washing hands

Staying Calm and Safe During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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This is a frightening time for our world. The coronavirus is no longer limited to China. It’s here in the United States, as well as in over 90 countries. News of COVID-19 is all over the internet and television, making it hard to escape the anxiety and stress that come with global pandemics. We are seeing things happen that we’ve never seen before, including school closures, empty grocery store shelves and businesses closing their doors. 

It’s normal to feel stressed and anxious right now, but it’s important to keep a healthy perspective. It may not be easy, but you are in control of your thoughts and reactions. Below I share some important tips for staying grounded during this difficult time. 

Choose what to focus your energy on.

While it’s important to be informed, you don’t want to focus all of your attention on negative things. I recommend limiting the news because it can cause unnecessary panic. This is not the same as being ignorant. Rather, you are choosing what information you allow to come in.

For instance, we know that the coronavirus is here, so staying on top of every case is not necessary. What you can do is take the proper precautions to stay safe such as by practicing social distancing. Also, focus your energy on positive things, such as journaling, reading books and spending time with household pets and family members.

For unbiased information, I recommend the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Manage your reactions – avoid panic. 

We don’t have control over what happens in our lives, but we do have control over our reactions. Instead of reacting in panic and fear, you can choose to prepare yourself for the coming weeks and months. This also means being flexible and adaptable. 

For example, if you can’t find hand sanitizer, you can wash your hands at home with soap and water. Or, if you can’t see family and friends for several weeks, FaceTime or Skype them instead. Times like these call for people to be more creative and resourceful, so consider how to make the best of what you have available. 

Practice good self-care.

Self-care is essential right now. (Check out these four ideas for practicing inner peace.) To build a healthy mind, body and spirit, be sure to do the following: 

  • Sleep. Get plenty of rest to strengthen your immune system.
  • Eat healthy foods. With limited food availability in some areas, opt for canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, canned soups, etc. 
  • Exercise. The temperatures are getting more comfortable, so get outdoors by walking, hiking or bike riding. 
  • Meditation. Clear the mind by breathing, sitting in silence and observing your thoughts without judgement. 
  • Self-love. Spend a few minutes each day doing something you love, such as soaking in the tub or reading a book. 

It is possible to get through this in optimal health. Be safe, decrease your chances of exposure and protect vulnerable populations. We are all in this together!