How to reduce stress, anxiety & depression

Steps to equilibrium, happiness and productivity during challenging times

Marilyn Tam
6 min readSep 12, 2020


When the stress, anxiety and depression hit you, they are no longer concepts. You have to deal with them to survive and thrive.

“It’s different when it’s your house that’s on fire” K.B., Fire Department Captain

Life as we knew it pre-Covid-19 is no more. The changes and disruptions have wrecked many people’s mental and emotional stability along with their finances and careers. There are steps you can take manage your stress, anxiety, emotional and physical balance to give you the grounding to move forward gracefully.

A longtime friend of mine is in the eye of the storm. She is the community outreach nurse manager in the area’s largest hospital group, dealing daily with general hospital issues, constant adjustments due to the fluctuating caseloads of Covid-19 patients and the increasing demands from the community at large. One of her siblings died suddenly and another one was misdiagnosed with the Virus. In addition, her husband had a freak accident which resulted in second and third degree burns to over 10% of his body. Then she fell ill with a severe sore throat which triggered Virus alarms; fortunately, she recovered with a clean bill of health. All this happened in the last three months. To say that she is under stress would be an understatement.

How does she handle such an intense and potentially draining time? Having shared and supported her through this and many other challenging times, I like to share with you the tools we used to alleviate the tension, anxiety and regain some stability amidst apparent chaos.

It’s easy to lose perspective when you are personally involved in a crisis and forget some of the fundamental steps to managing the situation.

1. Pause.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. Inhabit your total body instead of just your mind. Your instinctive reaction to crisis is to fight or flight. Since you are generally dealing with something less than instant loss of life, hold on, gather your thoughts and regain balance before you jump into action.

2. Do something physical.

Physical action will give your an outlet for stress, anxiety and depression — Mayo Clinic guidelines recommends physical movement to reduce…



Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam, global speaker, best selling author (The Happiness Choice), business leader and humanitarian. Formerly the CEO of Aveda, President Reebok, VP Nike