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The “Can Do!” Attitude: Managing Discomfort During Times of Uncertainty

By: Lindsay Gross | Mar, 24 2020
Health & Wellness

Given the current impacts of COVID-19 on our personal and professional lives we all seem to be left with some degree of discomfort. Whether it is being removed from our day to day work environment, being unable to socialize with friends and family, managing client’s distress in an uncertain market place or managing fear regarding the health and well-being of ourselves and those around us, we are all managing some degree of discomfort.

In addition, we are often being told by external influences what we cannot or should not do. The uncertainly of the world around us is bound to cause stress and even anxiety. This stress, anxiety and discomfort can manifest itself in various ways. Physical symptoms such as racing heart rates, headaches, stomach aches and insomnia can be signs of stress and/or anxiety. Other signs and symptoms can include: inability to focus or concentrate, racing thoughts and anger or irritability.

In these times, it can be helpful to identify ways we can best manage this physical and emotional discomfort. Every person is unique and may regulate their discomfort differently but there is one general rule of thumb to help us self-regulate during these times of discomfort. 

Focus on what you can do! The stress and anxiety that comes from uncertainty can lead to us feeling a loss of control. Focusing on all the things we can do to help ourselves or others can help to reduce those feelings of discomfort. Follow these steps below to help identify what you can do.


1. Think back to a time you have felt this way or were managing a stressful time in your life.

2. Identify what positive actions you took to help manage and reduce your level of discomfort? Some examples might be “talked to a friend” or “went for a walk”.

3. Write it down!

4. Think about what you did next.

5. Write it down!

6. Repeat this process until you run out of actions.

7. Next, think of an additional time you managed stress and anxiety and the positive actions you took to manage it.

8. Continue to write these positive actions until you have a list of 10 to 12 ideas of positive actions you CAN DO to help manage your physical and emotional discomfort.


As you look at the list which action seems the most feasible? What needs to be modified to fit our current environment? Which one can you do right now? What will you do next?

In these uncertain and stressful times, I encourage you to embrace the “can do!” attitude to navigate any discomfort that results. Make your list! Check one off! Focus of what you can do!

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