At this point, we are all sick of hearing about COVID-19 and would just like it to go away so life can get back to normal. But unfortunately, it is not going away and may be around for a while. So we as a society need to find a way to get through this and work together.
It seems a little tricky to work together when we are all segregated to our corners of the world. But in this case, the way we can work together is by following the advice of the WHO and focusing on keeping ourselves healthy. That is the way we protect others in our community.
So take it seriously. Make sure you are following this advice and taking care of yourself. Not only our physical health but our mental health too needs to be guarded. Here are a few ways to protect yourself during this time.
It’s Ok to Be Anxious
We all are. Part of the reason for me writing this post is to ease some of my own anxiety. It’s like we are fighting an enemy that we can’t see, don’t understand and aren’t really sure how to defeat. We have to put our faith in people we don’t know and are far removed from us – so of course, we are all extremely anxious. Our kids are feeling anxiety too. Picking up on our fears and what little bits and pieces they are getting. Schools are closed. Stores are closed and we are stuck at home, Obviously, something big is going on. They just aren’t sure what. (Check out my post about age-appropriate COVID- 19 info for your kids.)
It is normal for us all to be stressed, but it is important for us to manage that stress, so we can continue to function, enjoy life as best we can and put on a brave face for our sake and the sake of our kids.
Our Physical Health
Hygiene and Social Distancing
The World Health Organization has identified 7 steps that we can take to help keep ourselves and our family safe and healthy. A huge part of this plan is frequent handwashing and keeping our distance from others. At least 6 feet at all times. By keeping ourselves safe and healthy we are in turn keeping others safe and healthy.
Here are the 7 steps to take to help keep yourself safe from COVID – 19.
Eat Healthy, Don’t Smoke and Exercise
It sort of feels like the whole world has stopped and we are just waiting for it to start back up again. I know all I want to do is sit on the couch, eat chips and watch the news. It can be a real effort to make sure we are eating healthy, our kids are eating healthy and getting all the exercise we can.
It almost seems trivial with all that is going on. But keeping our bodies physically strong is not only good for our psyche, but it will also help us fight any infection we may come in contact with.
For those of us mourning the loss of the gym, many gyms are offering online classes to help keep us active at home and work up a sweat even when we are stuck at home.
Our Mental Health
Almost as important as keeping our bodies healthy, (almost) is keeping our mental health strong so we are able to deal with this pandemic and come out whole on the other side.
Here are 8 ways that you can safeguard your mind,
Limit Media Exposure
We all want to know what is going on and keep updated. But this can be a necessary step if we become overwhelmed or our fears start consuming us. If you are finding this all a little too much to handle, disconnecting for a while can be extremely helpful. Especially if you suffered from anxiety before all this began.
The World Health Organization’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also encouraged people to check the news from reliable sources only once or twice a day.
I personally have had to take this step. Too much information can be bad and I also wanted to limit what the little ears in our house were hearing. Every word about “the virus” as they call it, is getting in there. Even though we may want to stay informed, best to keep it to a minimum and really filter what they are hearing, The other day my son said to me he did not want to go outside because he was afraid the virus would get him. Ok, time to turn the news off.
Help Others As Much As Possible
You can also take action to help your community, whether that means helping an elderly neighbor get groceries, or staying in even when you feel healthy and are able to go out.
Many elderly in our community are very fearful, by helping them stay in and go out in public as little as possible, this can greatly reduce the damage the virus is having as well as help them get through this emotionally.
You can do the most good by staying in and protecting yourself, even if you feel fine. According to WHO, even those of us not showing symptoms can carry the virus. Yes, It is totally inconvenient to everyone, but the more diligent we are now, the better off we will be in the long run. People who are blatantly ignoring the advice to stay in, self-isolate and adhere to social distancing guidelines are not just hurting themselves, but everyone in the community, particularly our most at-risk members.
Try to Keep Your Mind On Positive Things
It can be easy for our minds to focus on the negative, our kids will be out of school indefinitely, we have to cancel our vacation, what about camping this summer? There is no doubt, COVID-19 has completely disrupted our lives. But if we focus on these negative impacts, this pandemic may be more then we can handle.
According to psychologist, Julie Pike in an interview with Business Insider, focusing on the positive things in the situation, such as being able to spend more time together as a family, helps us to stop narrowly focusing on potential threats or negative elements in our environment, which our limbic brain … is wired to do,” she said. “Widening our perspective and recognizing that while things are challenging and uncertain, there are also good things in our daily lives” can make a big difference.
Maintain A Routine
While our beloved routines have probably taken a hit, it does not mean we need to throw in the towel altogether. Maintaining some sort of routine can be essential to keeping a balanced perspective when times are tough.
It can also be a necessary task if you suddenly have kids at home or are working from home. Creating a routine for your new norm can help give you a sense of purpose and control over your day in a time when we may be feeling a little out of control.
Keep In Touch
We may not be able to be together in person, but with technology, there is no reason for us to be out of touch. The people in your life are just as lonely and feeling just as isolated as you are. Reach out, you will be happy you did.
Facetime, text, email and yes, even a good old phone call. A friend of mine, just did a Facebook live while she was making dinner, and a shocking amount of people tuned in to watch her make chicken cacciatore and just chat. We are all lonely and feeling the need to connect.
Social isolation can fuel depression and what we need most of all is to keep our spirits up.
I think what is going to get us through this is thinking of others. Putting your neighbour’s needs before our own. Panic buying and selfish attitudes get us nowhere. When we look after others, someone will look after us, when we only look out for ourselves, someone always gets stepped on and left behind.
We will come out on the other side with a stronger sense of humanity and closeness that only coming through a trial together can bring.
Be kind to each other, enjoy this time with your family and… go wash your hands.