There ARE things you can do to decrease stress and increase resilience

I went on my first trip to China in December 2019. I was scheduled to speak at several different venues, including a hospital, a middle school and as a featured speaker at the China Quality Education Development Forum. I had an amazing time and developed several strong friendships with new colleagues. I fell in love with the country and the people (and ate amazing food the whole time!)

Less than a month after my return, news of the Coronavirus hit the media. I closely watched the spread of this disease in China, fearing for my new friends and all those suffering. Given the global nature of our world, it seemed inevitable that the Coronavirus would spread, although I never imagined the degree of this global pandemic.

I’m a clinical psychologist, and I wanted to share important information on psychological wellness and stress management with my friends in China who were facing months of quarantine, so I created a free course on resilience in difficult times.

Because as humans, we will always encounter stressors and challenges. Hopefully we, our world, will not continue to experience new events that are as catastrophic and far-reaching as the current public health crisis. But in this moment we have an opportunity to survive and grow — through developing our skills of resilience.

I’ve created a free mini-course, Resilience in Difficult Times that you can access HERE. There’s no catch. I’m not collecting your email address or any other information. It’s a gift, because one act that supports and strengthens resilience is helping others.

The course includes legitimate, scientific and psychological links (CDC, American Psychological Association, etc); videos (because in the time of social distancing it helps to see another person speaking); information on steps you can take to strengthen your resilience and decrease stress and anxiety; and relevant downloads.

Here’s a couple of suggestions (there’s more in the course):

1. Create a routine — it’s not a “new normal” until you have defined what your normal is, so be thoughtful of what your goals are at this time.

2. The basics will never change — eat well, sleep well, move your body, breathe. The amount of physical and psychological evidence for these four pillars of resilience is enormous.

3. Stay in touch. We need each other. We are a species that relies on connection and relationship. So reach out to someone, and share a joke or a silly story. Try to cut down the amount of time you spend talking about the scary stories you are hearing and seeing.

4. Laugh, laugh and laugh again. Laughter really is the best medicine, increasing dopamine, helping you to feel better (and strengthening your resilience muscles).

5. Get fresh air. It’s energizing and refreshing. Follow the guidelines of your city/town/state, but lift your face to the sun at least once a day for a few minutes.

Mental wellness is important for every human being. And having a plan of action and specific actions to take increases agency — the sense that you can make choices and have an impact on yourself and your environment. HERE is a link to the free mini-course — please feel free to share with others, stay well and stay safe, and take action to master your resilience.

These may seem like simple steps. You may wonder if it’s even worth doing. It is. There’s a reason you keep hearing the same things from experts. We often underestimate the value of these steps, but they are the core of resilience. And right now, that’s something we all need.


  • Kristina Hallett, PhD, ABPP

    Board Certified Clinical Psychologist, Speaker,“Stress-Smart” Expert, and Author

    Dr. Kristina Hallett is a Board-Certified Clinical Psychologist, TEDx Speaker, and Associate Professor of Psychology with over 25 years of experience working with organizations and individuals. She offers a fresh look at our commonly held beliefs about well-being, serving as a catalyst for change by inviting shifts in mindset, perspective and everyday practices. She speaks internationally in several areas –resilience,  radical self-care, harnessing the positive power of stress, and living your best life through self-compassion. Dr. Hallett is the author of two international best-sellers: Own Best Friend: Eight Steps to a Life of Purpose, Passion, and Ease and Be Awesome: Banish Burnout, Create Motivation from the Inside Out, and hosts the popular podcast Be Awesome – Celebrating Mental Health and Wellness. She is active in the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology, the National Speakers Association, and the American Psychological Association and is frequently featured on national platforms such as NBC, U.S. News and World Report, MindBodyGreen, Reader’s Digest, and the American Psychological Association.