I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that our world has been turned upside-down in the recent weeks. As a new virus spreads across nations we are adapting to new restrictions, new rules, and being isolated from others. We have learned from previous pandemics that there are several tactics that will help you survive.
Don’t be in Denial
Denial can be deadly. Pretending that you aren’t at risk can lead to your demise in situations like this. From the government level to an individual level it is imperative to acknowledge what is truly going on. We are in danger. You are able to contract this virus. You do need to be mindful of what you touch, who you see, and what you come in to contact with. It’s easy to believe “I’m too young to be at risk,” or “this will never happen to me.” These assumptions are not only false but can also cause you to be less careful and ultimately lead to you getting sick.
Pay Attention to False Information
With the news, social media, and almost everyone having access to a device there will be an abundance of information on the issue at hand. Not everyone is an expert. Not everyone is telling the truth. It is important to be aware of where you are receiving your information. Can it be trusted? Can you really rely on these so-called facts? Just because you read it on Facebook does not necessarily mean it is true.
Before you get stressed, anxious, or weary you should take your source into consideration. In addition, even if you do trust the source, the information still might not be accurate. During a pandemic officials are constantly getting new information from ongoing research being conducted. What you hear on day one might be true at that time, however as more information is gathered that same information could be proven to be false on day two. Again, just because you hear it doesn’t mean it is fact.
Follow Facts, Not Fear
In a time like this it is so easy to get wrapped up in your own fears. You tune in to the news at 6 pm, you check your Facebook newsfeed at 7 pm. By 8 pm you’re stressing over how much toilet paper you have in the cabinet. This is not going to do anyone any good. If you listen to the facts and the up to date information and only focus on that you will limit your exposure to fear-based information. Anyone can express their thoughts and opinions. This does not mean it is accurate.
Letting your fears overtake you will only make things more difficult and more stressful in the long run. Needing 37 rolls of toilet paper to be safe from a virus is not a fact. It is fear. I know it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other. This is why it’s helpful to ask yourself where the information is coming from and if it is a fact or an opinion. Take a break from the information if you need. Limit yourself to watching the news a certain amount of times in a day. Obsessing over the media will only increase these fears.
Engage in the Community – Virtually
Even if you’re socially distancing, which I really hope you are, does not mean you have to isolate yourself. There are a number of ways to stay part of your community during this time. It’s important to stay connected to others during a pandemic. Is there a way you can volunteer to help others? Can you partake in a social distancing event? Many neighborhoods around the US are organizing various activities for children who are out of school.
Here are some examples. In many neighborhoods people are encouraged to place a teddy bear in their window so children can walk to neighborhood streets and go on a “bear hunt.” Neighborhoods in Austin, Texas are using a color system to alert each other if they are in need of help. Placing a green piece of paper in your front window means you have the necessities and are not in need. A red piece of paper in the front window means you are in need and have no way to get it. People are coming together as neighbors to help and assist each other.
Another idea to stay connected, if you don’t feel as comfortable engaging with your neighbors in those ways, is to connect via Face time, Skype, or another video platform. “Seeing” the friendly faces of your loved ones can boost your mood as well. You might want to invest in some sort of gaming platform so you can virtually meet your friends or family to play a game together online. You should also be sure you are checking in with your family and loved ones as well. It is not only helpful if they are struggling or sick but it also helps to form a bond during these difficult and stressful times.
We know how difficult it is right now. We know you are probably overwhelmed. Be sure you are focusing on the facts, (virtually) engaging with your community, acknowledging the essential information, and ignoring fear tactics. Partaking in these strategies will help you as you navigate this new world we currently find ourselves in.