Combat stress with these constructive COVID-19 resources
The “brutal facts” of our current reality can cause stress. A barrage of COVID-19 information can be difficult to assimilate or prioritize when it is most needed to help manage uncertainty and reduce stress. Here is a curated list of resources.
Stockdale’s Paradox during a pandemic
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”Admiral James Stockdale
The Stockdale Paradox, the persistent belief in an eventual positive outcome while simultaneously accepting the crisis reality as it actually exists, can be a guiding template for positive coping in this stressful situation of global distress. Stockdale’s mindset combats stress by framing problems as temoprary situations that can be addressed or ameliorated by personal action. That action may include behaviors like creating a positive home environment, maintaining optimal health behaviors, or other meaningful activities that help one persevere through a time of crisis.
According to the American Psychological Association, positive emotions bolster resiliency diring crisis. Meaningful activity can help cultivate resilient coping and a more balanced emotional state during difficult periods. These actions may include talking, cleaning, meditating, exercising, organizing, cooking, crafting, writing, and many others. Here’s a helpful list of 60 behaviors that may help to reduce stress and increase coping.
Stress and the COVID-19 experience
- Change = stress
- Altered daily routine = stress
- Uncertainty = stress
- Pandemic = stress
- Isolation = stress
- Scarcity = stress
- Fear of illness or death = stress
There is no question that people are facing multiple stressors right now. The question is, how to best deal with it while promoting metabolic health?
What helps reduce stress?
Stress busters are two-fold:
- Information, the “brutal facts” Admiral Stockdale refers to. Information helps us come to terms with the reality of the situation, and from there formulate positive action.
- Support and self-care, which help fortify faith in our capacity to withstand and grow as a result of this Covid-19 crisis.
Information to help COVID-19 stress
Here is a curated list of whom I follow across various media platforms for valid COVID-19 information. This list was curated by vetting for credibility and an absence of political overshadowing.
Primary sources are those who are on the cutting edge of research, practice, and policy. They are credible wellsprings of iinformation.
COVID-19 primary resources
- @Laurie_Garrett – Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist. Former senior fellow Council on Foreign Relations.
- @DavidrLiu MD – Harvard professor. Integrates chemistry & evolution to illuminate biology and enable new therapeutics.
- @Craig_A_Spencer – MD. Masters in Public Health. Director Global Health in Emergency Medicine Columbia University.
- @Neil_Ferguson – Infectious disease modeller/epidemiologist. Director of J-IDEA and the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis.
- @Florian_Krammer – Professor Microbiology Icahn School of Medicine. Virus and vaccine specialist.
- @PulmCrit – Josh Farkas, MD Intensive care physician.
- @T_Inglesby – Tom Inglesby. Director Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
- @PSampathkumarMD – Priya Sampathkumar. MD Chair, Infection Control Mayo Clinic.
- @AdamJKucharski – Mathematician/epidemiologist. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
- @PeterHotez – Peter Hotes, MD, PhD Vaccine Scientist. Professor Baylor School of Medicine.
Online source of COIV-19 information
Online sources to facilitate coping
- Advancing Psychiatry at PsychologyToday.com by Chris Palmer, MD. This is a three part series on coping with COVID-19. Chris Palmer, MD, Harvard psychiatrist says, “Don’t waste these difficult days” of physical distancing. Use them to reflect, learn, and grow. He notes that finding your purpose and meaning is one key to coping.
- The National Alliance on Mental illness has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 guide. It addresses a variety of topics from loneliness to smoking, from working from home to anxiety. It is information packed.
- The Child Mind Institute supports families with information and twice daily Facebook video chats with mental health professionals.
- American Psychological Association Pandemics – General Resources APA
- Caroline Bologna, How To Care For Your Kids’ Mental Health During The COVID-19 Pandemic – Experts share ways parents can help their kids cope with social distancing, Huffington Post, 31.3.2020
- Ana, PsychologyAndLove on Instagram, posts helpful information on mental health, self-care and mindfulness.
Our fellow volunteer, Mani, a retired submarine commander, suggests the following actions to optimize your experience of this time and I documented them with some resources that may interest you:
- Breathing (Andrew Weil, MD teaches us a relaxing breathing exercise, the 4-7-8 breathing technique)
- Walking/Running (research shows exercise to be an effective antidepressant, read this overview article, Prescribing exercise for depression)
- Fresh air (Florence Nightingale had it right, fresh air is beneficial, see what the University of Virginia School of Nursing has to say about it.)
- Improving posture (Good posture enhances health.)
- Stretching/yoga (Yoga is a well studied way to relieve stress, see what the Mayo clinic has to say about it.)
- Going outside and getting sunshine (Here’s a study that describes the benefits of outdoor time on activity level and sleep, being outside benefits them both!)
- Massage (Here’s the Mayo clinic again, this time explaining the benefits of massage for stress.)
- Napping (Here’s an explanation of napping’s many benefits from stress relief to mood elevation.)
- Cuddling and touch (Touch provides with support, stress relief, and even immune system fortification.)
- Gardening (Is a productive form of stress relief that combines physical activity, mindfulness, and outdoor time.)
Facing the cruel reality and simultaneously having an unshakable faith in a positive outcome is a mindset given to us by the Stockdale Paradox. A mindset that is a useful guide for our experience with COVID-19 and it’s societal impacts. Face the facts, fortify yourself, and move toward triumph.
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