Recognizing Your Responses to COVID-19

“Tired, exhausted, rejuvenated, challenged, angry, expectant, off-kilter, thankful, stressed….” 

These words reflect staff responses given at the beginning of their weekly staff meetings. Responses to the “tell me how you’re feeling today using one word” prompt, recommended as a means of checking in with staff to stay abreast of their emotional reactions to the global pandemic.

This check-in process is important for several reasons:

  • * It conveys to employees that their employers really do care about them.
  • * It shows them that many of their coworkers feel the same way. 
  • * It indicates that there are no “right” or “wrong” feelings, people experience a range of emotions, which can change daily and even throughout the day.
  • * It can serve as a way to track how well they are coping week to week.

This global pandemic called COVID-19 is having an impact in ways that many people are unprepared for and it’s important to acknowledge for yourself what has caught you off guard and how your typical thoughts, feelings, reactions, and behaviors have changed.

It is also important to know that all of us experience a range of emotions and we respond in different ways and at different times. If you have not been feeling tired and confused, but instead feel well-rested, thankful, productive, and hopeful, this does not make you less caring as a person. There are simply individual differences in how we cope with threats.

In trying to understand people’s varied reactions, it’s important to recognize that many folks aren’t just responding to the possibility of contracting the COVID virus, many are also responding to their perceptions of what it means to have COVID-19. Others are responding to the prolonged nature of many of the restrictions, significant losses, and subsequent changes we’ve had to adopt. And that, for some, is where anxiety, stress, and even fear, comes in.

Written by Dr. Leslie Bessellieu. An executive coach and clinical psychologist, who helps leaders discover the most effective business solutions to facilitate change, engage employees, and boost organizational performance.

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