Lately, stress levels have gone through the roof. In addition to worrying about COVID-19, I’ve got friends and family freaking out, business concerns, and that sinking feeling we’re all getting as we watch our investments nosedive. Even worse, most of my typical ways of dealing with stress – playing softball or bowling, working out at the gym or going to Rockies games – have been temporarily taken away.

Nonetheless, I know that, now more than ever, it’s essential to take care of myself. Not only is it crucial for maintaining mental and physical health, but it allows me to be there for others who need me, including my parents, who are at higher risk.

While there is not one right formula for coping, here are some strategies getting me through that might be helpful for you:

  1. Exercise daily. This is non-negotiable. Fortunately, I have a treadmill, some free weights and a weighted jump rope at home. Even if I didn’t, I’d be jogging (outside or back and forth across my home if necessary), doing jumping jacks and push/sit-ups. I’ve found that 30-60 minutes of working out daily makes a noticeable difference in my mood, energy and concentration levels. It’s also one of the best things you can do for your body and immune system.
  2. Limit the news. This one is tough for a media person like me. I love staying informed, and with extra time and mounting concerns, it sucks me in because I want answers. However, I’ve noticed that after one hour of news (or increasingly social media) my mood is noticeably more pessimistic. So, I’m making an effort to minimize my exposure by limiting myself to 15-minute increments at a time and avoiding opinion articles that are nothing more than speculation.
  3. Keep some semblance of normalcy. We all have things that are part of our daily routines that bring us comfort. Mine include a morning Starbucks latte. Although some things are different (I can’t, for example, walk into the lobby of Starbucks anymore but I can still use the drive-thru) I am attempting to stick with the routine as much as possible. Seeing that not absolutely everything has changed makes me feel better.
  4. Give yourself grace. While I’ve been moderately successful trying to maintain normalcy, there is no doubt some things are out of whack. I’m not sure I’ve been to sleep before 3a.m. anytime in the past two weeks, which is something that would normally cause panic. Lately, however, I’ve taken to laughing about it on social media with other newly minted night-owl friends. We’re all in this together, and something about these odd, much-too-late bonding sessions is comforting.
  5. Focus on the positive. Nothing is all bad. More time at home has allowed me to tackle some projects I’d been putting off, like repurposing furniture, organizing my home gym, writing letters and cleaning out the garage. Additionally, my pantry has never been better stocked, my cat is loving the extra attention and I’m even learning how to cook!
  6. Worry about what you know today, not what might happen tomorrow. My dad gave me this advice long ago, and it’s much easier said than done. But the reality is none of us know how everything is going to turn out, and sitting there worrying about it only distracts from being on top of your game in the present, when it’s most crucial. Focus on doing the very best you can with what you know now. Ultimately, that’s the only thing we can control.