Self-Care During the 2020 Pandemic

 

   By now, you no doubt are at least aware of CDC recommendations for safety precautions dealing with the deadly coronavirus, so named for the corona, or halo, around each virion.  This includes social distancing, wearing a face mask, frequent 20-second hand-washing, and sheltering in place as much as possible.

   The virus is spread through respiratory droplets. The virus in droplets can last on surfaces hours to days, depending upon the material. This includes jewelry, silverware, furniture, decking, water bottles, and toilets. Since the virus is able to survive in the air up to four hours, you do not necessarily need to come into contact with another person. 

   Face masks should be worn by anyone two years and older. Under the age of two years, a face mask places the wearer in danger of suffocation. It can be noted that a face mask does not protect the wearer, but may prevent spread of the virus from the wearer to others, even when the wearer does not exhibit any of the myriad symptoms. Being symptom-free does not mean you are not infected.

   As the weather warms in the northern hemisphere, people are eager to be outside.  The temptation is to socialize. We repeatedly have been warned to do so is likely to generate a second wave of spread of the virus, which bodes worse than the first.

   In addition to the spread of the virus, other dangers lurk in some areas. Animals that ordinarily live in the wild have made their way into deserted streets in commercial areas and into residential neighborhoods. While geese may not pose much of a threat, large cats, bears, and the like are not reliable. 

   Many people are having difficulty with sheltering in place. You may be experiencing isolation, loneliness, sadness, boredom, depression, frustration, irritability, or anxiety.  Some of your symptoms may be related to uncertainty as to when you will be released or fear of loss of income.  Your sleep and eating habits may be affected.

    As is always true, perspective is everything. How you think determines your emotions and your behavior.  If your focus is on “things returning to normal,” you are setting yourself up for frustration because nothing is normal right now.  To change your emotions you must change your perspective. Traveling on a negative track will not get you to a positive destination.  Think positively.

   This time is an opportunity.  Focus on gratitude. There is so much you might do with this time. You may establish new patterns and new routines, set priorities, develop new goals, expand yourself, dive into hobbies, be creative, meditate, reconnect with family and friends. Give yourself an at-home spa day. Finish a book.  Learn a language. Redirect your energy. 

   For more individualized help, reach out.  I am conducting teletherapy as long as meeting in person is contra-indicated and not safe.

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