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COVID-19 Stress and Anger

People are stressed from a multitude of issue that has recently occurred due to COVID-19. Financial struggles, lack of hygiene items, social distancing, and loss of jobs are just a few of the stressors most people are currently facing. Many families are working and schooling from home. They are placed in stressful situations and unable to get out of the situation without any expected end date, building stress to an ultimate high. Add the loss of a job to the other stressors, and you could have a person who is ready to explode. Child abuse, verbal abuse, threats, domestic battery, and other violent acts are worrisome side effects of these environmental stressors.

Know your anger

Anger is a feeling that ranges from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Know what angers you. What are your signs? When you encounter an event that provokes your anger, and you know the warning signs that you are getting angry, it will help you monitor your anger. Aggression is the behavior that is intended to cause harm or injury to another person, thus leading to child abuse and domestic battery. Some strategies you can place in your toolbox can include timeouts, deep breathing exercises, and thought stopping.


Timeout is stepping back in the heat of the moment, taking a few deep breaths, and thinking instead of reacting. Leave the situation or stop the discussion that is provoking the anger. Release tension that you may have in your body by focusing on your breathing. Take several deep breaths, and try to release tension in your body. You can practice this exercise as often as you like.

Self-talk (what you tell yourself) can bring unkind thoughts and unwanted behavior when you are angry. Do not feed these thoughts as it will reinforce the unkind thoughts to grow in vividness and frequency. Ultimately the self-talk provokes one to act on the unkind thought. Instead stop the unkind thought from forming and use your timeout technique, the deep breathing exercises, or any other preventative technique that is available to you. Each time the unkind thought pops in tell yourself to “STOP!” The goal is to stop the angry thought before it leads to loss of control.

Understand conflict resolution by identifying the problem; identify your feelings (frustration, hurt, annoyance); identify the outcome of the problem; decide to resolve the problem or let it go. If you plan to resolve the conflict, address the conflict, describe how you see it, express your feelings about it, and discuss how it can be resolved.

Find and receive support from others reach out and talk to someone. Even if you can’t have a face to face conversation with a peer, reach out remotely and have a discussion.

What can we do

What can we do to help our employees, families, and friends to help them cope during this pandemic? Working from home is a new experience for me, as I am sure it is for many of us currently during COVID-19 pandemic. I miss working in my office where I have all the tools that I need and resources within arms’ reach.

However, while things are not as easy as it would be in the office, I am managing quite well. My employer is very supportive with daily updates, providing tools needed, giving helpful resources, and contact information. My employer has been very strategic in transparency, encouragement, and support.

Be that person for somebody else. Reach out and call someone to see how they are coping and listen.

Angela Sheppard is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She started working with the State Attorney’s Office 23 years ago. She first started as the receptionist and then progressed to the Diversion Program Director. While in her current position, she has shown initiative in community outreach activities, advocacy in prevention, and revitalizing programs. While working with the State, she has earned her Public Administration Master Degree, Certification as a Certified Florida Family Mediator, and a Graduate Certificate for Human Resource Policy Management. Angela spends her spare time volunteering as Board Chair with AMIKids, a non-profit school. She enjoys enrichment programs such as GovLoop.com and other educational media.s

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