Self-Care Amid Our Growing Health Crisis
We've been hearing about the spread of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 since January. It wasn't until the second week of March until things went into crisis mode where I live. But the toilet paper and disinfectant shortage started long before. I took this picture on March 14th, which was after weeks of finding the shelves bare each time I went shopping for toilet paper and disinfectant. I was late in the game.
A pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. We've had other pandemics in recent years, H1N1 "Swine Flu", Ebola, and the Zika virus. But none like the Coronavirus, where the loss of life is staggering, my heart hurts for all the families who've lost loved ones. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2020/03/16/see-how-coronavirus-compares-to-other-pandemics-through-history/#3ec5483f7d1e
Our new normal is online. Although I've been a criminal defense attorney for over twenty years, I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism which has given me the habit of watching a lot of news morning and night. First we were told groups could not be larger than 250, then 50, then the number went down to 10 people. Somewhere along the way we learned the concept of "social distancing" and then we got the order - everyone just stay home.
So how do you take care of yourself when all around you there are things and situations that are stress inducing? Many of you are home-schooling, lots of you are now out of work, others are health care workers, first responders, or in the food industry, or other essential workers putting your lives on the line everyday - Thank You and Bless You! You are appreciated.
There are others who had weddings and other celebrations planned, who are giving birth, and losing loved ones, but the Coronavirus is preventing you from having or attending these monumental moments you so desperately want. As heartbreaking, painful, and frustrating as it is, please know you will make it through this.
Self-care is more important than ever. You must make yourself a priority although it is likely challenging when you are homeschooling your children. If you can get a full afternoon, take it. But take 30 minutes if that's all you can get, go to a quiet place.
Once you get to your quiet place, this is your time to do what you want. Take a nap, listen to some music, have a dance party, take a shower or a bath, call a friend, scream at the top of your lungs, have a glass of wine, have a meal in peace, read a book, watch an episode of your favorite show, read the bible, pray, or do nothing at all, the time is yours to do as you please.
Your self-care also requires a check-in with your mindset. How are you doing? I know I've been feeling out of sorts myself. Although I am an extrovert I am quite enjoying working from home and being in the house with my family. However, I'm starting to feel anxiety about our nation's health crisis with the extensive loss of life and what the future holds.
In order to keep a semblance of a routine and normalcy, every morning I make sure I go for at least a 30 minute walk before I begin my work day. The walk serves a multi-purpose, I use it to clear my head, get some Vitamin D, and some exercise. But even the walk causes a little anxiety, because during the walk I wear a mask, actually a bandana around my neck which I quickly use to cover my face. I found walking with a mask was hard to breathe when I was walking for exercise. Due to social distancing I cross the street when I see someone in the distance on the walking trail. But if there's someone across the street already, then I have to walk in the grass to comply with social distancing to avoid the close contact with the person on the walking trail. Bottom line, a walk in the neighborhood has now turned into an obstacle course to avoid people. Also while walking in the wet grass I have to watch out for dog poop and ant hills, all while dodging the ongoing sprinklers. It's all a little irritating. So I just turn it into an old school video game in my head. I pretend I'm playing live action versions of Pacman or Frogger, and think of all the steps I'm getting on my Fitbit. All in all I'm very grateful because I still have a job and I'm able to work from home, these things are minor irritants.
Limit Media Coverage
Self-care during this time may involve limiting your exposure to the constant media coverage of the Coronavirus. Keep up to date, but limit extensive exposure to all the coverage. Constant bombardment of the numbers of those infected by the virus, and the rising loss of life can be stress inducing.
Now may be a good time to start a journal, or pick up journaling again if you stopped. Getting any thoughts, concerns, or worries out your head and into a journal may help you release them and move past them.