New York City therapist Karol Ward says shock is the biggest thing that people are experiencing on a daily basis.

Photo: Glen Jussen

The coronavirus is causing many people to feel anxious about their health, money and career.

The global pandemic, which has no clear end in sight, is causing uncertainty in people’s lives, record job loss and a spike in stock-market volatility.

New York City therapist Karol Ward, who has helped clients through other crises, including 9/11, says people are facing extremely high levels of stress. In turn, she is advising people to acknowledge their feelings and take small steps in order to cope and move forward.

She recently sat down with The Wall Street Journal for an interview for the Secrets of Wealthy Women podcast. Here are a few edited excerpts:

Q. What kind of feelings may we expect to have these days?

A. People are going to feel calm one day and they’re going to feel antsy the next day and they’re going to feel scared. They’re going to feel a lot of sadness along with anger. It’s such an intense time and in response to that, there are intense emotions.

I think the biggest thing that people are experiencing on a daily basis is shock. People are in a lot of shock and continual shock because as the news unfolds, we are experiencing something we’ve never experienced before. That shock causes us to have different emotional reactions.

Q. How do we create a work-life balance for ourselves when many of us are now working and living in the same place and we may be tempted to work extremely long hours?

A. I think what will help with that is wanting to see the consequence of how so much work is affecting you. How are you sleeping? Do you find yourself so anxious that you can’t calm down? The connection usually is that you’re overstimulated. You’re watching too much news and you’re taking in too much information.

You have to be vigilant and you have to be disciplined. This isn’t one of those times where you can say, “well, maybe I’ll unplug.” You have to unplug at a certain time and schedule it on your phone.

Q. We may need to take some steps to shore up our finances if we, or one of our family members, have lost a job. Taking action can feel overwhelming for some people, though. Where do we start?

A. Acknowledge how you feel, first. So if I’m feeling scared about my finances and I acknowledge that, then I can think about who I can turn to to help me feel calmer.

Sometimes we have to fake our way through a situation. We do that by taking one small action. Call your accountant, for example. Or call a good friend to take that small step to give yourself emotional relief and reassurance.

How to Listen and Get New Episodes

Secrets of Wealthy Women is available on a number of popular audio apps, including iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio and Spotify. If you prefer to listen directly from WSJ.com, visit the Secrets of Wealthy Women podcast page to play from your web browser.

Share Your Thoughts

What has been helpful to you in terms of allaying fears and anxiety around the coronavirus? Join the conversation below.

Write to Veronica Dagher at veronica.dagher@wsj.com

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