During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us become overwhelmed with uncertainty. What will happen to us as a country? What if my elderly parents get sick? I live alone; who will take care of me if I get sick? Will I be able to pay my bills now that I've been laid off? It's a scary world right now.
To avoid becoming fearful and overwhelmed, here are a few points to consider and to keep you grounded. The more vigilant we are about handwashing, social distancing, and good mental and physical health, the better off we'll be in the short-term and long-term.
You're probably washing your hands repeatedly throughout the day and that's important, but make time to strengthen your immune system too. If you were exercising before the pandemic, don't stop now! If you haven't been exercising, try adding a few things to your daily routine. Do what you can at home to strengthen with light weights (canned food) and cardio. A walk around the block, a few trips up and down the staircase, pushups, squats, lunges... all of it adds up. Seek out exercise videos online (yoga, indoor cycling, tai chi, etc.) to feel connected to the outside world.
Emotional care is just as important as physical care. Make sure you're getting enough sleep (7-8 hours) and take a nap if you need it. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Meditate or a listen to a relaxation app to help ease stress. Listen to your favorite music or a comedian to boost happy hormones and promote better mental health.
Quit Watching The News
I know it sounds extreme, but quit watching the news. Instead, check out cdc.gov once a day to stay on top of the latest coronavirus news. Visit your favorite tv station's website once per day. By reading the news, you're staying in control of how much you're exposed to it. Too much is not healthy and causes unnecessary stress.
Find daily activities you love to reduce stress and leave you feeling grounded. Exercise was mentioned earlier and is recommended, but consider other things like hobbies. If you enjoy shooting hoops, get after it and enjoy some sunshine too (avoid public courts if busy). If you enjoy sewing, reading, building birdhouses, gardening, painting, etc., now is a great time to immersing yourself these activities. When you're engaged in something you love, it's easy to avoid thinking about the pandemic. Give yourself a break today by doing something you love!
Laughter really is the best medicine. Consider finding a favorite comedian online, on Netflix or on an app and let the laughter flow. As you laugh, you're stimulating the flow of oxygen and increasing endorphins (the feel-good hormones). Laughing reduces stress both emotionally and physically. You'll boost your immune system by creating positive thoughts which, in turn, release neuropeptides that help lessen stress and possibly illness. Who's up for a few knock-knock jokes?
Take the time to take care of yourself during the coronavirus epidemic - you'll be glad you did. Practice self-care, emotionally and physically, get enough sleep, practice a hobby, and have a good laugh. Stay healthy and we'll see you on the other side!