1. Health Care Providers Coping Strategies
  2. Sharing Negative Emotions
  3. Experiencing Positive Emotions
  4. Active and Palliative Coping Strategies
  5. Maintaining Social Supports
  6. Use of Spiritual Coping Strategies



Heaven Blessed: Watch Ramin Karimloo, Alfie Boe & More Sing ‘Bring Him Home’ in Support of Healthcare Workers


1. Health Care Providers Coping Strategies

RESEARCH FACTS: In the aftermath of traumatic and victimizing experiences, most individuals are impacted, but some 75% go onto evidence “resilience,” and the ability to confront and handle ongoing adversities. In fact, some go on to evidence “post-traumatic growth.”

“Misery is evident everywhere. A third of my fellow doctors and nurses are out sick.”

“The E.R. culture is really not to miss work. We know if we do not show up, somebody will have to work for me. I can’t let my fellow workers down.”

“It is like walking into a storm, but we are all fighting the good fight. It is a ‘team sport’.”

“I am a hands-on person and that is why I became an E.R. doctor/nurse.”

“I rely on my “battle-buddy” – my fellow worker who keeps tabs on me and for whom I do the same for him/her. We check on each other frequently at work and at home.”

“Besides the grimness, I try to keep my mood positive. I ask my colleagues how their family members are handling their stress? I ask them what they may need?”

“We need to look after each other. We have new Med students joining us, so we set up a buddy Mentor system.”

“We have end-of-shift ‘campfires’ – a kind of debriefing where we can give voice to our experiences, vent and problem solve.  We have created a kind of social support group.”

“I am not going to say, ‘Nothing bad will happen to me because I am doing good work. I am taking a chance. But it is something I have to do. I cannot always find a word for that’.”

“I am proud to work here. We are in a league of our own.”

“We want to serve the needs of our community.”


2. Sharing Negative Emotions

RESEARCH FACTS: Keeping one’s feelings to one’s self, and suppressing negative emotions makes things worse and can contribute to PTSD. Instead, expressing, accepting, tolerating, managing and sharing negative emotions bolsters resilience.

“Fear of uncertainty is the worst.”

“I am scared all the time, but I have learned to accept my feelings.”

“I feel expendable. There is no appreciable end in sight. No time to rest and recoup.”

“I feel like I am going into a slaughterhouse on a daily basis. This shakes my sense of security.”

“I cry every day at work.”

“I am terrified that if something happens to me, my children won’t have anyone to look after them.”

“Helpless, hopeless, powerless with no escape!”

“I am terrified of becoming unemployed, being without work.”

“I feel trapped at home.”

“My normal way of living has died. I am struggling with the uncertainty of the future.”

“My feelings act like a ‘channel selector’. When I feel fearful or sad, I tend to call up other such mood-congruent feelings. Then, I think about future worst world scenarios.  I am learning to change my emotional channels.”

“I try to name and tame my emotions. Turn down the volume of what I am experiencing. Having negative emotions is normal and healthy. What you do with these emotions is the key?”


3. Experiencing Positive Emotions

RESEARCH FACTS: Experiencing positive emotions such as compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, love, awe, humor, a sense of purpose can change the structure and function of the brain and the nature of social relationships.

“I hold onto all the gratitude that is directed at me. We are receiving donations of meals and supplies.”

“Everyone is rising to the occasion. Finding strength in the community.”

“Life is really fragile and short. I got a different perspective of life and death. I am  grateful for all that I have.”

“I do not have time for paralyzing fear.”

“Forgiveness and compassion toward others and toward myself are things I am working on. I have learned to forgive myself for all those I could not save.”

“I do not allow my emotions to ‘hijack’ my thinking part of my brain. I have learned how to talk back to my amygdala (the emotional lower part of my brain).”

“I am cultivating an acceptance of the virus and my feelings.”

“Even in the darkest of days, it behooves all of us to go above and beyond the call of duty to help others.”

“I do a lot of cheerleading for my staff. I did not realize this was a skill. It is.”

“Keeping a sense of humor is invaluable. I told my buddies that the virus is giving nature a break.”

“I created a ‘huddle of hope’ with my fellow nurses. We come together to share something positive that happened during our shift. We applaud and celebrate patients who leave.”

“When I get home after all the health precautions I take, my families’ hugs, give me emotional strength.”


4. Active and Palliative Coping Strategies

RESEARCH FACTS: There are two general class of stressors, namely, those that are potentially challengeable and those that are not challengeable.  There are two general classes of coping strategies, namely those that are direct-action problem-solving and those that are palliative and self-soothing. A kind of 2×2 arrangement. (Changeable VERSUS non-changeable stressors AND Active VERSUS Palliative coping strategies.)

Remember the Serenity Prayer
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

“Active coping is goal-directed, rather than avoidant efforts.”

“I use my IPAD or cell phone, so family members can have last words with their loved one’s. This is the hardest part of my job. It is heartbreaking.”

“I have to balance my life and work in new ways. I have to be planful.”

“I limit the amount of time I watch television, view social media, read papers, keep to reliable sources, to about one hour a day.”

“The name of the game is IMPROVISE, ADAPT, OVERCOME. Be flexible by necessity.  Take one day at a time!”

“My family are ingrained ‘workaholics’ and I do not see myself changing. I love challenges.”

“Follow a healthy routine – get outside, exercise, take time to connect, keep a journal, develop a hobby, get enough sleep. Do self-care.”

“When needed, I use distraction, my faith, acceptance strategies, especially for those stressors I cannot change.”


5. Maintaining Social Supports

RESEARCH FACTS: Social isolation and loneliness compromise the immune system and they contribute to heart disease and Alzheimer’s, and other physical and mental health disorders. Loneliness is worse than being a heavy smoker for your well-being.

“I look upon this as ‘physical distancing’, rather than as ‘social distancing! Keeping my physical distancing now, means I will be able to have safe, social contacts in the future.”

“I nurture and invest in social relationships. I try to be useful to others. I can text, email, call, Skype, join Internet exercise and yoga classes and chat lines on the Internet, use Zoom, watch Netflix movies with others, schmooze on the phone in order to lift the dreadful cloud of COVID-19 for a little time.  You have to ‘give in order to get’.”

“At 7 pm each evening, I join my neighbors applauding Health Care Providers. Sometimes we all sing or dance on our balconies.”

“I recognize that others are going through this as well.”


6. Use of Spiritual Coping Strategies

RESEARCH FACTS: The major way individuals cope with trauma and victimization in North America is to use some form of religion or spirituality. Their faith in a higher power and being a member of a shared religious group sustains them.

“I put myself in God’s hands and hope he will have pity on me and that I will not get the virus.”

“I tell God, ‘God please take care of me.’”

“Each day I say, ‘Thank you Lord for this day.’”

“I participate in religious services online, or on the television. I am still part of my community of believers.”

“My faith gives me strength.”

“I do Nature Therapy daily. Go for walks- review my nature videos and pictures.  Appreciate the awe of nature.”

“I find strength in being altruistic – a higher purpose in life.”

“This pandemic is God’s way of testing us. I will meet this challenge and become stronger.”

“When I drive home, I am constantly talking to myself and to a higher power. I keep asking questions for which there are no answers.”