Still, I think there’s one more thing we can do beyond the recommended keep clean, don’t travel, social distancing, and stay home if sick. It’s avoiding further paranoia. We need to protect our minds as well as our bodies in the face of what’s now a pandemic. Here are some steps I’m taking to shut out the chaos and remain balanced in the face of widespread panic around me:
1.Turn off the news. Yes, you need to be informed, but you don’t need to be indoctrinated, and that’s what happens if you’re “plugged in” all day, every day. Your best case scenario is to watch your local news perhaps once a day to stay up-to-date on the facts. If you really want national news, limit that to once a day as well. Once they stop giving facts and start spewing opinions, shut if off. Yes, I watched the President’s speech last night – and I turned it off as soon as he was finished and their anchors started launching into the “he cares more about the economy than the virus!” nonsense.
What about newspapers? All they’re good for is cage cleaning. My parents give me theirs every couple of weeks to recycle under Zack and Bubbles bottoms. Bombs away.
2. Have a life. I stopped at the gas station this morning, and it was obvious that the pumps had been wiped with a disinfectant wipe. Good! If we’re all practicing proper hygene, then there’s no reason to live in fear. Do the best you can and keep on keeping on. There’s no reason to fear going to work, the grocery store, the gas station, the bank, out to eat, the library, etc. It’s not like you have a choice with work anyway, so disinfect your work space, stay out of other peoples’ work spaces, open door handles with a paper towel or use rubber gloves, and keep on keeping on. A lot of the problems we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks have been over people living in fear. Don’t fall prey to it. Just keep your hands away from your face, and use common sense. Perhaps it will become more common now that we have strong reinforcement and justification for it. You’ll have to consider travel and large social gatherings, but the best way to win against anxiety is to have things you enjoy in your life. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to quarantine yourself in your home (unless you want to), it just means that you have sense enough to not go out if you don’t feel well, and to be aware of the people around you. That’s difficult around here because pollen season literally exploded on us Monday, so it’s hard to know if the sniffles and sneezes are spring allergies or something more. But that’s part of living in the south. We go through that every year whether there’s a pandemic or not.
3. Practice proper self-care and relaxation techniques. I think now would be a great time to have widespread instructional classes on meditation. With me, that’s kind of like writing short stories – it’s something I’ve tried on and off for years, but I just can’t seem to nail it. Perhaps this is good reason to give it one more try.
Seriously, you need to have something in your life that relaxes you. I just finished a major cross stitch project, and I’m moving on to work on my scifi/mystery novel series now. Proper self care through exercise, proper diet, enough sleep, hobbies and activities you enjoy and good relationships with your loved ones are critical to overcome the anxiety that we’re hit with every day.
And if all else fails, read a book. There are millions of them out there, and that’s a great way to expand your mind and horizons beyond yourself.
We’ll make it, folks. We always do. Just use common sense and proper hygiene, and don’t fall prey to the hype. Panic won’t beat coronavirus. Sensible action will.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.