These times are unprecedented. As the novel corona virus is spreading, so are fear and anxiety. While technology is connecting us to the larger world, physical distancing is keeping us away from our neighbors. We have reason to be concerned for both our health and our economic wellbeing. If the corona virus lockdown is getting to you, you are not alone. This is a time to ramp up our self-care and boost our resilience. These strategies can help you manage stress during the corona virus lockdown:

Limit your intake of media.

We all want and need to be informed, but spending too much time watching the news or reading your Twitter feed can make even the most resilient of us feel anxious. Choose a time boundary for your media intake, and stick with it.

Stay connected.

Physical distancing does not mean social isolation. Virtual happy hours, sing-alongs, and dance parties are fun ways to connect to your people. Now is a great time to phone a friend: AT&T reported a doubling of phone calls over the last few weeks.


One of the easiest ways to “break the state” of anxiety is to laugh. Thanks to Spotify and YouTube, there are loads of comedians to listen to or watch. I love Demetri Martin, and my sons recently introduced me to Nate Bargatze. I laughed till it hurt.

Listen to uplifting music.

Music is another great way to “break the state”. It’s hard to stay anxious or sad when we are listening to fun, upbeat music. There are many interesting collaborations on YouTube, like Berklee College of music students, Nashville backup singers, and these teens.

Spend time in nature.

Stay away from others and obey park closures, but go outside when you can. There’s nothing like the natural world to soothe our soul and lift our spirits.

Move your body.

Dance, practice yoga, learn T’ai Chi. Dust off your treadmill, pull out your dumbbells. Try pushups and sit-ups. Make it a pro-social behavior by joining your favorite fitness or yoga studio’s online classes.

Remember to be mindful.

When we are in the present moment, we are better able to stay peaceful. Most of our upsets come from thoughts about the future or the past. To counter that, keep coming back to right here, right now. After becoming “awake,” the Buddha shared the secret with the children in his community: “When you are eating the tangerine,” he said, “eat the tangerine.” One helpful way to come back is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique: Find 5 things you can see, four you can feel, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. Maybe a tangerine.


There are gobs of guided meditations on the web, including some of mine. Find some you like, and listen to them regularly. If you are more inclined to a silent, solo practice, now is a great time to get to it. Find a style that works for you: focus on your breath, or bodily sensations; witness your thoughts; repeat a mantram; or concentrate on a high-level concept. You can meditate sitting, standing, walking, or lying down. Take some time to explore, and find out what works best for you.

Find a way to be helpful.

Alfred Adler, one of the founders of psychology, advised his patients who were suffering with depression to think about how they could help someone. “How can I possibly help anyone, I am so miserable,” they would often reply. “I’m not saying you have to actually do it; just think about it,” he would reply. He was on to something. However, for the corona virus problem, let’s not just think about helping! There are many ways to be of service, including sharing facts when there’s so much misinformation; making masks; supporting local businesses; and talking friends off the ledge, are all ways to be of service. And they offer a win-win-win: When we help others, we also are helping ourselves, and helping our communities.

These strategies can help you manage stress during the corona virus lockdown. How are they working? I’d love to hear from you!