To Weather the Storm

Dr Susan Chan

We have been deeply affected by COVID-19, and the evidence is clear. Around a third of adults and young people said their mental health had deteriorated over the last two years. We have a real problem… loneliness, insomnia, anxiety, trauma, lack of personal care, and a general feeling of helplessness.

Dealing with Stress, Trauma and Anxiety
Stress can affect us all in different ways. A little stress, they say, is good. It increases the levels of hormones flooding through the body, and this improves thinking and performance. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, can increase the mobilisation of energy sources. Too much of it isn’t good. In the animal world, we talk about the ‘fight or flight’ response. But there is a point where stress levels increase beyond the body’s ability to deal with it, and performance drops quickly, and people feel overwhelmed. So, how can we be strong and overcome the negative aspects of stress?

Relaxation and the Mind
Have you ever noticed how it seems as if your brain won’t switch off? Also, your ‘inner voice’ is constantly nagging and criticising you, and you can’t get to relax. You can use a combination of modern psychological techniques and relaxation methods to improve your general feelings of happiness and motivation. What can you start today to start the process of healing?

12 tips on dealing with stress, trauma and anxiety:
When you are under stress, stop what you are doing and apply any of the following:

  • Stop worrying about the past… think about today. You can influence the future, but stop worrying about things you have no control over.
  • Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? It may not be so bad.
  • Remind yourself that you are hurting your body. Take ten minutes out.
  • Do not let the trivia get to you. It is trivia!
  • Laugh at yourself. Make decisions and act on them. Share your fears and tears with someone close to you.
  • Practice a range of relaxation exercises, including mindfulness techniques, visualisation, and deep breathing exercises.
  • Please return to the sources of being overwhelmed and act on them.
  • Cut back on the caffeine and alcohol, and watch what you eat.
  • Listen to music or exercise… whatever you do to relax the mind.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or writing on social media platforms.
  • It is so important to re-connect with your loved ones and your community.
  • Try to establish a routine at night to relax before going to sleep.

    Remember that it is easier to overcome the symptoms of stress, trauma and anxiety with a healthy body and a healthy mind.

    Also, if you are a parent or a carer, then remember that your own needs matter. To be able to look after others, you must take care of yourself.

    Visit for more information, or send an email to