Dr. Courtney Thomas Tobin with her husband Danny and son Jameson.

This week on the podcast, I bring you my conversation with Dr. Courtney Thomas Tobin, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health. You may remember Courtney from Episode 145, when I spoke with her and her husband Danny about welcoming a black son in 2020.

Courtney has a PhD in Sociology and studies issues of race-based stress, coping, and mental health among Black Americans. In this episode, we talk about her research and she shares suggestions for coping during stressful times like the one we’re all in now.

Big Ideas

• Everyone can do something to contribute positively to our world.

• It’s important to get some alone time each day.

• Be gentle with yourself.

• It’s okay to do the minimum to cope right now.

• Go with the flow.


Courtney: Now we’re really in a better place to be able to say, “Okay, so why are these disparities happening?” So we can really focus more of our attention on figuring out why disparities are happening and then actually figuring out solutions rather than trying to argue the point that day. So we’re being a lot more productive nowadays.

Courtney: Awareness goes a long way and recognizing your place within this system. We all have our kind of balances of disadvantages and privileges. And so thinking about, “Okay, what are the ways in which I’m privileged and what can I do in my position to help other people?”

Courtney: Try to figure out your gift. What can you do? Just work on that one small thing.

Audrey: Use whatever your gifts are.

Audrey: You can take one small step to do something, to make a little positive change.

Audrey: We’ll hopefully get to see change that’s been needed for a long time.

Courtney: One thing I like to do, and I think is really helpful, is to try to stay in contact or set up a buddy system.

Courtney: I know our movements are kind of limited right now, like where we can go, but if you can just figure out a way to have a little alone time, like even if it’s in the morning before the kids get up, because you can just sit outside on your porch, just five minutes to yourself and kind of dig up that time to have some meditation.

Courtney: Do the minimum right now. You know, this is a really crazy, unprecedented time for us. And I think a lot of us are trying to hold ourselves to the same standard that we would any other time, but I think it’s really important for us to recognize that this is a crazy time and it’s okay to be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to dial back.

Courtney: Be gentle with yourself.

Courtney: Let go and just let it happen.

Audrey: We know now we’re in a marathon, we’ve got to relax, sit back a little bit and just realize that we just have to get a vent buddy, and be a little easier on ourself during this time and on each other.

Courtney: Definitely give each other some grace. It will be okay.

Dr. Courtney Thomas Tobin

Dr. Courtney Thomas Tobin


Courtney Thomas Tobin

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One Simple Thing

Formalize a “Venting Buddy” to have regular debriefs with.

My Favorite

Dr. Dan Siegel’s Healthy Mind Platter