Last week the World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic. The virus has infected approximately 413,000 people globally, greatly affecting financial markets, local economies, and home life.
The spread of this pandemic has resulted in over 18,000 deaths worldwide, with numbers exponentially increasing.
There is still time to change the course of Covid-19. Many are taking the initiative to constantly wash their hands, stockpile essential materials, and practice social distancing.
Dr. Harriet Lerner, a psychologist and author, has offered a few suggestions on how we can live as positively as we can in this time of global crisis.
Lerner suggests avoiding unregulated online news sources and relying on only depoliticized sources.
“My advice for coping,” she says, “is the same for all the scary events and possibilities that life brings: Go for the facts — even difficult ones — because anxiety escalates and fantasies flourish in the absence of information.” But don’t overdo it, as too much information can aggravate stress.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Reach out to your friends and family to hear what they have to say about the steps to take in this situation. Many have experienced different challenges than what you have overcome. Advice from others can be a valuable aid to your own comfort and safety.
Now is the time to turn toward each other.
“We are here to help each other out, so avoid being a do-it-yourselfer when you’re not qualified. You may choose not to follow the advice you seek, but it’s essential to have other perspectives” suggests Dr. Lerner.
Prepare based on your own comfort.
If you are feeling anxious about the fear of everything disappearing from the markets, it may be calming to get a couple of extra weeks’ supply of food or medication. Do what makes you the most comfortable and sure of your well being.
“Passivity and inaction will make fear grow,” says Dr. Lerner.
Connect, connect, connect.
Though social distancing and quarantine mandates may require us to stay in our homes, this does not mean we have to isolate ourselves completely from the outside world.
Many have the ability to converse with loved ones and friends on social media platforms. This can be a vital part of keeping sane while in such an isolated environment.
“It’s essential to stay connected to friends, neighbors, your adult children, anyone who matters to you. Especially those who induce a sense of calm rather than chaos. People need to hear your voice — and vice versa,” says Dr. Lerner.
Stay positive about what you are doing and don’t let any negative thoughts keep you from enjoying the sunshine through your window each day. Preparing positive affirmations can bring a great boost to our confidence and mood.
Even keeping a journal about the good things that happen each day, no matter how small, can make something negative into something appreciated.
“Slow down, engage in healthy practices and try to sustain regular routines that bring comfort and stability. Therapy, conversation, exercise, yoga, meditation, and religious and spiritual practices are good starting points,” suggests Dr. Lerner.
Don’t let fear and anxiety become pandemics, too.
During times as stressful as these, it can be important to manage our own anxiety and support others as well.
“We should not let fear lead us into isolation or stop us from acting with clarity, compassion, and courage. Terrible things happen, but it is still possible to move forward with love and hope,” says Dr. Lerner.
These are five things you can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus:
Wash your hands for 20 minutes, regularly.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Limit how much time you spend out in public or around others.
Sanitize all common use surfaces with disinfectant wipes or spray.
Cover your sneeze or cough