COVID-19 is taking over our media and many people’s peace of mind. As someone who has worked on a hospital medical floor for years, infection fear is something I’m quite familiar with. I have compiled what I hope will be a helpful guide to have a balanced and proactive response to this scary topic. (Please note: I’m not a doctor so I’m not an expert on the medical aspects)
1. practice basic hygiene
COVID-19 is spread through droplet (not airborne!). Wash your hands. Have purell on a keychain. Use wipes to wipe down your phone and high touch surfaces in your house occasionally. Be mindful not to touch your eyes or face. Here video on how to thoroughly wash your hands, hospital-style.
2. Don’t Panic, Be Cautious
Bonus tip: Repeat “Don’t Panic, Be Cautious” as a mantra in your head or during a meditation. Reconsider going to a concert but going to the grocery store and keeping your distance (6 feet is suggested) from others is not a big deal. Use the same precautions you would if you noticed someone appeared to have a head cold as these are spread the same way – don’t shake their hand or share a drink, but avoiding leaving your house is not necessary.
3. Critical Thinking: News Edition
Use critical reading on news sources you are looking at. Which means, take a pause after you see, hear or read anything to ask yourself, “What is the evidence here?” “Can there be another perspective?” “How credible is this?” There seems to be some sensationalizing and false information (like 50% of the population will be infected, etc.). Look at the CDC.gov and other reputable sources, look at more than one source, check snopes.com, etc.
4. Mindfulness is everything
4. Remember your mindfulness, grounding and coping skills. Especially when consuming media about COVID-19. Do some yoga, meditate, take deep breaths with a longer exhale, do the five senses exercise (google if you don’t know what this is). Here is a link to a meditation to help foster calm and compassion around COVID-19.
5. Take Care of your Mind and Body
Prioritize getting enough sleep and other basic needs that help keep your stress level manageable. Not only will this help your state of mind, but adequate sleep and effective stress management help strengthen your immune system!6
6. Ask yourself, is this helping me?
Do what helps your anxiety and notice if those things starts to feed your anxiety. Like with gathering extra supplies: ask yourself, is this helping me feel more safe or causing me to fixate on feeling out of control, powerless and in a crisis state.
7. Phone a professional
This fear, anxiety, uncertainty and potential for physical isolation can wreak havoc on your mental health (and create a vicious cycle as your mental health can affect your body, which affects your mind/emotions, and so and and so forth). Call your doctor if you have medical questions or concerns. Many counselors offer phone and video sessions, including myself, so don’t hesitate to reach out and get ahead of the anxiety, fear, isolation for help to process and cope. You can hit this button right here to schedule a phone consultation or session with me from your couch!: