10 ideas for coping with stressful times

As a behavioral scientist and consultant, I draw on scientific research and experience to help people find better ways to cope with stress and negativity. Here are 10 ideas for keeping your balance in the midst of the current crisis.

  1. Working from home? Take advantage of the opportunity to set up a Skype happy hour with a far-flung friend.
  2. Pay your people. House cleaner, hairdresser, anyone you usually depend on but find yourself canceling to help flatten our local curve. If you can, pay their holiday bonus early, or prepay your next five appointments.
  3. Go outside. Look at a tree. Put your face in the sun. Witness a flower.
  4. Limit your media and social media intake.
    Set times for it. Then make yourself put it down. Plug your phone in across the room. Or even – and this may seem extreme but stay with me now – in an entirely different room.
  5. Exercise. Walk. Run. Bike. Pushups. Yoga.
    Bonus points if you get outside.
  6. Share nourishing experiences even from afar.
    Plan a video-call dinner party with friends. Everyone cooks and drinks the same thing. Clink glasses into the camera.
  7. Write down three things you’re thankful for. They can be little things, big things, in-between things. Crocuses. Dog ears. Cat purrs. A person. The rhythm of a sentence. The pattern of a shadow.
  8. Help someone. Reach out to your neighbors and see if anyone needs help getting groceries. Hop on Patreon and support a musician. Did you panic-buy masks? Donate them to the hospital. Think about the specific skills you have and how you could use them to help others.
  9. Breathe. No, but seriously. In for 5 seconds. Out for 5 seconds. Once again. I’ll do it too. Nice, huh? Set aside 5 minutes. Yes, an entire 5 minutes. Breathe.
  10. Let go of something. A task, an obligation, an impossible standard for yourself. There are more important things in life. Go do one.

Alison Ledgerwood is a Curtis Park resident and TEDx speaker on getting unstuck from negative thinking.

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