Coping in a Pandemic

For many high achievers the current pandemic has been especially difficult since we’re accustomed to solving problems, getting things done, and having a consistent routine. We can easily feel helpless, even hopeless, when faced with a problem that has no obvious solution (at least at the moment).

While there isn’t a handbook for functioning during a pandemic, here’s some wisdom for meandering our way through it from a post I recently read on Medium.

  • Accept that life is different right now
  • Expect less from yourself
  • Recognize the different aspects of grief
  • Experiment with “both-and” thinking
  • Look for activities, new and old, that continue to fulfill you
  • Focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships
  • Begin slowly building your resilience bank account

In my experience, it all starts with the operative word in that first bullet point … “accept.” Acceptance of “what is” (instead of resisting it and wishing for something else) has been an incredibly hard, albeit infinitely important, lesson for me thus far in 2020. Want more detail? Read Tara Haelle’s post.


  1. I think that the pandemic is teaching the high achievers to roll with the punches a little more. It’s difficult to not be able to control the situation we are all facing but with coping skills such as the ones listed and recognizing that our attention needs to adjust to things we can control such as strengthening our relationships, I think we will all get out of this stronger than before and hopefully more empathetic as well. Thanks @JeffThoren

  2. I love this list, especially the bullet about activities. I definitely have taken a mental hit with this year, but I found that doing something creative really helped me start regaining sanity. It felt really nice to return to something that I hadn’t been able to do for a while and it helped me feel a sense of normalcy again.

  3. I really appreciate the list of wisdom and activities to help maintain a positive mentality. As a second year when COVID-19 began, I had a difficult time adjusting to learning online. Accepting that as Veterinary students we were going to have to adapt to constantly changing schedules really boosted my mental health and outlook on the situation. Now that we are back in clinics things are changing weekly, it has been more difficult to remember to accept things as they come. I will definitely be implementing some of these suggestions to stay positive that we can all work through this together!

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