Programme: Programme for Long-Term Care Workers During the Coronavirus Crisis

1. Focus on the Things you Can Control

How ever much we would like to change this situation, we cannot. The Coronavirus is a long-term problem, and its impact is huge. We would like to support you and help you to identify the areas which you can influence as well as giving you some tips for handling this chaotic situation. 


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, clients, residents, loved-ones, colleagues and society. It is also not possible to control your emotions - anxiety, sadness and anger simply cannot be avoided in this situation and are perfectly normal reactions to these extraordinary circumstances.

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 you to feel calm. This ensures that your precious energy is conserved for the right purposes. The diagram below will help you to do this.

Things I can control (so these are the things I will focus on):

  • My choice to follow the advice of the government and the RIVM

  • Doing things that help me to relax and distract me
  • My positive attitude
  • Turning off the news/TV
  • Finding activities that I can do at home
  • My own kindness and gratitude
  • Limiting my social media usage

Things I cannot control (so I will let them go):

  • Whether or not other people practice social distancing
  • Not having enough time for all my clients
  • How the situation will develop
  • Other people‚Äôs motives
  • The number of clients needing treatment
  • Less personal contact with clients due to protective clothing
  • The behaviour and actions of other people
  • The supplies available in my department
  • How long this will last
  • How much toilet paper is left in the shops
  • How others react to this 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/clients/residents you need to care for or the 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 some 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 only serves to drain your precious energy  - energy that you really need to conserve at this time. 


Reflect & connect

Answer these questions about the diagram above and share your answers with your online psychologist, a 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: 
Do you recognise any aspects of your situation in the diagram? 
Can you think of any aspects of your situation that you could add to the diagram? 

Would you like professional advice?

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


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