How to cope during challenging times

How to cope during challenging times

Kylie Thomas, Managing Director of DreamStoneHR, has created this article as part of our Locimo Experts series.

If the last year or so has made anything clear, it’s that a sense of calm in your life is never guaranteed. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the world. It’s created uncertainty through health concerns, unemployment and distance from family and friends.


It also serves as a reminder that turbulent times tend to come at unexpected moments. This means it’s in your best interests to better understand the mechanisms that can help you find a sense of calm during challenges. It’s rarely easy. But it’s good to know how to cope during challenging times. And it’s vital to stop you from burning out regardless of where those challenges come from.


Acknowledge the Challenges

Ignoring difficult situations sounds tempting, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, ignoring them won’t help you find that sense of calm. We’re better off accepting difficult situations and learning ways to manage them.


So, what are some coping mechanisms?

Let’s take a look at how we can cope with turbulent times:

1. Only read, watch or listen to the news when you want to. That means turn off push notifications on your phone. And set aside only an hour per day to stay informed from credible, balanced sources. The World Health Organisation is one example.

2. While you can’t be together physically, stay socially connected using technology. Keep in touch with loved ones by phone, text and video applications such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.

3. It’s normal to feel anxious due to how much attention and seriousness is given to the pandemic. Try not to avoid, ignore or suppress anxious thoughts. Instead, be aware of your anxiety and accept that you’re feeling anxious in this situation. Try to keep things in perspective. Notice and challenge your thoughts that may be extreme or unhelpful.

4. Do something good or helpful to others. Research shows that doing things for others strengthens our own mental health. Check on your neighbours, elderly parents and friends. Ask them how they’re doing and if they need help. It might be picking up groceries, medications and other important household items.

5. Stay connected with the outdoors. If you’re not required to self-isolate for 14 days, consider going out for exercise and enjoy the scenery. Remember to abide by social distancing rules and consider exercising during off-peak times.

6. Routines can help reduce mental fatigue. So getting up at your usual time and following your normal morning routine can be helpful. Eating healthy, drinking water and getting plenty of sleep are also important factors.

7. You don’t need to leave your property to get some physical exercise. There’s stuff around the home you could do for that. Things like housework, walking up and down stairs, raking leaves, cleaning the yard or mowing the lawn.

8. Practice mindfulness, meditation or yoga to help you stay grounded and focused. This is a great thing to do when you begin to feel stress and worry in your body. Look for signs like shortness of breath and tightening in the chest. Some ideas include keeping a gratitude journal, deep breathing exercises or grounding exercises. These may help you focus on things in the present so you feel safe.

9. Take time to organise your home. Organise your pantry, cupboards or closets. Perhaps there’s something around the house you’ve been putting off for a while. Accomplishing such a task may reduce stress and anxiousness.

10. Is your anxiety causing you significant distress? Or is it interfering with your ability to function normally? Then visit your GP to have a chat about it.

A note from Locimo

For any advice or treatment of a mental health condition, always seek professional and qualified advice. If you are concerned about your own safety or of someone else, call 000 immediately. Lifeline offers 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention and can be reached on 13 11 14.

About the Author


Kylie Thomas is the Managing Director of DreamStoneHR. They are an agile HR Consulting Services dedicated to providing commercial solutions to growing businesses.

Kylie’s background is quite varied with close to 20years of experience within the generalist HR space.