Surviving and coping in the time of COVID-19

“How are we going to get through this craziness?’ I asked. There was silence for a moment.
‘Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe,’ he said.”
Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
James Baldwin, writing in the dark days of the 1960’s

Our current situation: COVID-19

Listen to an excellent information session with an ICU doctor at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York when he is talking to his friends and family and answering their questions. The doctor gives a view from the inside about symptoms, course and treatment of COVID-19, and gives clear, calm, practical, helpful, and empowering information about how to protect yourself, your family and others.

Highly informative blog post by an immunologist, Prof Erin Bromage, explaining how the novel corona virus likely spreads and describing high risk contexts for the spread: The risks – know them – avoid them

CovidVisualizer: A simple and interactive visualization of COVID cases across the globe, updated every 2 minutes, developed by 2 students at Carnegie Mellon. They state: “We wanted people to be able to see this as something that brings us all together. It’s not one country, or another country; it’s one planet – and this is what our planet looks like today.”

Free and comprehensive COVID-19 resources

UCSF Dept of Psychiatry has developed a helpful resource site

COVID COACH – a free app with a range of tools and resources developed by clinical researchers at the Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA)

FACE-COVID – a handy Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) resource from ACT expert and author Russ Harris, MD. See document for elaboration on following acronym:

F = Focus on what’s in your control
A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing

C = Committed action
O = Opening up
V = Values
I = Identify resources
D = Disinfect & distance

Grieving the world as we knew it

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief” A worthwhile read from Harvard Business Review

Coronavirus Has Upended Our World. It’s OK To Grieve” An NPR article on the same topic – also worthwhile!

Relationships and the need for connection

In this brief interview with distinguished scientist and author of Polyvagal Theory, Steven Porges, PhD, discusses the need for co-regulation and social connection in times of social distancing.

Esther Perel, LMFT, therapist with expertise in relationships, author, and speaker, has been busy providing resources to couples and individuals during this pandemic. Here are a couple of links to explore:

Talk about it” – a helpful article from NY Times describing the beneficial effects of talking about our problems and how to do it.

Articles and resources for stress management

Our calm is contagious: how to use mindfulness in a pandemic” An interview with clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach, PhD.

Coping with Coronavirus: An upside of anxiety, the curse of panic” An opinion piece by psychologist and UCSF professor Elissa Epel, PhD

Anxiety contagion: tips for relief” Practical cognitive and behavioral tips clinical psychologist Rachel Zoffness, PhD

Meditations, classes and workshops

Listen to the Virus! #Ascoltate

Mindfulness, Love, and Connection in the Time of COVID-19: Free, live streamed sessions with author, scientist and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, developer of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program.

Accessing inner calm amidst the Coronavirus, free, targeted and brief guided meditations by clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Kelly Werner, PhD

COVID-19 Mindfulness resources compiled by mindfulness meditation teacher Denise Dempsey, M.Ed

Free mindfulness, relaxation, stress management and skill building workshops by Modern Health

Guided meditations by Tara Brach, PhD, including ones relevant for the pandemic.

Guided mindful self-compassion meditations by clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Christopher Germer, PhD

Meditate to Yo-Yo Ma’s and others’ #SongsOfComfort

Virtual Mindfulness (donations benefit restaurant employees) and Self-compassion classes by psychotherapist and meditation teacher Sara Carr, LMFT

Parenting resources

The challenge of parenting and working from home in times of school shut-down and social distancing:

Finding predictability in uncertain times: 6 tips for parents” by clinical psychologist Dhara Meghani, PhD, and founder of Parentline. This excellent article has many helpful suggestions and links for parents and kids. I fully concur with the following statement: At the end of the day, remember: rules and a routine add a sense of control in a time when there is so much unpredictability, but flexibility is ultimately the hallmark of mental health.

Online programs developed by child and family psychologist Nina Kaiser, PhD, at PRACTICE SAN FRANCISCO

Parenting and Coronavirus Webinar: An informative sharing by a panel of parenting experts (authors, pediatrician, psychologists, therapists, etc.) who also discuss their own struggles parenting children of different age ranges in this challenging time.

A large data bank of educational resources for kids that is continuously updated – very handy to have all of these in one place: Educational resources for learning from home

27 Indoor Activities For Kids Stuck At Home Because Of The Coronavirus

Calendar of virtual field trips to museums, zoos and exhibitions!

Working from home

Some working from hope tips from a short Time article

Zoom fatigue, anyone?

On the lighter side

Dear Corona, We Get It“, by writer Pamela Alma Weymouth, MSW

A talented British family’s COVID-19 take on One More Day from Les Miserable

Brilliant COVID19 versions of Sound of Music songs! Do-Re-Me and Favorite Things

Italians sing from their balconies

Iranian healthcare workers dance for Corona

Pluto addresses the internets in this time of crises…

Seinfeld – hand washing fail

Daily Coronavirus quarantine schedule

How to receive food deliveries during a pandemic

7 ways to maximize your misery! Relevant in these SiP and Coronavirus times!


Check out free live streamed yoga classes:

Free live streamed exercise classes from San Francisco YMCA:


Some notable silver linings to this crisis

How to stop touching your face? Check out this old study.

Yale University is offering a free course online, The Science of Well-Being, that teaches us how to be happier.