Coping with Coronavirus Chaos: Managing Anxiety & Staying Productive During a Pandemic

By Dave Fox
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

April 17, 2020

I hosted my first Zoom webinar last week, entitled, “Coping with Coronavirus Chaos: Managing Anxiety and Staying Productive in the Midst of a Pandemic,” to talk about the emotional and mental challenges people are facing at this difficult time.

We had attendees from six continents. (The only un-represented continent was Antarctica. The penguins are apparently unfazed by social distancing.)

I’ve you missed the live stream, you can watch the webinar in its entirety below, or on YouTube. (And hey … if you like what I do, I’d be super appreciative if you’d subscribe to my channel.)

If you’re interested in a specific topic and don’t want to watch the full hour-and-40-minute video, you’ll find time markers beneath the video so you can jump to the sections that interest you.

If you’ve been struggling with coronavirus-related anxiety or productivity challenges, I’m putting together some low-cost, online group coaching sessions to help people deal with these issues. Learn more here.

If you are experiencing severe emotional distress, please contact a mental health professional in your area. In the United States, you can call the DISASTER DISTRESS HELPLINE to speak for free with a mental health counselor, 24 hours a day, at 1-800-985-5990.


If you are interested in a specific topic, you can click the time markers below. (These time codes will open YouTube in another window.)

0:00 – Pre-webinar introduction.

02:05 – Welcome – Dave’s experience as an expat living Vietnam during the coronavirus outbreak.

08:45 – Emotional challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

10:45 – Anxiety isn’t always bad. What’s the difference between productive and unproductive anxiety?

12:50 – The various ways people are experiencing anxiety related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

14:54 – Physical symptoms of anxiety: Yes, shortness of breath is a Covid-19 symptom. But it’s also an anxiety symptom.

16:32 – Putting anxiety in perspective: Anxiety is rooted in hypothetical situations.

18:35 – General tips for reducing anxiety.

20:00 – The way you breathe affects your stress-level. Here’s how some people cause their own mini-panic responses without realizing it – and the science behind why something as simple as deep breathing can reduce anxiety.

25:04 – Kreig in New Zealand explains the “box breathing” technique for calming your mind.

27:35 – The basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: How your internal stories trigger your emotions … and how you can use CBT techniques (even by yourself) to reframe your thinking.

37:00 – Byron Katie’s Four Questions: Another way to explore and reframe your inner stories.

42:12 – Dave coaches a webinar volunteer through Byron Katie’s Four Questions.

54:13 – How the media are feeding our coronavirus anxiety. (Yes, we need to stay informed, but how much information is too much information?)

1:00:00 – Q&A: Jessica asks: “How do you structure your day, bring a sense of normalcy to your environment” if you’re under a stay-at-home order?

1:03:25 – How to create a new routine if your normal routine has been thrown into chaos.

1:06:19 – Q&A: Ashley asks: “I would love to hear about any really effective techniques to calm down and be productive….”

1:09:47 – Q&A: Dave answers questions about entering the “gig economy” if you’ve lost your job or are temporarily out of work due to the coronavirus.

1:14:21 – Q&A: A rhetorical question from Adrienne: What will we learn from this?

1:16:08 – Q&A: Deb wants Dave to offer online writing courses on Zoom. :-)

1:23:28 – Kreig talks about the importance of seeking out new opportunities rather than letting stress dominate our free time.

1:25:30 – Positive ways to channel your energy if you’re feeling troubled by coronavirus politics.

1:28:45 – A mini celebration as we confirm live webinar attendees from six continents.

1:30:42 – Final thoughts: Stay informed but don’t let your stories spin out of control.

1:32:13 – What do do if your anxiety or depression are severe.

1:34:17 – Dave introduces his travel mascot, Sven Wondermoose and offers fun ways to stay connected with friends in a time of “social distancing.”

1:38:04 – How to learn more about Dave’s coaching services and online courses. 


Published on Friday, April 17, 2020

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