Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Building resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic

10/15/2020 by Olivia Bogucki, Ph.D., and Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D.


Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, stress levels have been increasing. Among other things, this stress is related to uncertainty, information overload, and disruptions in daily routines.

Stress is a normal, healthy human response. It is also motivating. That means it helps people be more aware of their surroundings, get ready to take action, and plan and prepare for the future.

Some common ways the body and mind show stress include: 

  • Emotionally, such as anxiety, fear, irritability, and sadness.
  • Physically, such as sleep problems, tension, and fatigue.
  • Thinking, such as worry, rumination, and racing thoughts.
  • Behaviorally, such as avoidance, social withdrawal, and seeking reassurance.

Always keep in mind that what goes up does come down. Stressful times do come and go. When things are feeling more uncertain, try to focus on those things you can control.

Mayo Clinic has developed an interactive module of active steps that you can take to cope with the stress caused by COVID-19. This interactive module focuses on building resiliency through healthy habits, social activities and media use, worry and mood management, and relaxation training. In each module, you will have access to videos to help you learn more about the topic. In addition, each module includes a prompt to help you set relevant goals.

It is recommended that you work through each section of the interactive module week by week to give yourself enough time to practice the skills and work toward your goals. However, it is self-guided and should be completed at whatever pace works best for you. You can access the interactive module here.

Final thoughts

Time and experience will help move things from being uncertain to being more certain. Know your limits. Keep track of your overall stress level and those things that help relieve it. If you find you are having difficulties coping, reach out to your health care team for resources and to discuss additional treatment options.

Olivia Bogucki, Ph.D., is a clinical health psychology fellow in Primary Care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Mayo Family Clinic Kasson in Kasson. 

Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Primary Care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Mayo Family Clinic Kasson. He co-chairs the Division of Integrated Behavioral Health.