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If anyone had been wondering what divisions lurked beneath the cultural surface, recent times have provided a close-up view. The planet is still reeling from the impact of a deadly COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and environmental upheaval.

So many people are displaying outward symptoms of fear, frustration, and stress. Many of us have yet to develop the skill set needed to navigate this unique time. So, until we reach that kind of herd immunity, the general vibe will be a blend of agitation, danger, and conflict.

In the meantime, however, there are steps you can take to remain calm, safe, and sane.

What Is COVID Conflict?

Generally speaking, COVID conflict has a lot to do with staying healthy. 

Woman outside with mask | anxiety therapy columbus | Blue Boat Counseling | January 2021 | depression therapist columbus

More specifically, the conflicts from 2020 that we’re still experiencing in 2021 can range widely, such as:

  • Official and individual responses to the pandemic
  • Pro or anti-mask stances
  • Racial strife and civil unrest
  • Presidential election year rhetoric
  • The “right” way to navigate an economic downturn

This list is just a small taste of what is dividing and threatening us daily. These situations are anxiety-provoking and difficult to manage. So, it’s no surprise so many people feel insecure — physically, financially, philosophically, and emotionally.

Some of What You Can Do to Stay Calm, Safe, and Sane

Step #1: Embrace Independent Thought as You Navigate 2021

Social media news feeds and clickbait articles are carefully designed to lure you into a cycle of attention. Very, very rarely after consuming these headlines and stories does anyone feel calm, safe, or sane. How could they? It’s a major leap towards inner peace to step away from your devices.

Social media on phone | marriage counseling columbus ohio | January 2021 | Blue Boat Counseling | columbus counseling

Schedule regular tech breaks. Set time limits, too. You’re not beholden to your notifications.

Step #2: Be Patient With Others as They Navigate 2021

The most important thing when dealing with others is to give a lot of grace. Again most of us need to acclimate further and navigate this unique period slowly. Be as patient with others as you’d wish they’d be for you. Don’t expect anyone — or yourself— to be at your best when the entire world is in turmoil. This practical perspective can go a long way in reducing COVID conflict.

Step #3: Keep a Gratitude Journal

Contrary to current events, the world is not to be seen in black-and-white terms. There are many things to be grateful for. Keep track of them in a gratitude journal to help balance out the moments of panic or frustration. Sure, they can be “big” things but becoming aware of those small moments is extra special right now. And the existence of such a list will serve as solace when you need to refer back to it.

Step #4: Tune In to Your Needs

You can’t control what others say and do or how they react to world events. And you certainly can’t control the actions of a pandemic-level virus. What you can control is how you choose to honor your own feelings and needs and how you live with presence. This strategy is how you can achieve balance.

Take some quiet time for yourself to tune inward and listen. Then get busy creating more sweet moments to add to your growing gratitude list.

Girl relaxing on couch | January 2021 | Blue Boat Counseling | depression therapist in columbus | anxiety counseling columbus

We Need Collective Efforts Now More Than Ever

There will be long term mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it will require people to work together and cooperate to address the many schisms laid bare in recent months. This country promotes a myth of individualism — and that can have its place. In reality, though, collective efforts have always been the hallmark of progress.

The same goes for each of you trying to stay calm, safe, and sane. You should consider the above list of suggestions. Also, it’s essential to reach out for help when you need it.


Working side-by-side (literally or via video chat) with a therapist is the right venue to start on the journey of discovery if you’re struggling to navigate your own way through the many issues we’re still dealing with in 2021. If you feel like you could use some professional help, please reach out for support. You’re not alone. Blue Boat Counseling offers online therapy to help with anxiety, depression and other mental health needs. Contact us today to schedule an online appointment with one of our Columbus therapists. We’re here for you.