Coping with Corona

No, this is not another post telling you to wash your hands. Or not to touch your face. Or to stay away from the other humans. We've all received close to a million emails in the past few weeks containing all of these warnings.

I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on the internet. I'm not here to give you medical advice. I'm not an expert on pandemics or how we should respond to them. In fact, none of us are. This situation is unique. No one has faced anything like this before. We're all feeling our way and figuring this out.

Based on my experience teaching, practicing, and studying yoga for the past 35 years, I thought I might offer a few ideas for coping with the stress of not knowing when our lives are going to return to normal. Because not knowing is sometimes the worst part of a situation.

So let's start with the basics.

Don't forget to breathe. This is crucial in any crisis or high stress situation. Breathe deeply. Breathe through your nose. Your nose has a filtration system built by Mother Nature for keeping impurities out of your lungs. Breathing through your nose also calms your nervous system, letting your mind and body know that everything is okay. Taking deep breaths stimulates the receptors in the lowest lobes of lungs. This brings a deeper sense of peace and wellbeing.

Move your body. Sitting around is a terrible plan in any circumstances, but especially bad when we're stressed. Moving your body--by walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, practicing yoga or qi gong, or whatever type of movement you enjoy--processes the stress hormones out of your system. Those fight-or-flight hormones like adrenalin and cortisol can cause all kinds of problems in the body. They can affect your ability to sleep, to burn fat, to heal from injuries, and to fight off infections. Just because the gym is closed and classes are cancelled doesn't mean you have to sit around. Try youtube for fun videos of Zumba, yoga, qi gong, Pilates, or your favorite movement practice.

Get outdoors in the sunshine and the fresh air. Go for a walk with your dog. Look at something beautiful. Feel the sun on your skin. Watch the birds or the fish or your local wildlife.

Practice gratitude. Give thanks for all the wonderful people in your life. Gratitude is the antidote to fear and anxiety. Remember all the things you can control. First and foremost, you can control your attitude. Even when everyone around you is losing their mind, you can remain sane.

Reach out. If you can't be face to face with friends and family, call on the phone. Send a text or an email. Let people know you're thinking of them. Stay connected by any means possible. Feeling alone will amplify the stress and anxiety.

And when you've completed everything on this list, go wash your hands. (Insert smiley face here.)


  1. Rake the wet leaves that have recently become unfrozen. Let the new spring turn the brown to green.


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