessive force — had the other three Minneapolis officers intervened, George Floyd might be alive today.
  • New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is updating their use of force policy guidelines for the first time in two decades.

I’m inspired by the outstanding strides the Black Lives Matter movement has made in such a short time. And within these incredible victories, I learned three valuable life lessons.

3 Valuable Life Lessons the Black Lives Matter Movement Taught Me

#1 The Power of Hope

I truly believe that hope for a better future is at the soul of every movement.

  • To end slavery
  • For the right for people of color to vote 
  • For women’s suffrage
  • For interracial marriage

Within each of these movements and countless others is the hope that what you’re doing matters. That what you’re doing will create the change you want to see — positive change that you, your children, and your children’s children will witness and experience.

Because anything worth doing is worth taking a stand for — worth taking action towards.

In my own life, I realize now that many of the things I worked for were achieved because I held onto hope.

You might recognize that it’s the same with you. Many of the accomplishments you’ve achieved are because you kept going. You held onto hope even when times got hard and when you felt like giving up.

And if you’re enduring hardship at this moment, remember the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is hope. And hope is a reminder that everything you’re working for has meaning. All you need to do is continue to trust and put one foot in front of the other.

#2 You Need Not Do It Alone

Ending racism is everybody’s responsibility. Click To Tweet

Racism and our country’s history are interwoven. And moving our society towards a future free from racism is not merely a mission of the black community.

Ending racism is everybody’s responsibility.

Because alone, we only have so much power. But in solidarity, we can move mountains. We can create positive change. We can build a future where people, as Martin Luther King Jr. says, “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

The solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement reminds me of the importance of strong relationships. Because close-knit, quality support systems will fortify you in adversity.

When you’re feeling helpless or powerless, your support systems remind you that:

  • You are not alone.
  • You are one woman and you need not carry the world on your shoulders.
  • You are worthy of aid and compassion and you can ask for help if you need it.

As women, we are empowered when we support and lift each other. If you have a mission in your life, cultivate relationships with women who share your values and goals — women who will help you achieve your goals and reach your fullest potential.

#3 Insight Must Be Paired With Action

The third lesson I learned from the Black Lives Matter movement is the value of taking action.

Since George Floyd’s passing, Black Lives Matter gathered support quickly. Americans swiftly took to the streets to protest racism and to demand equal treatment for black people. Black Lives Matter spread its message of equality in the news and our social media feeds.

Yet the Black Lives Matter movement did more than raise awareness. It encouraged action. And I learned of ways I could lend my support:

  • Letters I could sign
  • Causes I could donate to
  • Anti-racism resources to expand my education and awareness

Because insight and wisdom aren’t enough. These do little until you act on them.

So I hope this movement empowers you to take action in your own life. Sign up for my email list, read my articles, and apply what you learn. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, practice self-care.

Knowledge isn’t the destination. It’s a means to achieve your goals, whether that’s more work/life balance, being more conscious, or shaping a country that is more accepting and compassionate to all its citizens.

Acknowledge Your Progress

I understand that the fight for equality is far from over.

Racism still exists and there is so much work left to do.

Yet, I still believe in celebrating our victories.

We’re seeing real change. Updates to police procedures and bringing racism into the public discourse are worth celebrating.

It’s only the beginning, but I believe it’s an amazing start.

And so, I encourage you to stay hopeful, build strong relationships, and continue taking action within your circle of influence.

You have an essential role to play in the positive change you want to manifest within your own life and for your country.

What action step will YOU take to create positive change in your life and in the world? Let me know in the comments below.

Advocate for Human Equality and Compassion (But Don’t Forget Your Well-Being)

2020 has been relentless.

COVID-19 and self-quarantine have completely transformed our daily lives. Now, our country is in a state of outrage and despair. We hear the cries for justice from the Black Lives Matter movement. We bear witness to the awful injustices committed against our black communities.

It’s unbelievably disheartening.

The tragedy of George Floyd — along with  Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor — aches my heart and weighs heavy on my soul. And while we mourn their families and communities, I encourage you to do what you can within your circle of influence to inspire positive change.

Change Starts with Awareness

You can start by signing your name on this public open letter against racism and police brutality

Next, educate yourself. If you don’t know how or where to start, click here for a list of anti-racism resources, which include books, podcasts, and articles.

You can also have a frank conversation with your partner and children. As you learn more about the injustices committed against black people, share that insight with your family.

Then expand outward. Talk about it with your friends. Spread the message across your social networks.

Use your voice and your privilege to expose anti-black racism and amplify black voices.

Don’t Forget to Be an Advocate for Yourself

Being an advocate for others is an incredible thing.

As a white woman, I possess certain privileges that members of the black community don’t. I am in a position to use this privilege as a tool for good — to combat racism and raise the volume on issues I believe in.

But when you take a stand, you might feel compelled to stand on your platform forever. That you must do what you can 24/7, 100% of the time. Because if you don’t, it feels like you’re giving up.

But I learned that you can still support the causes you believe in and take time to be an advocate for yourself. You can step away and recharge.

Being an advocate for others and being an advocate for yourself aren’t mutually exclusive.

As you fight for the causes you believe in, your energy drains. And eventually, you need to step away and take time for yourself.

Being an advocate for others and being an advocate for yourself aren’t mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet

Step Away So You Can Come Back Stronger

#1 Let Go of the Guilt

Think about this.

How effective are you as an advocate when you’re exhausted?

How can you be compassionate towards others if you can’t direct it to yourself?

How can you think clearly when your mind is riddled with anxiety and stress?

When you feel guilty about stepping away, remember that you’re not a stone monolith. You’re not unwavering to the forces around you.

You’re human.

Your energy is finite and your well-being is vulnerable.

There are times when you need to step down and step away. And that’s okay.

Taking care of yourself is okay.

Advocating for yourself is okay.

So, let go of the guilt. And take the time you need to feel 100%, so you can do what you do best and support the causes you believe in.

#2 Go On a Digital Detox

There is only so much negativity you can consume before your body and mind begin to suffer. Very Well Mind discusses a study that found “using social media when you are in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration.”

That’s why I ask you to give yourself permission to tune it out.

Unplug from social media. Turn off the television.

You don’t need it every day.

Instead, find other outlets to spend your free time. Rediscover the joy of slower activities, like reading a favorite book or trying a new recipe in the kitchen.

Take some time for yourself. The rest of the world will be there when you are ready for it once again.

#3 Journal Your Emotions

Lately, I’ve been experiencing emotional turmoil. You might, as well.

You might have already been feeling loneliness in self-isolation. And now you feel horror over the pattern of racial injustice against black people that’s seen in the United States and around the world. Recent lootings and riots might even make you feel unsafe in your own home.

Right now, your emotions probably feel like a tangle of raw energy.

Journaling helps to sort those emotions. It finds the one string and unravels the mess, so you can better understand your thoughts and ease the burden in your heart.

If you need help getting started, here are a few journaling prompts to inspire you:

  • What am I feeling at this very moment?
  • How did the tragedy of George Floyd’s death affect me?
  • What are 5 actions I can take today that will help me feel more calm?
  • What are 5 short-term goals I want to achieve?
  • What is one long-term goal I want to prioritize?

#4 Prioritize Your Sleep

During these uncertain times, you may have developed increased anxiety and stress and might even be experiencing signs of burnout.

All of these can compromise your sleep quality. 

Do you have trouble going to sleep?

Are your thoughts racing when you pray for tranquility?

Are you waking up in the middle of the night?

Your sleep affects every moment of your waking life. Your energy levels. Your mood. How productive and effective you are.

It’s time to make sleep a priority. If you follow the above tips, you should see an improvement in your sleep quality.

Walking Toward a Better and More Compassionate Future

With the relentless media and chaos in our country, it’s no wonder you might be feeling overwhelmed with life.

Like me, you might feel compelled to speak out against injustice, like racism, in the world.  That’s amazing, and I encourage you to do so.

At the same time, I urge you to practice self-advocacy.

Advocate for yourself to become stronger and more resilient.

Advocate for yourself to become a better and healthier you.

Because the world can only heal and improve when we have stronger and more compassionate women in it.

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