Blog :: 2020

Telluride Ski Resort announces 2020-21 dates

Ski Pass prices to be released Tuesday


Special thanks to the Telluride Daily Planet

Telski dates

Telski owner Chuck Horning stands at a conference table in his office during a previous interview with the Daily Planet. (Planet file photo)

Telski released more details about its plans for the upcoming 2020-21 ski season this week, including dates — Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) to April 4 (Easter Sunday), weather and COVID-19 restrictions permitting, according to a news release. 

The annual Donation Day, which benefits the Telluride Ski & Snowboard Club, will be Nov. 25.  

“Our teams here have been working tirelessly to make this happen, and we all appreciate their efforts,” Telski majority owner Chuck Horning said in the release. 

Season pass and lift ticket prices will be released Tuesday, according to Telski officials, but people can expect increased rates due to the financial impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, though there will be lower-priced pass options as well. 

“The ski resort is facing a challenging ski season due to reduction in visitors, decreased flights and lodging/restaurant occupancy restrictions. While the resort is preparing for a significant drop in revenue, the expenses required to run the mountain will remain constant in many areas, but in general, it’s more costly to operate in the COVID environment,” according to the release. “This season, there will be additional expenses in crowd management, food service, sanitation and other COVID-related issues. The community should expect increases in prices to help offset some of these costs as well as new lower price pass options with date restrictions during our busiest times to accommodate capacity constraints brought on by COVID.”

When Vail Resorts announced its season operating plan last week, mainly the reservation system that will be open to Epic Pass holders initially this year, Telski told the Daily Planet that there would be no such system in Telluride this season. 

Horning previously told the Planet that the resort will follow any local or state COVID-19 guidelines that may be in place and are planning accordingly, including purchasing temporary outdoor structures in an effort to socially distance diners and investing in software for contactless sales. Telski’s mountain operations team is also working on snowmaking and lift plans “to safely spread skiers out around the mountain.”

“The safety of our employees and guests are paramount to us,” Horning, “This is a significant part of our planning process right now. … We've had tough times before, and we remain committed to deliver a quality experience this winter, facing many unknowns and constraints. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. We will work with this community to continue improving our mountain and this year is no exception.”

Horning reiterated his commitment in explaining part of the resort’s long-term plan is to work toward “economic sustainability.” 

“We keep moving the economic situation closer to sustainability every year. I know we’ve made progress,” Horning said in a previous interview with the Planet. 

For an area like Telluride and Mountain Village, such sustainability can be challenging, but there are similar resort communities in Europe that may be able to serve as a model for the area, he explained.    

“This region’s economic sustainability, in spite of the years of economic growth, remains marginal for many businesses, and for people who grow up here or relocate here for work,” according to the release. “Over the next few years, the ski resort plans to participate with the community to understand a path to economic sustainability. They will work with merchants to strengthen the core economy, something that is challenging for a remote ‘no-growth’ community. There are few successful models in Europe of resorts who are remote, intentionally limit growth and are good places to raise a family. The ski area plans to continue to learn from them.”

Creating more affordable housing is another piece to the puzzle, Horning said, adding that the resort will move forward with its current projects, but more needs to be done. 

“We are in this for the long term. Folks here care about Telluride, and while there is a history of fighting over the progress or lack thereof, today we enjoy amazing success from the creation of communities, while preserving the quality of life, environmentally and culturally,” said Horning. “ … We will be moving forward with the projects for which we have approval or are in progress, but that is only (27) units. We probably need several hundred units, and this is doable. We need another Lawson Hill, which will require zoning changes. Lawson Hill required a zoning change and it was controversial but, today, it reflects what can be done. Opening up some land for employee housing is the only responsible thing to do. With the growth limitations our communities have, we can carefully but safely and without creating growth issues, solve our employee housing needs”

He’s also told the Planet that an additional $35 or $40 million would be needed to make the resort “what we consider optimal.”

Fiber to Home in Mountain Village, CO

 Mayor's Minute

Fiber Edition

Hello neighbors,

Summer is in full swing and thanks to the hard work of our businesses and residents the Village has never been more vibrant. Since March, our entire community has pulled together to create a safe environment so that we can all keep moving forward – resilient, healthy, and prepared for an ever-shifting new normal.

Today I would like to address a few of the questions I have received about our Fiber to Home project over the last few weeks. If you have questions or concerns about this or any other issue, please call me at (970) 708-2408 or email at lailabenitez@mtnvillage.org.

  1. When and where is the new high-speed internet fiber being installed?
    The Town of Mountain Village is upgrading its internet infrastructure from cable service to a fiber service. The Town is investing $3.25 million to upgrade our broadband infrastructure to deliver 1-gigabit internet to Mountain Village. Recent county and state COVID orders have delayed much of the town’s original timeline for fiber construction and installation; however, we continue to install fiber pathways along all our roadways.

    The fiber construction and installation process have been broken down into phases and we will notify customers as we move forward in your neighborhood. In the week or two preceding fiber installation, residents of the street and/or neighborhood can expect to see door hangings at their residence notifying them of an upcoming inspection and scheduling their installation. Once a residence has been scheduled, TMV will inspect the property from the curb to the home and inside the home explaining to the owner what steps will be required to get installed.

    All homes in phase 1 have been noticed via door hangers. Property owners who use AV companies should notify them respectively to prepare for fiber installation. Within phase 1, a second round of door-hanging notification is happening for those property owners who need to but have not yet scheduled an inspection.

    Installation has begun throughout lower Adams Ranch Road/Meadows neighborhood. Over the next four weeks, homes on Benchmark Drive and streets off of Benchmark will be noticed and will then be followed by homes on San Joaquin Road. Please check the interactive map for the latest progress on this work.

    You can also review our preinstallation frequently asked questions for more information.
     
  2. What is required for a homeowner to get hooked up? What is the estimated cost to get connected?

    There are a number of factors that determine each homeowner’s costs. Residents who already have conduit installed can expect an approximate cost of $500 to get connected. For those who live in multi-dwelling units, such as condos, the cost is $95 per unit.

    Due to when they were built, a small number of homes do not have conduit from the road to the house and will need additional work to bring fiber to their homes. Residents/properties who need to install conduit from the curb to the home can expect a cost of $1,700. The town has begun contacting these properties with information on how to prepare their homes. For more information about cost please visit our website
     
  3. Is there a new monthly charge for the new service?

    Subscribers can keep their old service for the same price at the same level. Whatever you pay monthly can and will remain the same, unless you would like to upgrade to a faster service.  
     
  4. Is a homeowner obligated to connect to the new system or can one continue with the existing service?

    There is no obligation to connect to the new service. However, once fiber has been completely installed in the town we will eventually discontinue all legacy services (internet, cable tv, and phone) running over the old cable network. In order for these services to work, you will need to be on fiber or find an outside provider to provide these services.
     
  5.  What is the new capacity of the internet connection compared to the old existing service?

    The fiber network is much faster than TMV’s existing cable network which is copper-based. Fiber is more efficient than copper and offers a much faster connection. Subscribers may choose to upgrade to 1 gigabit per second (1000 x 1000 megabytes per second (mbps) versus the cable network which tops out at 50x10 mbps. This can translate to a 100% increase in download speeds and a 900% increase in upload speeds.

Ongoing Commitment 

Outside of the fiber world, I would like to thank the hard work and team effort on the part of our Business Development Advisory Committee, TMVOA, TSG, and our local businesses, we have enjoyed a robust Market on the Plaza, Bike Park, vibrant Village Center, and much more this summer. Let’s keep working together to keep Mountain Village safe, healthy, and open for our full and part-time residents, businesses, and guests.

Remember the Five Commitments

  1. Wash hands frequently.
  2. Wear a mask in public.
  3. Maintain 6-feet of physical distance. 
  4. Stay home when you are sick.
  5. Get tested immediately if you have any symptoms. (Please contact the Telluride Medical Center for testing.)

Please reach out to me, Mountain Village Town Council members, and town staff with questions, concerns, or potential assistance you may need or can offer.  

Warm regards,
Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

For more information on other ways Mountain Village is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to submit your questions or concerns, please visit townofmountainvillage.com/coronavirus

 

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    Telluride Schools Superintendent John Pandolfo & Telluride Middle/High School Principal Sara Kimble “Think Outside the Box”

    In her recent Accountability meeting mid-July, Telluride Middle & High School Principal Sara Kimble addressed local safety and health, along with educational needs. Kimble and Superintendent John Pandolfo were kind enough to join us to help educate us on the latest happenings with Telluride schools, as well as dispel any rumors.

    Telluride schools were closed mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where it transitioned to an online platform. Kimble commented that the staff and administration learned a lot, especially how to think outside the box. They herald their teachers in stepping up to the plate regarding their flexibility and teaching styles, and the students for their adaptability. Even High School graduation was changed Kimble added, with graduates riding in a Gondola cab in Mountain Village up to receive their diplomas. Now, future students want to graduate this way!

    Kimble described the Teacher Design Teams – organized to collect data from students, parents and teachers to determine best steps moving forward. Forty teachers across the district participated and discussed teaching, technology, and communication while balancing health and safety with educational needs.

    A survey was sent out to the almost 600 participants in the schools, and Pandolfo delighted that a majority of the surveys were returned. This type of feedback and communication allowed the Telluride school system to make decisions that will benefit most if not all and cater to new needs as a result of the pandemic.

    The survey indicated that 90% of people wanted some form of in-person learning.

    Students grades 7-12 will be allowed to participate in in-person learning at the school, with a shifted schedule from 7 classes a day to a 4-class block. Fifty percent of the students will be at school every day – The Maroon Group with last names beginning A-L, and the Gold Group with last names beginning M-Z. Each student will be in house two days a week. A video where Kimble explains this new scheduling can be found on the school’s website.

    This new plan will limit interactions with other students, which will be a huge adjustment for students as many participate in most of their socialization during school. All lockers, benches and furniture have been taken out of the halls to create more space for social distancing for the students and all are required to wear masks.



    Both administrators indicated that things will get better or worse depending on how things increase or decrease – we are in a very fluid time.

    Kimble added that if restaurants and bars are allowed to be open, then schools are too. The teams have ensured that there is enough room to allow social distancing, and wall mounted hand sanitizer has been installed in each classroom to supplement hand washing.

    Pandolofo said that many understand and are supportive of the new initiatives, and that he and his staff consider every angle and perspective.

    There will be no alternating days for elementary school children, pre-K-6th grade. All students will attend every day socially distanced. New technology like a camera that swivels and follows the teacher or student will be implemented to make it safer for teachers and students to participate in remote learning if desired. Masks are a requirement for everyone on campus and face shields are being discussed to allow for more facial movement for the hearing impaired. Pandolfo indicated that they have measured all physical spaces to be in compliance with the distance necessary to maintain a small group size and small classes. Tables and tents will be set up outside as group lunches and auditorium visits will need to be limited.

    New testing protocols are also being discussed, and there are strict rules about staying home from the bus and school if showing any symptoms or feeling ill. The survey polled whether families had a thermometer or would be able to get one by the time school begins, as well as if they needed one to be provided by the school. Pandolfo continued that since the July 9 survey there have been an uptick in local cases, and to reach out to him or Kimble if your feelings have changed.

    For the middle and high schools, eight students have moved away and 12 new students have enrolled. Eleven new students have been added to the elementary school roster, therefore adding one additional kindergarten teacher. The intermediate level is hiring one teacher as well as permanent substitutes. Pandolfo said he is preparing for an increase, but there are no definitive numbers yet.

    Pandolfo stressed the importance of funding and student counts. He added that the school system’s budget will be down this year and anticipates a 10-20% decrease next year. He was pleased, however, that they have not been forced to furlough.

    What about sports teams? Kimble said sports are dictated by the Colorado High School Activities Association – CHSAA – and they are continuing to revise and revisit their plans, currently on the Governor’s desk. All fall sports – soccer, golf and volleyball – are a ‘go’ for now, with different requirements to spectate, if at all. Distancing and disinfecting will have more prominence, and coaches off the field will be required to wear masks. Students participating in the sport are allowed to do so without a mask, as it can cause more issues, Kimble said.

    Each classroom is fully disinfected in between classes, and Kimble said there is a deep clean every night. Pandolfo added that there are currently no plans to have outsiders quarantine, but he and his team will continue to follow Colorado state guidelines.

    With school starting Wednesday, August 19th, it is important to enroll to ensure Telluride gets the proper funding for the year. Kimble commented that children relocating with their parents to winter here will not be counted unless they enroll in August. It is critical to receive proper funding to limit the strain on classroom size and administrative support. Both Kimble and Pandolfo have ‘high hopes’ that all planning to attend will register on the school’s site ASAP in order to qualify for optimal resources for the future. Visit the school’s website to enroll, or contact Kim Spaulding KSpaulding@telluride.k12.co.us. Tellurideschool.org has all the latest COVID and reopening plans.

    *It is important to note that this information is relevant and applicable as of July 28th COB. Due to COVID-19 things change by the hour.

     

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      5 Great Reasons to Ski Telluride this Winter

      Telluride Ski & Golf Resort
      Larry Olmsted Senior Contributor | ForbesLife
      Town of Telluride in Winter
      With a charming town and awesome mountain, Telluride is one of the world's great ski destinations. VISIT TELLURIDE
      Two years ago I wrote a feature here at Forbes about why Colorado’s Telluride is one of the world’s best ski and snowboard resorts, and having been to just about every major destination ski resort in the country, it’s tied only with Jackson Hole atop my personal best list.
      But now it is even better.
      To summarize, Telluride’s two main strengths are its ski terrain and towns. I say towns, because unlike almost any other resort, the ski mountain links two distinct ones, Telluride proper at the bottom, a charming, authentic, Old West flavored 19th century mining town, and Mountain Village up on the slopes, a modern, pedestrianized ski resort village in the style of Beaver Creek. You can stay, eat, drink, shop or live in either, and both are fully connected to the slopes, ski-in/ski-out. They are also directly connected to each other by a free gondola running well into the after dinner hours, extremely novel public transportation.
      This choice of two “municipalities” is unusual in skiing, but so is the skiing itself. Telluride Ski Resort has what I believe to be the best selection of terrain for every ability of any U.S. resort. Some major mountains are weak in beginner terrain (Aspen, Jackson, etc.), some in expert/extreme (Vail), but here there is plenty of green, blue, and black for everyone, But on top of this, there is also a wealth of double blue terrain, great news for a huge but generally under-served ski and snowboard audience - advanced intermediates. There’s also a ton of double black expert terrain, but beyond this, a lot of double black EX - extreme - runs, and the small but devoted percentage of skiers who seek out mountains like Jackson, Squaw Valley, Crested Butte and Big Sky for ultra-steeps, cliffs and chutes will be right at home here.
      Couple Skiing
      Great skiing and snowboarding for every ability is Telluride's strength. VISIT TELLURIDE
      As I said, I’ve never seen such a perfect dispersion of options for all abilities, as well as all tastes: trees, bowls, in-bound hike to, out of bounds lift served sidecountry, long groomers and of course, bumps, the area in which Telluride is perhaps the very best American ski resort. For this season they added 44-acres of north-facing expert glades. Yet despite this almost embarrassing wealth of terrain and variety, the very large mountain is well laid out and extremely easy to navigate - you can often get from one end to the other with a single run and lift ride. As an added bonus, just about every lift, no matter how high or daunting, serves at least one groomed intermediate trail, so it’s virtually impossible to get into the wrong place or over your head.
      So that’s the Telluride advantage in a nutshell, two great towns, one great ski area. But there are other compelling reasons - some of them very new - to choose Telluride. Here are five of them (for more info see the town’s excellent official tourism site).
      Denver Air Connection jet in flight
      New this winter, Denver Air Connection (and United) makes it easier than ever to ski Telluride!
      1. Easier to Get To Than Ever: After years without decent commercial service into Telluride’s uber-convenient yet weather challenged airport (the last time I was able to fly directly there was on now extinct US Airways), jet flights have resumed, courtesy of Denver Air Connection. These are sold through United with baggage sharing, and since Denver is a major international United hub, you can now fly one-stop right to Telluride from most major cities in the country and many throughout the world. The 40-minute flight to Telluride followed by a 10-minute ride to town makes it one of the smoothest commutes in skiing. If weather shuts the airport down, DAC automatically reroutes to Montrose, the airport you would otherwise fly to anyway, and adds ground shuttle, so you are still protected.
      Beyond that, flights on all the major airlines into Telluride’s main gateway, Montrose, CO, less than 90-minutes away, have increased significantly, and you can fly non-stop from lots of cities, as far flung as Newark. American added a weekly flight from LaGuardia and increased capacity from its Dallas hub by 27%. Both American and United increased service from Chicago O’Hare and Delta expanded its non-stops from its Atlanta hub by 33%. Overall there are 15 different non-stops to Montrose from 11 major US airports. With easy connecting shuttle services, Telluride, long lamented to be “hard to get to,” is now faster to reach from a lot of big cities than many of the big Denver-served Colorado ski resorts.
      The rooftop pool at The Madeline Hotel
      The rooftop pool at The Madeline Hotel (an Auberge Resort) is one of the hot spots in Telluride's Mountain Village. TONY DEMIN
      2. Mountain Village Improvements: Widely considered Telluride’s top full-service luxury hotel, The Madeline was taken over by prestigious Auberge Resorts two years ago, has already improved, including revamped dining, and is undergoing a major renovation including the common areas and all rooms. Some rooms have been done, and the whole thing will be finished by next season. The Madeline is a centrally located Mountain Village ski-in/ski-out resort.
      One of my very favorite Telluride hotels has long been the 18-suite boutique Lumiere, a luxury residential property with European flair and sumptuous apartments in Mountain Village. But last winter Lumiere partnered with luxury destination club Inspirato, undertaking a top of bottom renovation including every unit, with brand-new appliances and furnishings. Now known as Lumiere by Inspirato, it’s still open to the public and residences feature gourmet commercial-style kitchens, dining rooms, gas fireplaces, decks, laundry rooms and oversized bathrooms with soaking tubs and steam showers.
      A very notable addition for this winter is the bar and retail shop for Telluride Distilling (the actual distillery is offsite), which produces the most awarded artisanal schnapps in the world, as well as a full range of gin, vodka, whiskey and a surprisingly good tequila-like agave spirit. But the real wow factor here is the prices, with signature cocktails from $5 all the time, plus a great ambiance that has instantly made it THE place for après in Mountain Village, so it is always hopping. Equally importantly, its owner helped transform Mountain Village into a legal “common consumption” street party, and with various events, live music and such, it has a great afternoon/evening scene.
      The National Restaurant
      The National is the latest addition to Telluride's dining scene - and instantly popular. VISIT TELLURIDE
      3. Food!: Telluride was already one of the very best food ski towns in the country, but it keeps getting better. Where it has long excelled is at comfort food - while every major ski resort has some good fine dining choices, people on a budget or looking for simpler fare are often forced to settle. Not here. Brown Dog Pizza is THE best ski resort pizzeria in the country, period, Oak is probably THE best ski resort barbecue/Southern restaurant in the country, Tacos del Gnar is probably THE best ski resort taqueria in the country, and Steamie’s won Best Burger in Colorado. That’s an unbelievable slate of value-focused causal choices.
      But the fine dining scene is also impressive - and expanding. 221 South Oak is the town’s flagship, run by cookbook author and former Top Chef star Eliza Gavin, and besides great food she now teaches a 12-course instructional cooking demo with wine pairing just about every Friday (sometimes Thursday) during ski season. I’ve seen nothing rivaling this at any other resort, you sit and learn cooking tips without lifting a finger, eat great food, and drink great wines, but be prepared to call in sick to skiing as it starts at 11 AM and it’s hard to move afterwards. A food lover’s must!
      Most recently, Telluride welcomed an all new fine dining eatery that has proven incredibly popular (i.e., make advance reservations). The National combines great food with an impressive wine list and craft cocktails, featuring lots of small plate grazing options. Like most of Telluride’s best eateries it is small and intimate, and the town is full of these hidden gems, with other can’t-miss choices include cocktail centric SideWork, the New Sheridan Chophouse, and Alpino Vino - an on-mountain eatery that is one of the best replications of European ski dining in the U.S.
      HELI-SKIING
      Telluride is one of the rare ski resorts with an onsite daily heliski operator, Helitrax. TELLURIDE SKI RESORT
      4. Beyond the Resort: Telluride is one of just a handful of ski areas in this country offering onsite daily heliskiing, through respected operator Helitrax, which has been at it for almost four decades. Unlike remote lodge-based trips, where you invest a ton of money and then put yourself at the mercy of the weather with little or no backup for not uncommon cancellations, with day operations if the weather is bad, you just bump a day and still go skiing. I’m a big fan of the onsite concept, but even among its few peers (Jackson, Sun Valley, Snowbird/Park City) there are some advantages here. It’s super convenient, located right in Mountain Village, with no shuttle ride to the helipad. The staff are pros, equipment first rate (I’ve done it), but most unusually, Heltirax and the ski resort offer a unique package for first time heliskiers who are often nervous. These 3-day Heli-Camps feature two days of resort skiing with an experienced ski instructor who focuses on the skills you’ll need, and then he or she accompanies you out for the heli day, so you have your own powder mentor with you. It’s a cool concept!
      Otherwise, Telluride has just about every kind of non-skiing diversion you could want, from dog sledding to great Nordic skiing to introductory ice climbing to really fun guided fat tire bike tours. But one of the standout options here, that again, not many other places offer, is a variety of great snowmobile tours, half and full day, visiting ghost towns and natural wonders. I did one with Telluride Outfitters, and like heliskiing, they start right from Mountain Village, use first-rate equipment and great guides, and it was a surprising blast.
      Bikers with Dog in Snow
      Bonus Points: Telluride is one of the most dog friendly towns in America! ©TONY DEMIN/VISIT TELLURIDE
      5. Telluride is Epic (and Empty): While not part of Vail Resorts, last winter independent Telluride launched a partnership offering 7-days of skiing for Epic Pass holders. Since the Epic is the industry’s bestselling pass - over 925,000 were said to have been sold this winter - that helps a lot of people ski for a week at Telluride for free, which is nothing to sneeze at. But while this season has been rife with complaints nationwide about overcrowding and long lift lines from the proliferation of both the Epic and Ikon passes, Telluride has long enjoyed blissfully short lines, and with the exception of Christmas week, this has seemed to remain the case. I skied on a Sunday in January and there several runs where I was the only one on the trail. That’s hard to beat.
      View the original Forbes article »

      Phase Three Lodging Capacity Remains at 50% Occupancy in Telluride, Colorado

           

      We are now in Phase Three of opening, a period that runs from July 14 through August 3. During this time period, paid short-term lodging remains limited to 50% - that’s 50% occupancy for a 21-day span. For a self-managed property (Airbnb, VRBO and similar platforms), this equates to 11 days of rental during this time period.  For multi-unit companies and hotels/lodges, half of its rooms or units are available to rent for the 21-day span. During Phase Three, the aggregate paid occupancy for the destination is 50%; there are nights when we are less than 50% occupancy and other nights when we are greater than the 50% occupancy mark. The maximum single-night occupancy for multi-unit lodgers is 65%.  Click here to review occupancy numbers through the end of Phase 3, August 3.
       

       

       AIR UPDATE

      As we hit the busy month of July, air both locally and nationally has been showing steady signs of recovery. This may flatten with the current spike in nationwide cases.

      We have seen four straight weeks of positive bookings, hitting 40-50% of normal weekly activity. Montrose flights are showing load factors above 65%, and TEX flights have also started to pick up bookings.

      With the recently added second daily DFW flight, our target capacity for the core summer remains at about 50% of average. Current passenger counts are currently about 40% of average.

      6 Tips For Coping With Stress And Anxiety During a Pandemic

      If you’re finding yourself with increased levels of stress and anxiety in the past few weeks as the coronavirus has taken its hold on our world, then you’re not alone.

      COVID19 FUTURE OF WORK 

      This article was originally authored by Mary-Clare Race.

      Recent research suggests many people experienced moderate to severe psychological impacts during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in China. This is a very normal response and one we can take some practical steps to manage effectively. It’s important that we do this for a number of reasons.

      First and foremost, managing our stress levels has a significant and positive impact on our immune system and the World Health Organization has emphasized that boosting our immune system and taking adequate preventative care plays a crucial role in fighting the Coronavirus. Improving our ability to cope with the situation will therefore also improve our overall well-being and the likelihood of fighting the virus. It’s also likely that this situation will continue and possibly worsen in the weeks to come; it’s important that we put strategies in place to deal with stress now so it doesn’t overwhelm us, and we can continue to be there for our families, our friends, and our colleagues. Here are six science-based tips to help you maintain your mental wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Know how you’re feeling

      The first step to dealing with heightened stress and anxiety is recognizing that you’re dealing with it in the first place. Stress can manifest itself in many ways including sadness, confusion, irritability, procrastination, physical tension and body pain, lack of energy and even problems sleeping. We all have a different response to stress, and it’s important to know ourselves and check in with ourselves physically and mentally on a daily basis to know how we’re feeling and to recognize the symptoms of stress. Skipping this step and ignoring how we are feeling impedes our ability to be able to manage our stress.

      Making sense

      It’s tempting to try and dismiss our feelings especially at a time like this when we’re all trying to cope and stay strong for those around us. But the reality is that stress responses are our bodies’ way of protecting us, and early warning signs such as feeling angry or tired can be crucial indicators that we need to intervene before the stress becomes overwhelming. The human body has adapted over many centuries to be able to react and protect itself from external threats such as a global health pandemic, so it’s perfectly normal to experience a stress response at this time. Create a habit of making time for yourself every day to notice this in yourself and make sense of the situation in order to avoid overlooking your stress.

      Small changes, big impacts

      The good news with dealing with the early signs of stress is that often small changes to our daily routine can often make a big difference. These daily rituals and routines will differ for everyone and will depend on your typical stress response. For example, if you typically experience stress in a physical way such as feeling tired or tense in your body you may decide to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual or take time for a relaxing bath.

      Avoid the common thinking traps

      An important element to building these strategies is to recognize what you can control and release the need to control what you cannot. There are practical things we can all do in the current situation to protect ourselves and our loved ones. This includes good personal hygiene and practicing social distancing, but there is also a lot we have no control over. It sounds simple, but ruminating on these things won’t help. So take a moment to acknowledge those things, and then let them go. Try to be mindful of the many myths that are out there that may be misleading and stopping us from focusing on what is in our control. Avoid catastrophizing and blowing situations out of proportion; or the other common thinking trap which is where we predict a future state that is based on our biggest fears versus the facts of the situation.

      One small step

      Increasing our level of exercise can be one of the easiest and most effective ways of boosting our mental wellness and strengthen our immune system. While it may not be possible to get outside and go for a brisk walk, there are lots of routines we can do in our own homes to help get us moving. And, even better if you can have a family member or friend join you either in person or virtually.

      The human connection

      While we all practice social distancing, it’s important not to overlook the need for human connection at this time. A more useful way to think about it could be physical distancing so that we don’t neglect the need for social connection with our friends and family – as this is another important building block in combating stress. Checking in with others through a phone call or video chat can also serve a dual purpose as it could be that the other person may also be in need of a friendly human connection.

      Now more than ever, we must prioritize our individual health – and that includes our mental wellbeing. Leverage these six tips to recognize your feelings and maintain your overall mental health as we navigate COVID-19 together.

      These tips are designed to be educational in nature and in no way a substitute for professional clinical support. If you notice that your signs are difficult to manage, please consider seeking professional help.

      Special thanks to Dr. Mary-Clare Race

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