Coping, confidence, and coronavirus



Focus on your self-efficacy to get through these trying times

Focus on your self-efficacy to get through these trying times


It's a term used equally for children with special needs and for adults grappling with life challenges. Self-efficacy is defined as “our confidence to perform well in a particular part of our life,” according to Melissa Hladek, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing who studies stress and resilience.

Whether you're working at home while your children learn online or dealing with the loss of a job or simply confronting the tension of shopping in a store full of masked people, you have the ability to cope with the difficulties the pandemic throws at you. Hladek suggests the following ways to increase your sense of self-efficacy during this period of upheaval.

Personal Mastery. Recall past experiences that required you to grapple with difficult situations. Although you probably have not lived through a pandemic before, you can apply lessons from other experiences to this situation. Remember that you have mastery and mobilize it for the present. 

Positive Modeling. We can learn from other people as we observe them dealing with the pandemic in their own ways. Go to your network of friends and acquaintances and ask for advice, particularly from those who are dealing with similar problems. They may have stories to relate, or they can point you to resources. 

Coaching. Although the whole world seems to have changed, the pandemic involves specific challenges that people have dealt with before: social isolation, financial difficulties, health anxieties. Break your situation down into its component parts and seek out people who specialize in those issues. Don't forget that your past experiences have given you expertise in some of these areas, and you can help others. The more we come together and support each other, the more confident we will feel.

Listening to your body. Pleasurable or painful sensations in your body often come from emotions that you can access by paying attention to the physical feelings. Pause to focus on the sensations and ask your body what it's trying to tell you. Sometimes making the connection between physical and emotional pain will help you release the sensations and move on. Tools for making these connections include meditation or prayer, sleep, tears, journaling, talking, and exercise. If pain persists, don't be afraid to seek professional help. 

We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, so self-efficacy will look different for each person. By sharing our personal mastery, we can support each other and get through these difficult times.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Staying at Home? Mom Blogs to the Rescue

    Check out mom blogs for creative things to do at home

    These past months may be the most abnormal time of our entire lives. Nothing is on our usual schedules and you are most likely at home with your children all day long, every day. Author Janice Pierce finds that mom blogs offer creative ideas for things to do at home. read more »
  • In pod we trust

    Tips for forming your “winter pod” of friends and family

    With coronavirus numbers spiking, and winter coming, family and friend groups are developing protocols like Camp Quarantine for keeping safe while staying social. read more »
  • Helping preschoolers’ development during Covid-19

    How parents can help children meet milestones

    Preschoolers in particular need social interaction to develop socially and emotionally. The article from Insider.com suggests how to help compensate for those losses in Covid-19 times. read more »
  • Bring nature into your home

    Change the way you decorate your home to reduce family stress

    Sitting all day staring at screens can take a toll on your kids’ physical and mental health. Physicians recommend paying attention to posture and taking breaks to stretch and move around, but there is also another incredible way to balance our kids’ screen-based school day—nature. read more »
  • How to raise emotionally intelligent kids to conquer stress

    8 tools parents can use to build their child’s EQ level

    Although stress can be beneficial in short-term situations, it can become problematic when it gets too intense and frequent. By teaching children how to tap into their emotional intelligence (EQ)—the ability to recognize, direct, and positively express emotions— they will be able to better handle stressful situations throughout their lives. read more »
  • Scholastic Book Fairs go virtual

    Support your school! Buy some great books for your kid.

    Scholastic as the leader in book fairs has made it easier to support your school while buying books for your kids. Buy virtually. read more »
  • Tantrums explained

    Tantrums are on the rise, here’s how to deal

    Tantrums are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article Tantrums Explained share are some ways to understand and remedy these situations read more »
  • Christmas movies that will help you forget 2020 (temporarily)

    It’s fluffy Christmas movies time again

    Shorter days, longer nights, and chillier temps mean a new crop of Christmas movies for sweet diversion, and not a moment too soon. read more »
  • Two words, many solutions

    Focusing on “pre” and “and” can really help

    It may seem like oversimplification, but focusing on the words “pre” and “and” can actually significantly broaden perspective and help read more »
  • Authoritarian parenting is out

    Once-popular parenting style now seen as counter-productive

    As more people raised by authoritarian parents have children, evidence grows against this once-popular parenting style read more »