Aside from awareness of micro-stressors and modifying them appropriately to account for our daily dose of inherent stress, one of the biggest stress management tools I’ve been using lately is to create as much structure for myself as possible. Here are some of the things that have been helpful for me in these weird days of COVID-19.

Self admittedly, I love planner therapy. Here are some things I’ve learned through my own experience. I didn’t do these things at first, but it’s been grounding and therapeutic to clear out my “not right now” life to put in the “current reality” life. I’m sharing them here in case they resonate with you too.

1) I updated my online calendar. I deleted (sadly) all of my recurring meetings and obligations that happen outside the house. This allowed me to clear the way to create my own structure and routine for the time being. The truth is, we will all walk away from quarantine differently. I will allow myself some more planner therapy when it’s time to put my “regular” life back in.

2) Into my cleared out calendar I added as much structure and information as I could. I’ve put in my weekly workouts including what I’m doing on each day. I’ve added the spattering of zoom meetings for both the kids and I. I’m old school, but it’s my comfort zone to print out my google calendar each week. I still do this so I can write information on it like my meal plan for the week (as I use up veggies before they go bad as best as I can!). To me, a meal plan and grocery list is a form of planner therapy. All told, I am trying to act as normal as possible with how I organize my life, even though there’s not all that much to organize logistically.

3) The To-Do List. My work life has changed so dramatically that 5 weeks in, I’m still struggling to make my to-do list each week. I often have to make several attempts to organize my list throughout the week. For me, to write things out, see them and cross them out really helps. Even if I have to make several versions to get me through the week.

4) Breath, meditate, myofascial release. I build it in each day as part of my routine. I hold this steady with hard boundaries. I have learned the hard way that if I sit down at my computer before I’ve done my “routine” of meditation and myofascial release my day will go sideways. Versus when I sit down at my computer ready for the day. Our bodies are taking a beating with the physical stress of being house bound, as well as the ways other stress can manifest itself physically. Making time to release these kinks has helped me to stay as focused as possible and I feel surprisingly good physically, all things considered.

5) I’ve been trying to stay as true to my values as possible and how I like to feel in normal life. I’ve been circling back to my goals from January 2020 both business-wise and personally. It’s important for me to keep an eye on my original goals and plans. I set a one word intention for 2020, and keeping it front and center through life during COVID-19 has been helpful. It still applies and has been helping me to feel like myself. Years ago I read Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. It was helpful for me define my core desired feelings. Even though my life has been turned upside down, my core desired feelings are the same. Staying connected to the goals, feelings, values that have been part of my life for years has helped to ground me.

It takes a (virtual) village, but we are in this together. I’d love to hear what’s working for you – link to connect below!

Author Lee Carson is a writer, health advocate and co-owner of Hyatt Training. She believes in a minimally processed whole-foods approach to nutrition, and loves sharing ways to use food and movement as catalysts and tools for optimal health. Learn more about Lee, or get in touch with her by emailing us at

Hyatt Training is a collective of certified, enthusiastic and innovative personal trainers in Portland, Oregon. To read more nutrition-related posts like this one, follow this link.