Resilience in times of the new coronavirus

Dr. Miriam Burger, MD
Resilience in times of COVID-19
3 min readMay 25, 2020

by Dr. Miriam Burger, MD

“People call that burnout. It’s not a burnout; it’s a deep moral violation that people experience”. - Ana Delgado, nurse, midwife and clinical professor

We, humans, live on stories. We need stories that are passed on transgenerationally and which fill us with pride, meaning, perspectives, and spark our intelligence. With the rediscovery of mythologies and folk tales, Joseph Campbell, therefore, rebirthed the phenomenon of “The hero’s journey”. Stories usually bring us closer to lived experience and inspiration through books and media — and bring the human spirit to life. They remind us of our ability to adapt and our resilience to overcome dramatic challenges. Now we are experiencing up close and collectively one of these heroic journeys.


In times like these, the value of an inspiring story is irreplaceable. Just as the sciences and medicine ensure physical survival, our ability to produce art and culture ensure mental wellbeing. Stories as a vehicle to transport values and meaning then, now, and in the future.


We use stories to create perspectives. Perspectives give us hope, drive, goals, and an attitude to life that makes us more resilient. Stories, therefore, do nothing less than increase our ability to become more resilient despite the harshest circumstances.

But why is that so? Perspectives set creativity free which grows like a small seed, thriving optimally in a positive mindset. Fear on the other hand leads to a fight and flight response and blocks creative thinking. Therefore, time in nature, with the arts, in brainwave entraining meditation, and other centering rituals are a great balance to fear and negativity. If we foster the seed and its context, an everyday idea can outgrow itself and lead to an earth-shattering invention (try the Oxford University 4-step model on creativity).

COVID-19 can push us either into fear or into a growth mindset. And we strive to choose the latter. When this pandemic started, we not only started reinventing the “safe haven” home, we also pushed systemic changes: education, mental health, medical treatments, politics, economy, science, art, culture. The first online COVID-19 live tracker was designed in December 2019 — by only 17y old Avi Schiffmann. Global Healthcare professionals keep inventing numerous approaches on a daily basis: PPE innovation, a COVID-19 curriculum from Harvard University, and many more. So the crisis we are currently experiencing is not only having negative effects. Interestingly enough, in Chinese, the sign for “crisis” also means “opportunity”.


Together we can set strong signals for perspectives. In our diverse world population we can set the course for greater creativity, collaboration, shared stories, and thus more sustainable resilience, f.ex. through interdisciplinary support, e.g. through STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, or even: Music and Math). And let’s extend this concept more often to our professional lives, possibly calling it a context of TEAMS. We are already seeing an unprecedented increase in problem-solving across generations, systems, and continents — through the shared experience called New Coronavirus. In this collective story, we are working hard to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Visionaries, thinkers, future shapers — we can change the world in unknown ways if we join forces — because our story is one of resilience.



Dr. Miriam Burger, MD
Resilience in times of COVID-19

MD & Musician bringing ancient healing cultures back to life. Global citizen, polymath, and believer.