By Marilyn Crawford
Since the first day I heard about Coronavirus (COVID-19), I was worried about the impact that a new virus would bring to the originating community. Now just a few months later, my worry, stress and fears fall across every corner and curve of the planet. How could one person consuming an animal that had this virus, spread this virus across the world in a matter of months? That’s what I keep asking myself over and over. You may be wondering the same thing. COVID-19 has shaken us all to our core. It has challenged us physically, mentally and in some cases spiritually. The CDC has done a great job of providing valuable information and resources that can help us all cope.
I found this particular section of the CDC article particularly helpful:
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
By knowing who may respond more strongly to the stress, we can identify those needing more support and encouragement to get through the crisis. All of us can try the CDC tips on what to do during the crisis to lower your stress and depression:
Things you can do to support yourself and encourage others to also do:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
My hope is by Memorial Day, COVID-19 will have peaked and the world will be starting to experience some relief from the impact of the virus. However, it will take some time before it is a distant memory. This has been one event for the history books. The things we will learn from this experience will be critical to our response to other health and safety threats we encounter in the future. There will be great sadness from the loss of life, but there will also be stories of compassion, love, sacrifice and kindness. The crisis will cause us all to find new ways to practice more effective healthcare, of efficiently doing business and for governments to respond more appropriately. Ultimately through compassion from strangers, neighbor helping neighbor, and countries supporting each other, COVID-19 cannot break us; it might even bring us all closer together.