“I hope you are doing well”
Nowadays, that seems like a loaded question.
I hope that everyone is doing as well as they can be in the face of this international pandemic.
We have over 120,00 cases of coronavirus in New York State, and collectively in the United States we have more cases than any other country.
Many of us have been furloughed, laid off, fired and released from our places of duty without knowing if these businesses will ever re-open. And many of us on the front lines are going to work each and every day, despite our fears for ourselves, our family – we’re just doing what we do everyday.
Many of us are homeschooling, or attempting, to homeschool our kids. Some of us are dealing with a full house which was once an empty nest. Many of us are dealing with challenges too numerous to count. And I think it’s safe to say that many of us are dealing with the upheaval of our daily lives.
When you’re dealing with something like that – a high level of uncertainty, not knowing what’s going on – it can bring on a lot of anxiety and fear. You begin to feel powerless and defeated.
There are steps you can take to bring back some normalcy and sanity to your life.
First and foremost – knowledge is power.
Knowing how this virus spreads and knowing the modes of transition are key. We first heard that it was aerosoli, so coughing into your sleeve and covering your cough is what we were taught to do. But now we know that this virus is airborne and it can be airborne for several hours. We also know that the virus can last on multiple surfaces for periods of time. It lasts on stainless steel for 72 hours, on glass for 96 hours, on plastic for 72 hours, and on cardboard for 24 hours.
It’s important now that you wear a face mask when you go outside. Make sure you refrain from touching your nose, your eyes, your mouth – anything with mucus membranes.
Wash those hands before and after you touch objects, and make sure you’re washing for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Make sure you’re wiping down surfaces and disinfecting high traffic areas. Make sure you’re staying away from people at least 6 feet – studies are even showing now that we may need more than 6 feet. Make sure you’re staying away from people who are visibly sick, because we don’t even know who’s asymptomatic and who’s not.
Second – take a breath.
Take a DEEP breath. This too shall pass. Realize that this will end.
Third – utilize this time to your advantage.
Many of us now have more hours in the day to fill than we ever have before. Use this time to do something constructive.
If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck and patiently awaiting that stimulus check, take this time to sit down with your family and have that honest discussion. Make those tough decisions, create a budget, and promise yourselves that you’ll never go through this again.
Check on those car insurance rates, home insurance, phone bill, cable and utilities. See if you can negotiate a better rate, or better yet, a deferral at this time.
Call that friend you’ve been meaning to call for the past 20 years. Take some time to check in with long distance relatives. Teach your grandparents and parents how to use Skype. Maybe set up a Facebook account. Take the time to stay connected. It’s great for your mental health.
Tackle some home projects, like going through your closet. Donate those clothes that don’t fit you anymore. Or better yet, use this time to exercise and try and fit back into those clothes. Clean out that junk drawer that all of us have. Take on those stacks and stacks of paper in your office. Go through your kitchen cabinets and throw out expired food and spices.
Set aside some time to finally read that book you’ve always been wanting to read. Car wash closed? Wash the car with your kids on a nice day. Play some games! Like Pictionary, or get a spades tournament going. Make the meals that you’ve never had the time to make before.
Now is the time to make your new normal. If you’re used to getting up every single day and doing something and suddenly you can’t do it anymore, that’s when depression sets in. The most important thing is to create a new normal for yourself.
Take this and find a silver lining – a blessing in disguise. Turn this catastrophe around. When this does end, you will emerge stronger, healthier, and smarter. You’ll be fiscally and physically fit, spiritually grounded, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running right away.
Keep your mental and physical health in check, and you’ll keep your sanity.
This WILL end.
We need to take care of each other, and we need to take care of ourselves.
We can get through this.