Mental strength in challenging times

31. March 2020 / general
resilience

Many of you are probably in the exact same position as me: You are stuck at home 24/7. Cooped up – in many cases with children who are supposed to be doing home schooling but need help even though their parents need to work. Add to that the uncertainty about the impacts that the coronavirus could have on our health, our financial situation, and the economy and society as a whole. Is there something that can help us to get through these challenging times?

My life has changed beyond all recognition in the last few weeks. There are four of us at home (my daughters, aged 8 and 10, my husband and I – and of course our two cats). Things get a little tense at times, since we are living on top of each other. My workshops have been cancelled until the middle of the year, I am only offering coaching online, and new clients are few and far between. Until recently, I had so much work to do that I had to turn down assignments – and now this! The value of our investments has also declined. Additionally, there is the worry that we or other family members could potentially get infected. We now only see my 79-year-old mother and my 89-year-old mother in law when we communicate online.

This is a frightening situation. A whole series of different concerns are coming together, with the inevitable consequences. After all, these various worries create fertile ground for arguments. In China, which is a few weeks ahead of us in terms of the development of the corona outbreak, the number of household disputes and divorces has soared. Patrick Fassbind, who heads the Child and Adult Protection Authority of the City of Basel, summed up the situation when he told the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung that the potential for disputes is, in some ways, currently twice as high – since many people are coming under greater pressure and the impacts are almost entirely focused on their home life.

Tips for mental strength

People behave very differently when they find themselves in a crisis situation. Some are in denial about the situation (“It’s not really that bad”), others are resigned, and some panic, become aggressive or take more addictive substances – losing some form of control. However, none of these are effective coping strategies to help us get through the current situation in the best way possible. So what options are available to help us deal constructively with these developments? The most important thing is mental strength – in order words, it is about finding the right attitude to adopt in the current situation:

 

 

Thomas W. Albrecht, an Austrian coach and speaker, aptly summed up the situation as follows:
“The problem is usually not the problem itself but the way we deal with it.” I hope that you have enough tools to help you take the current matter in hand. There are so many things you can do to master this challenging situation as effectively as possible. Fortunately, mental strength is a something you can learn.

 

© Claudia Kraaz

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