Many of you have already heard experts remind you of the importance of infection control measures like hand-washing and social distancing. And I agree that these are very important. But, what I’m not hearing many experts talk about is what it’s like to be well during pandemic events…to stay safe, and sane…healthy, and happy.
We all know that wellness involves more than just absence of disease. It’s a balance of mind, body and spirit. Today I’d like to offer my 10 ten hints for staying well during the pandemic.
#1 Stay home!
Take this opportunity to stop, slow down, take a break. It is what it is. No one can stop a pandemic. Learn to accept the disconcerting fact that you will either be working in your pajamas; or not working at all over the next several months. That sure beats becoming another case of CoV19 and adding to the overall burden of an already overtaxed healthcare system (let alone the risk of someone dying). Yes of course. You will lose money. We all will lose money. You’ll have a chance to work hard all of your entire life. Take a break for goodness sake! In the meantime, you’ll be performing what experts call “social distancing”, the most effective means of reducing infections proven during the 1918 flu pandemic.
#2 Get to know each other
In the disaster business we call this your “social network” or your “social capital”. It’s one of the most significant protective factors during any disaster, including pandemics. So, this is a very practical recommendation but, it’s also a call to your heart! Stop, slow down, take some time to talk to your parents, your kids, your loved ones, your friends. Take some time to reconnect, rekindle, remember and renew those bonds that connect you. Talk about how you are doing, how they are doing, how they feel, how you feel. You’ve been given this moment in time to reflect, to relearn and to renew. Learn more about the ones you love.
#3 Enjoy the miracle of spring
In the past you may have not had the time to “smell the roses along the way”, as they say. And yet every year, in places where the seasons change, there is a renewal and rebirth of green that we all know and share. Birds are returning, trees budding, new flowers and spring edibles are popping up. Take this time to get away from the crowds and enjoy the miracle of spring as it’s unaffected by any pandemic. Take a walk in the fresh air. Let your kids and pets enjoy the change in scenery. Keep in mind that, like the seasons, pandemics have a cycle. Eventually, this one will indeed end and we will all enjoy that miracle, as well.
#4 Plant a garden
This hint is somewhat associated with the previous one. While you’re outdoors enjoying the springtime, plant a garden. Tend it, nurture it, pay attention to the weather. Enjoy the fruits of your labor (which may also include fresh flowers or veggies that you’ve been missing while avoiding market gatherings). Even if you don’t have much land for a garden, plant your favorite herb or flower. You may even grow a little along with it, yourself.
#5 Learn something new
There’s a lot to learn out there about this virus. New information is coming through every day. It’s a lot to absorb all at once. Take a little time every day to learn more about what it is, what it does and how you can protect yourself and others. But I also want you to learn something new about people. Learn something new about yourself. Learn something new about someone else. Take the time to seek out, to understand, to feel and to decide those things that you may have not had the time, or the place, or the situation to resolve. Learn something new and share it with someone.
#6 Smile, dance, sing, pray, meditate, and be thankful
Take a look on your phone. There a lot of people all over the world that are suffering immensely from this disease. Many people have lost many things, perhaps too many to count. Now, close your eyes. Take a moment to recognize what you have today, for those people that you know and love. Try to find that one thing or person in your life that you know you are most grateful for having in this moment. Now, you can look back at your phone….lol!
#7 Help someone
Here’s the opportunity of a lifetime for you to show your purpose… to help others during a time of unprecedented crisis and need. To reach out and literally save the lives of vulnerable populations by protecting and preventing them from ever contracting the illness. Help someone, and help others make a difference in the lives of as many people as you can, starting with those next to you.
#8 Ask for help
As they say, “No man (or woman) is an island”. We all need help. If we’ve learned nothing else from this pandemic, we’ve at least learned that we’re all interconnected and interdependent in many ways. In order to work as a team, in order to succeed as a society, we need to understand each other’s needs. And that requires for people to speak up when they need something. So, now’s the time to speak up. Now is the time to raise a question, reach out, send a message to those around you how they and others may be able to help. Then join with them to make our way through this pandemic together.
#9 Have hope
It’s been a long, scary road to get here and where not home yet. But I can tell you that our homes will return to normal. This pandemic will, in fact, end. And when it does. We will all have a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. We will have joined together across parties and across borders to fight this common threat. We will have learned the stories of heroism from the streets of Wuhan as well as heard the songs of resilience ring from the rooftops of Asssi – joined together in a common bond of the human spirit.
#10 Love each other
Hug your parents. Hug your brothers and sisters. Hug your kids. Love your lover. Love yourself. Take this golden opportunity to take a deeper dive into your relationships. Make friends. Make love. Take time to appreciate each other and that finite number of days that we actually do share on this planet together.
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Thank you Michelle!
Thanks so much for this, Mark. I am going to print it out to share in the breakroom of the ER where I work. We are getting a bit stressed these days.
I’m glad that it’s helpful!