Practical Steps for Reducing Pandemic Stress

During the pandemic, stress levels have been heightened for everyone. Without an intentional plan to nurture ourselves, we can struggle to resume our routines with resilience. While working from home during the pandemic, I developed a simple approach to coping with this intense stress. I call this approach The Five Rs, and I continue to practice each one.

Begin with Recognition. In this step, I acknowledge to myself and others that this is a difficult time and I am hurting, anxious and afraid.

The next step is to Reach In. I ask myself, “What and who do I need right now in order to cope?”

After evaluating what I need to cope, I Reach Out to harness tools and resources for my specific needs. During this step, it is crucial to cultivate an action plan. My action plan includes daily exercise, healthy meals, lots of teas, reading Scripture, finding a quiet space for prayer and meditation, trust in God’s presence, reading sacred books to lift the spirit, utilizing inspirational internet resources and staying connected with friends and family.

Another important step is to Reminisce. In this step I recollect positive coping strategies that I have used in the past and creatively employ them to cope in the present.

The last step is Resilience. I’m reminded that in John 10:10 Christ said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

Healing is a choice. Practicing these simple approaches empowers me to handle stress well during difficult times and allows me to bounce back with strength, hope and peace.

Featured in: September/October 2021