Programme: Coping with Corona for healthcare professionals

1. Learn the difference between concern, influence and responsibility.

Reading time: 5 minutes.

It is important to focus on the things you can control. You cannot control what will happen in the future, how the virus will develop, or what the consequences may be for patients, loved-ones, colleagues and society. It is also not possible to control your emotions - anxiety, negativity and stress simply cannot be avoided in this situation.


You probably feel as though you want to save the world and tackle this situation head-on, but there are limits to what you can influence. If you take on responsibility for something which you cannot possibly influence, you will waste a lot of precious energy and you will be fighting a losing battle. Focusing on awareness of what you can and cannot influence can help to provide peace and insight as well as ensuring that your energy is used for the right purposes - both literally and mentally. This calls for a conscious change in the way you think about and handle a situation. 

The Circle of Concern encompasses concerns we may encounter that influence us but which we have no control over. We feel concerned about the situation, the people involved and the consequences, but there is nothing we can possibly do to change anything. Some examples of these concerns are the number of patients you need to care for or the medical supplies available in your department. The Circle of Influence encompasses concerns that we can do something about and things we can influence. For example, we can  find ways to relax or distract ourselves after a particularly intense day at work, or we can ensure that we communicate well with our colleagues.

This shows that you can influence things to a certain extent, even in this extremely challenging situation. It is quite natural to feel very concerned about things which you cannot control. But we know that this drains your precious energy reserves - energy that you really need to conserve at this time. 

This diagram shows some examples of things that you can control and things that you cannot control:


Answer these questions about the diagram above and share your answers with your online psychologist, a friend, colleague or someone you are close to:

  • Things you cannot control: Do you recognise any aspects of your personal situation in the diagram? Can you think of any aspects of your personal situation that you could add to the diagram?
  • Things you can control: Can you think of any aspects of your personal situation that you could add to the diagram? 
  • Does this give you insight into your situation? 

There is also a Circle of Responsibility. This lies within your Circle of Influence. But it is important to be aware that you are not responsible for all the things that you can influence - you need to be sure that you conserve your energy for the things you are personally responsible for.


Reflect & connect

Answer these questions and share your answers with your online psychologist, a colleague of somebody close to you:

1. Look at the things you can control and identify which of these things are your responsibility.
2. Are you feeling concerned about things which you are not personally responsible for?
3. Does this offer you insight into your situation? 

Would you like professional advice?


Contact our psychologists today to discuss the effects of Corona on your mental health.


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