I don’t have to tell you how much the COVID-19 virus is on everyone’s mind at the moment. We are all being affected in so many ways.
Since there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus, the most important thing we can do is to follow recommendations to avoid being infected – wash our hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol, avoid touching our face with unwashed hands, and practice social distancing. And, of course, stay home if you are feeling sick.
Importantly, the risk of exposure is higher for the elderly or individuals with underlying medical conditions, so be sure to encourage anyone you know in that category to take prevailing recommendations to heart.
Beyond that – how can we help each other – our friends, families and community – navigate the current environment?
If the past is any indication, crises often bring out the best in others and ourselves. Protecting others and the greater good can inspire altruism and a sense that “we are all in this together.” Facing a serious and life-threatening event such as a natural disaster or a pandemic can motivate us to look beyond ourselves and our own concerns for the benefit of others in our communities and beyond.
So how can we do our part at a time of so much anxiety and uncertainty. Obviously, we don’t want to get sick but we also want to do what we can to avoid community spread to others.
Do your best to stay calm and positive.
I realize this is easier said than done, but keeping a clear head will serve us best. None of us is at our best when we let fear and panic take over. The World Health Organization, NIH and CDC all have regularly updated websites with the latest news and recommendations on how to stay safe. When it comes to taking care of our families and stockpiling goods for a longer haul, the CDC recommends the following:
“Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
Consider 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.”
The reality is that, even though we can’t control what is happening outside us, there is much we can do to protect ourselves, our families and our community.
Use whatever tools you have to stay calm and make good choices. If you have a mindfulness or meditation practice, great; if you don’t, now may be a good time to start. Take a walk in nature, or spend an hour reading a good book. Connect with family and friends who may need support at this time. Talk to someone you know who is a calming influence if you need support.
Whatever we can do to contain anxiety and fear is important. We all know someone who is an island of calm in difficult times. Seek out that person and even strive to be that person for those around you. Our emotions are contagious.
Amp up your self-care.
If there was ever a time to take extremely good care of yourself, it’s now. Getting enough sleep will help boost immunity, mood, energy and focus. Eating well, exercising, getting outdoors and drinking plenty of water all are important and so is making sure you are in contact with others, especially at this time, when many are sheltering in place. We know that our community and relationships are vital to well-being so let’s be there for each other at this time when we need it most!
If there is any way I can support you at this time, please let me know. I am thinking of each and every one of you – be safe and be well!