I have wanted to stay away from talking about Covid-19 because it is literally everywhere. I do not want to add to the fear posturing that a lot of social media is rampant with. But I do want to post some information that is helpful. Not focusing on the stressors that are out there, but ways to you can keep yourself and families safe and provide resources that will be helpful to you. These are flyers that our company is distributing to the neighborhood around our facility. I hope that they are helpful in this time.
Remember, that at present, the government has pushed for groups no larger than 50 people. We are seeing this change quickly to only 10 people at most and many states have already made it legally enforced to have only 10 people at most. We have seen bars and restaurants closed and only offering take away. Now we have seen our Bureau of Motor Vehicles closed in Ohio and even further to closing hair and nail salons and tattoo studios closed. We need to take the measures to keep ourselves in small groups and limit our exposure to places with mass numbers.
Also, it is important to know that wearing a mask, unless its one of the N95 masks, will not prevent you from be exposed to Corvid-19. It is only meant to prevent you from spreading it to others, if you currently are exhibiting symptoms. We also know, at least at this moment, that the virus can stay alive on cardboard for at least 24 hours and we are also seeing it survive on non-porous surfaces like steel or plastic for three days. These numbers are not definite and only what we have seen so far.
Lastly, we need to be able to look at this from a distance perspective. In the immediate, it does seem huge and intimidating. Things that are going on are causing us to stress more about what possibilities are out there. We are seeing shortages in grocery stores of necessities because people are in hoarding mindsets. Remember that we need to not rush and buy even speck of what might be needed to get through this. We need to also think of our fellow people, those who may need some of the things we are panic buying. Take a minute to think about others and if you need to buy seven cases of toilet paper and not leave any for our older citizens or families. Rushing out and buying everything out of some fear of it not being there later is premature. So, what can you do to help you stop panicking? Let’s take a look.
Breathing is essential. That sounds like a given, but there are plenty of studies that show that breathing and thoughts are connected. As you become more panicked, you start taking shallower breathes more quickly. This raises or heart rate and our stress level, instead focus on your breathing a bit more. Breathe deep into your stomach slowly and releasing slowly. Do this for about 4 to 6 times to help getting you to relax a little.
Another is what is called storytelling mindsets. This is where you will start to string thoughts together that seem to be connected and start to falsely become categorized as a fact. Chances are the events are unrelated and not connected. An example is this, “The last time I ate dinner at that restaurant, I got a stomachache. It is possible they don’t use proper handwashing techniques. I need to avoid that restaurant now more than ever.” Remember to separate fact from fiction. Don’t jump to conclusions because they seem related.
Become aware of rapid-fire questions. These are those questions that start rattling off in your head when panic is close. What if I must travel somewhere for work? What if the person next to me has the virus, because they are sniffling? Should I cancel my flight? Will I be able to get a refund? When you start to drift into this line of thought, take a moment to be aware of them and what is driving them. Slowing down to focus on one or two will help make you feel a bit more safe. Check the protocols for your job or if you need call the airline about possible connection changes. Being mindful of your thoughts will help you stay a bit more focused in the present.
Limit the amount of time you talk about the current situation. Unplug from media after a specific time, make sure that your family only talks about it at a specific time of the day then focus on being present with them and redirected to conversations to other things. If its at work and someone starts talking about the current situation, ask yourself if this is a needed thing for you. If not, step away and focus on your job instead. Also ask yourself how you may be able to support the people talking about it and yourself.
Be selective about where you get your news from, I cannot stress this enough. Make sure it is from trusted sources. CDC, state governments, trusted newspapers. Do not focus on what you hear on social media, this will only keep you in a frenzied state.
You can also look at other things like mediating and journaling. Journaling gives you the ability to write down all that is stressing you out and get it out of your system. Then you can feel like you can close the book on that line of thought and move on with productive and supportive options. Meditating allows us to focus on our breather and separate ourselves from being bombarded by all these events. The focus on breathing will help keep our panic breathing limited. Add exercising to this as well. It will release endorphins into your system and help fight the nervous tension you may be feeling.
Above all, try to look at the long play of this. We will get through it and be stronger for it. It seems dark now, but we will survive. If we take the needed precautions and be proactive, we will ensure that more people are not infected. The most important is to not focus on it all the time. It will burn you out and only create more paranoia for you to deal with. Trust me, this is from experience. We all need to take a step back from things and focus on what we can change and effect. That is the most important mindset to have. Be safe out there.