From The World Health Organization: “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. COVID-19 is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.”
As humans, we have thresholds, and being pushed beyond our limits can create anxiety, fear, and panic. Many of us don’t like the unpredictable. We’re comfortable maintaining the status quo unless we decide to shake things up (like a long-anticipated vacation). When something really big affects our day-to-day lives, we’re pulled way out of our comfort zone and, often, dropped into a place that’s surrounded by fear, panic, and sadness. But, even though we can only “control” so much, we can choose how we live through this crisis.
Big Picture Stuff
• don’t continually read Coronavirus updates; of course, you need to be aware, but constant consumption of bad news leads to greater anxiety
• recognize that fear is as easily spread as the virus, but that being afraid of the unexpected is normal
• acknowledge your concerns; don’t hide them away—you can’t manage what you don’t understand
• try to stay away from the “what ifs” like, “what if someone behind me in the grocery line has the virus”
• be nice; especially to delivery folks and people managing retail locations that are still open
• donate to a charity that helps those who are marginalized in any way
• grocery shop for folks most at risk; you can leave the packages at their door
• reach out to people who live alone
Self-Care (beyond the obvious that we’re hearing every day)
• get some fresh air if possible, stay active, go for a walk
• practice deep breathing; fear creates rapid, shallow breathing
• take a break from people or things that make you anxious
• live in the moment, this moment; it’s all that’s guaranteed
• keep communicating with others even if you can’t be in the same room
• seek out stories of people who have recovered
• practice empathy
• be a beacon of light for others who are more afraid than you
• journal; putting thoughts on paper helps remove them from the constant hamster wheel in our minds
• meditate; being still even for fifteen minutes helps to still fear and confusion
• take a class online
• think of different things to do with the children—whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, a steady diet of TV, video games or anything with a device, isn’t healthy
Spirituality—which needs to kick in, even more, when we’re asked to not hold each other’s hands or “drink from the same cup”
• stay connected with your faith community even when you can’t be together physically
• if you aren’t part of a spiritual group reach out through this blog to connect
• practice compassion—the kind that overflows and reaches into the smallest of spaces
• pray, “God, please walk alongside the sick, especially those alone. Please lift up health care workers, families that are separated, those suffering economic hardships and people who can’t visit loved ones in hospitals or nursing homes. God, be with us as our planet in crisis. Amen”
It’s okay to be afraid, or even experience dread—there’s a lot of turmoil right now and that’s a normal reaction from our evolutionary perspective of fight or flight. But, don’t let fear become your mantra.
The enemy is not our fellow humans; it’s COVID-19, a virus that stealthily attacks the immune system. It does not discriminate. And, those of us who won’t be infected by the virus will still be affected by it. Our world is in a crisis that will challenge our countries, communities, and commerce as well as our collective and individual lives. We must stand together in our humanity. We may have to create some physical separation, but we do not have to distance ourselves from love, empathy, and care.
Respect each other, be kind, heap love upon all who are dearest to you. We can’t control the world, but we can control how we live each day.
May God bless you and all those you love, and may the Light of Love shine brightly into your heart.