Mastering Your Emotions in the Age of COVID-19

Kenneth Berger
6 min readMar 13, 2020

Often emotion sits in the background of our consciousness, present but not fully acknowledged. With the rise of the novel coronavirus, the experience of fear and other emotions is suddenly becoming all too conscious for many of us. How many of these do you recognize in yourself, your friends, family, or colleagues?

  • Fear: of shortages of food and supplies, of isolation and cabin fever, of panic and chaos, of lack of childcare, of lost wages and financial insecurity, of the unknown, of sickness or death.
  • Guilt or Shame: from not being better prepared, from losing your cool, from not washing your hands enough, from potentially infecting others, from not being there for elderly relatives or other at-risk groups.
  • Sadness or Anger: at all the changed or cancelled plans, at others’ lack of concern or care, at others’ panic, at the lack of testing and other preparedness measures, at the poor governmental response, at the problematic US healthcare system, at the reality of massive suffering, at the coming loss of many lives.
  • Relief: that people are finally taking serious preventative measures, that you have childcare figured out, that you’re fully stocked on food and supplies, that you’re young and healthy, that your lifestyle already minimizes your risk of infection.

Suffice to say there are plenty of good reasons to be feeling strong emotions at this moment in history. As an executive coach, a big part of my practice is helping others process their emotions—and often the first challenge is bringing those emotions from the background to the foreground, from the unconscious to the conscious. So now that emotions are firmly in foreground thanks to COVID-19, you have a unique opportunity to learn how to handle them in a healthy way.

  1. Name your emotions to process them consciously
  2. Check the facts before acting on your emotions
  3. Share your emotions to build trust and connection

Name Your Emotions to Process Them Consciously

Without conscious articulation and processing, emotions tend to manifest themselves in unpredictable ways. If it’s a mild emotion that might be fine: slight nervousness manifesting…

Kenneth Berger

Executive coach and tech veteran specializing in finding permanent solutions to the pain of startup leadership.