With the spread of both accuracy, misinformation and sensationalization of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, most people find themselves in a position of extreme anxiety while trying to remain hopeful that this crisis will soon pass. With a restless body of people, growing discomfort and confinement pressed upon us, here are six ways you can stay safe and informed while still living a healthy and best-you-yet lifestyle.
1. Turn the TV Off (at least sometimes)
While it’s important to get daily updates on what’s going on in the world, the keyword here is daily, NOT hourly. Keep yourself informed but try not to focus on the pandemic. What we focus on expands in our minds, consuming both mental space and energy. It’s important to remember that perspective and outlook define our experiences and influence our emotions. Constant media coverage can be draining. So, turn off the TV and mute those highly opinionated posts from social media outlets. What is essential in getting us through this time is facts, not fearful opinions.
[Read Related: The Emotional First-Aid Kit: 6 Ways to Manage Anxiety During the Coronavirus Pandemic]
2. Pick a Knowledgeable Source
Be careful about surfing the internet for information. While there’s a lot of valuable information on the web, there’s an overabundance of content circling from commentators, non-medical professionals, and even internet trolls, who feel the need to chime in and quite frankly add to the hysteria and misinformation parade.
While news networks are our go-to for information, even they can have commentators who speculate instead of offering facts. In their effort to provide shock value and gain ratings, it can be at the expense of quality. We need to be aware of the difference between useful information versus harping negative information. Being proactive, not reactive, is key.
Two credible sources for taking preventative measures are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. What makes them reliable? The CDC is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and derives information directly from research and medical experts. Their goal is to serve the public free of any journalistic tone or opinion. WHO, similarly provides extensive global health information backed by credible medical expertise. The organization’s goal is to combat worldwide communicable diseases such as HIV and the most recent COVID-19 viral outbreak. In light of the outbreak, WHO has even created an app to provide credible answers to questions concerning COVID-19. Additionally, check out their homemade hand sanitizer recipe here.
3. #SocialSeparation = Personal Progress Not Chaos
While working from home we need to remember to take the time off to also focus on ourselves. Plan fun at-home family activities, catch up with old friends via phone and video chats, organize that closet you always say you will, download a new app and finally start learning a new language, and utilize this time to do the things you usually don’t have time to. Choose to spend your time doing something that allows you to progress in some aspect of your life. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of self-care during this time. Meditate, try online yoga, or indulge in beauty routines. Check out Brown Girl Magazine’s at-home DIY face mask.
Here is a little life lesson, using this simple math equation: 2 – 2 = 0. Only something of equal value can cancel each other out. Feelings of anxiety or fear can only be canceled out by equally intense feelings. Achieving goals, feeling great and being productive create a sense of gratification, confidence, and contentment, which are all feelings that contribute to happiness and a sense of inner peace.
4. Dialing Back Fear and Pandemonium
Part of defeating fear is eradicating ignorance through knowledge. While positive psychology works for many, some of us need more than just a pause on social media. Mental tool-building and self-care are imperative in staying grounded during triggering, emotional and even chaotic times. Sometimes talking to relatives and friends about our tribulations just doesn’t cut it. Take heed, you’re not alone. Talkspace and Psychology Today offer a slew of online counselors that are affordable and can work with you, serving as an ear and/or support system.
5. Defeating Boredom
While social separation is safe, it limits the fun interactions with the outside world. So, stop for a second, and remember that spring has sprung! The weather is warmer and so many of us have some time off. May I remind you, this is the same time off we complain about not having while we’re working. Use it wisely. Here are some uber-cool activities and experiences you can have right at home.
Virtual Tour: U.S. National Park Service is offering virtual tours of the magnificent Yellowstone National Park. Go on an outdoor adventure from the comfort of your own home. Yellowstone is one of the US top-rated national parks offering a host of scenic views.
New York Public Library: The NYPL offers over 300,000 free downloadable e-books. For those of us who don’t feel like ordering that book off Amazon, take your pick!
Tour the Palace of Versailles: According to Vogue France, The Palace of Versailles is now offering free virtual tours. This includes 22,000 pieces of fine art amongst many other notable options.
For Parents: Actor Josh Gad, who plays the voice of “Frozen’s” Olaf is offering a free 20-minute storytime for children in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. We recommend: “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “Olivia Goes to Venice.”
6. History and Hope
Pandemic Trends: Build-up, Climax, and Decline
Are we going to get through this? If you’ve researched pandemics since the start of this particular spread, you’ll notice a trend most have in common. They all occur at a specified period and many have a specified year of decline. What does this mean? In plain English, we’ll get through this.
Self-quarantine, public cooperation, accurate information, and advanced medical technology are on our side. We live in a day and age where we have the tools to give us better outcomes than our previous generations. While we are in a build-up and slowing-the-climax-phase of the pandemic, it’s important to remember we are also on our way to the decline phase.
How high the climax reaches is dependent on how we work together cooperatively as a society. Nonetheless, remember pandemics have a decline phase.
A Story of Survival
While media outlets frequently talk about the climbing death toll, I think it’s just as important to remember many people have survived the virus and will. Read about survivor Elizabeth Schneider and her experience with COVID-19.
And bear in mind that many are able to recover and fewer people will get sick if we can limit the spread:
As worried as the population should be and doctors say you should be doing everything you can to protect yourself, data shows that 98 percent of those who have contracted the disease have survived – in fact, 80 percent of people who have gotten sick have had such mild cases and never saw a doctor for it,” according to a report.