Emotional Resilience during the Coronavirus

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Emotional Resilience during the Coronavirus


As the news about the pandemic becomes grimmer many of us are experiencing a variety of negative emotions. We feel anxiety in response to the uncertainty of the situation; sadness related to losing our daily sources of meaning and joy; and anger at whatever forces are to blame for bringing this upon us. It’s normal to be anxious about the upending of life as we know it. As our lives have dramatically changed overnight, many are struggling with finding ways to deal with the new reality. RAFT believes increasing our mental health resilience can help us weather this crisis.

Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last or how long it will be until we can resume our regular lives. Many are worried that they may be laid off and lose their livelihoods. Uncertainty of the situation creates a high level of stress. Our typical ways of de-stressing, such as working out in a gym, watching sports, meeting for happy hours with co-workers or hanging out with groups of friends, have largely come to a halt.


1. Accept Negative Emotions

Acknowledge anxious thoughts and emotions will show up during this time.

Accept them rather than trying to push them away or escape them.

Accept feelings of sadness from the loss of our regular ways of living, worries about lack of supplies or concerns about kids getting cabin fever.

Research has shown that avoiding emotions make them stronger and last longer.

Consider accepting these negative emotions, embracing physical reactions to stress and describe them without judgment and let them go. This is an example of mindfulness, which has been consistently linked to healthy mental health.

2. Create New Routines

Plan and execute new routines that connect you to what really matters in life helps foster good mental health.

Establish structure, predictability and a sense of purpose with new routines. It’s crucial to maintain regular wake-up times, grooming and meal times. Where and how everyone works and plays at home should be planned (with flexibility, of course!)

When work is done, focus on activities to enrich your life. For example, this may be a perfect time to learn the guitar you’ve had sitting in a closet, learn a foreign language or teach children life skills, such as cooking, laundry, balancing a checkbook, etc. These lessons will make them more resilient as they go off to college or move away from home.

3. Reinvent Self-Care

Continue to engage in exercise, healthy eating and safe socializing. Those activities are strongly linked to emotional well-being.

Try to maintain a regular schedule of self-care each day.

Even if you haven’t engaged in self-care before the pandemic, look into walking around your neighborhood, using apps for home exercise or facetiming friends. New routines give you mental strength.

Use nature. Studies show that spending time in nature, whether you are hiking or gardening impacts mental health.

4. Reflect, Relate, Reframe

Use this as an opportunity to deepen relationships with family and beyond. Starting a book club, watch movies together, start a neighbor trivia night allows you have frequent and deeper conversations with others.

Use audio and video technology to stay in touch with others.

Take this time to check in with yourself. Slow down and reflect on the life you have. Ask yourself questions: Do your priorities reflect what matters to you? What brings your life joy? What do you want out of life and what are you willing to do to achieve it?

5. Stress Can Be Beneficial

Experiencing stress and negative emotions can have positive consequences. Research shows that people who go through very difficult life experiences can emerge from them with a stronger sense of psychological resilience, rekindled relationships and a renewed appreciation of life.


Adapted from Dr. Jelena Kecmanovic, founding director of the Arlington/DC Behavior of Therapy Institute



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Innovative Geriatric
Mental Health Services


The RAFT program provides intensive mental health services to individuals in Long Term Care Facilities, as well as education, training and consultations for Long Term Care Communities, Community Providers and others in the community to develop the skills and knowledge base to successfully understand and work with individuals with Mental Health and Dementia Diagnoses.


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