Individuals ● Couples ● Families ● Children ● Teens


Suggestions for individuals, couples, & families

Going deeper than buying excess toilet paper

  • When stress, overwhelm, and panic present themselves, follow your strengths. What are you good at? What brings you joy and comfort? Do some of these activities.

  • When our routines get disrupted, we can feel panic and stress. During high stress, intense times self-regulation is critical because with chronic stress our mental and physical health suffers.  What brings you a sense of peace? (Hint: it probably does not involve much technology!) Bringing about calm, contentment, and peace can vary from person to person. Consider what you most like to do—creative endeavors, getting outside and being in nature, taking walks, fishing, snowshoeing, hiking, journaling, mindfulness, listening (and dancing) to music, and creating art in its various forms. And do these activities (it’s not enough to think about doing them). At this time of high stress, unprecedented closures, and global crisis you may need to do more calm-inducing activities.

  • If you are healthy, consider some assistance within your community. Ideas include thanking school janitorial staff, expressing appreciation for medical professionals at hospitals or doctor’s offices, providing grocery assistance for older adults, or the like.

  • Consider back-to-basics family time: play board games, watch family movies, spend time talking about a variety of topics. Use technology to connect with others—near and far. Call grandparents, facetime with classmates, skype with friends. 

  • Find ways to bring levity and humor into our present situation. Find ways to laugh, seek out the light side of this unprecedented time in history. Watch comedians, watch funny movies, make a playlist of music, seek out heartwarming themes and shows.

  • Given the uncertainty of the situation, and the importance of normative routines, consider what you gravitate toward. Do you like order and structure? Do you like adventure? Creativity?  Keep in mind what helps you function best and create some of this. For example, I like structure, so planning some of my time out each day so I have some organized, predictable time will help me feel less panic, less chaotic, and calmer. In these uncertain times, beginning to create a routine, a new normal, often helps people feel a sense of order and control again. 

  • Work actively at managing anxiety... it’s unrealistic for all worry, nervousness, or concern to be eliminated. Managing anxiety might involve cognitive strategies (for example, talking back to worry, reality testing your thoughts or fears), physiological ways (deep breathing, meditation, exercise, etc.), and emotional approaches (talking to others, letting yourself cry, journaling about fears, etc.).   Some tips for managing anxiety include deep breathing, mediating, journaling, gratitude lists, avoiding news (yes, even in this ever-changing situation, take a break!), and performing acts of kindness or helpfulness to others.

  • It’s normal to wonder what changes will end once the pandemic subsides and what changes will continue into the future. At crisis times like we what we are experiencing, it’s important to notice the existential issues that we face. Talk with close, trusted, supportive people about the issues and values present.  Ask and ponder the difficult questions. How do you generally act? During this chaos, what comes to mind as the most dear to you? Talk about what you thought was important, but isn’t. Recognition of our values and realization of what is not as important as we once thought can help us live closer to our values, can help us let go of what is unimportant. Living close to our actual values can strengthen us. It can give us purpose and drive. Have these conversations now. They don’t occur as naturally during times of comfort and ease.

  • No matter what the activity, be present with one another. Really tune in no matter what the event, venue, activity, or topic.

Visualization Video

A useful (9 minute) visualization for dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and its disruptions


Three ways trauma can change the brain

Undoubtedly, there is ongoing trauma from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Bessel van der Kolk is reknown for trauma and neuroscience.  This is an informative 3:30 minute video.