As I opened my eyes this morning, I couldn’t help but smile at the singing of the birds and the hoo-ing of the owl. For a quick moment, it felt like any other day. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last long. Reality set in and I was reminded of the war we’re in against the coronavirus, COVID-19. I was reminded as to how I’m being isolated in my home, away from the outside world. This isn't my first rodeo. I’d experienced being on lockdown when I battled cancer, twice. However, it feels different this time because it’s not just me. Everyone is on lockdown, too. These are challenging times to say the least, and it seems as though the worst is yet to come. However, we can’t allow ourselves to be consumed with everything corona. We can’t allow ourselves to stress over the things out of our control.

This pandemic is what it is…a pandemic. It is a global crisis. And we need to continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations to reduce the spread of this virus during this time; socially distant ourselves, washing our hands, sanitize often, etc. However, there is more for us to learn from this crisis. There is a lesson, rather many lessons, we can learn from this situation.

It’s easy to see the bad in this situation (and it’s a lot of bad), but we can choose to look for the positive. This virus has given world have given us a gift. A gracious gift. A gracious gift of a pause. We are at a place where we can escape from the busyness of life and its distractions. Of course, you can use your time to binge watch all your favorite TV shows and movies, but I would ask that you use this time wisely. I’m not saying not to watch TV at all, but do other things that can help reduce your stress levels during this time, too.

Here are seven (7) ideas to help you reduce stress and get through these difficult times:

  1. Meditate. Take time to center yourself and connect with the Source. Use this time to practice mindfulness and achieve mental clarity and calm yourself. Ask yourself, "What am I to learn from this experience?"
  2. Connect with others. Stay connected with your family and friends. Call them periodically to see how they are doing during this time of isolation. Also, reach out to those you haven’ spoken to in a while. Make calls to the people in your contact list. Start with the letter “A” and go all the way down to letter “Z.”
  3. Bathe. Take a long, hot bath while listening to music. Bathing can diminish the feeling of depression and pessimism. Allow yourself to relax and be present in the moment.
  4. Assemble a puzzle. It’s a fun activity that allows you to escape the stressors of the day. Solving puzzles increase the production of dopa