The challenge of anxiety and depression during this time of grave uncertainty is real. Unfortunately, it’s entirely too easy to get swept up in the chaos of fear, doubt, and worry accessible all around us. 

So, how do we combat anxiety and depression during such a pandemic?

In order to answer this question, I want to share a brief story about one of the greatest physical challenges I faced about five years ago: the IronGirl. 

The IronGirl is a combination of swimming, biking, and running. The one I’m referring to took place in Columbia, Maryland. The swim wasn’t too challenging, but the hills on the bike ride were torture. 

Struggle Is Part Of The Process

As I struggled to get up the hills, I remembered wanting to be done already. Then, as women were flying past me, I decided to try something different. 

I started cheering for them and the most interesting thing happened. 

The more I cheered, the more energy I had, and the better I did. 

Stop Dreading And Start…

I stopped dreading the hills. Actually, I stopped even noticing the hills. I was so focused on cheering that nothing else seemed to matter. 

Just about two hours later, I finished that IronGirl strong. 

While an IronGirl pales in comparison to the challenge of COVID19, the same principles still apply. 

Here are 3 specific strategies for combating anxiety and depression during this pandemic:

  1. Cheer. Ya’ll have seen those billboards that say, “See Something, Say Something,” right? Well, let’s put the word “Great” after each part.“See something Great, Saying Something Great!

    Cheer for those who are doing good things around you.

    Three weeks into the pandemic, I saw an email inviting me to attend a free webinar on leading virtual meetings. I jumped at the opportunity, and boy am I happy I did. Dr. Amy Climer provided valuable information and she did so in a positive, upbeat manor. I was attracted to her glowing light of positivity during such a challenging time. And so… I signed up for her classes, and I keep cheering her on. Go Amy!

  2. Share positive stories. Jump on line and find some great stories of leaders who are performing remarkable acts of kindness, generosity, and courage. Then, share them with your team, family, and friends.Within a few short days of the “shelter in place order,” Medium Rare, a restaurant in Washington DC converted their serves into drivers, and their for profit-based business into a not-for-profit, serving meals to those in need who were quarantined. This caught media attention, inspiring countless leaders to step up and help others during this time.
  3. Note your gratitudes. What you focus on expands. Focus your time and energy on all you have to be grateful for.Here are a few of mine – I am deeply thankful for:Sunshine,
    Exercising outside,
    Plentiful healthy foods,
    A spouse I enjoy greatly,
    Adorable cats that are relentlessness in their neediness right now,
    Fresh farm eggs delivered to my door

What about you? 

Who are you cheering for? What positive stories are you sharing (please leave me a comment — I’d love to hear your stories)? What are you thankful for right now?

When we focus our attention on cheering, sharing positive stories, and recognizing what we have to be grateful for, we stand a greater chance of combating anxiety and depression throughout this pandemic and beyond.  

If you found this video to be helpful, please share it. Also, if you have additional ideas for combating decision fatigue, leave me a note below. 

Here’s to your greatness, 

Misti Burmeister

For nearly two decades, Misti Burmeister has empowered leaders with the confidence and tools to solve people problems, increasing productivity and engagement across generations. She is a best-selling author, TEDx Speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, and community advocate.