by Aimée Keller
In this time of turmoil, staying calm and sane is one of the best resources we have; and one of the most challenging.
We are living through a completely new experience for modern humans. With all of our modern medicine and sanitation, we have not ever been faced with a globally destructive pathogen. With the novel coronavirus that has all changed. We are now watching history unfold.
The family of coronaviruses have been working for years to become virulent in humans. This is why SARS coronavirus was such a concern. Nature has been working towards this moment. It is our job to get through it as safely as we can.
While this may be beyond frightening, there is a lot we can each do to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe. This post will focus on what we can each do, on the power we each have to get through this the best we can.
First – Remember
Remember that we do live in the modern world, with all of modern medicine, communication, and sanitation on our side. Remember that there are countless scientists working as we speak to create a vaccine and treatments for covid-19. Remember that, while novel coronavirus is a bigger threat than we have encountered in modern times, our immune systems were also designed to protect us and to adapt.
Limiting human contact is the single most effective course of action we have. There is evidence to suggest that the virus that causes novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has already mutated, and that the stronger of the mutations was largely contained through effective quarantine practices.
Stay In, Stay In, Stay In
If you are sick, please do not do the virus’ bidding. It is the entire goal of viruses to replicate and spread as far and as fast as possible. So, please, if you are sick (even if you feel that you might be sick), do not go out in public and share those little virus babies with your community.
Practice Mindful Sanitation
In this time of hand sanitizer shortages, it is important to remember that good old-fashioned soap and water is a wonderfully effective method of stopping the virus from spreading.
For a good on-the-go solution, isopropyl alcohol at concentrations above 60% is also an effective virus killer. Put some in a spray bottle and you can use it on your hands and on surfaces as needed.
Getting out of the house, getting fresh air and exercise are all good practices in the best of times. During times of stress and uncertainty taking walks can give us much needed boost of calm, as well as boosting our immune systems.
Additionally, talking to your neighbors, from a safe distance, can be deeply calming and life-affirming. A bit of human contact and a shared smile can help to remind us that, in some ways, things are okay.
Since modern humans have not before seen a new virus that spreads as effectively as covid-19, we are in uncharted territories and there are frightening theories being thrown around like baseballs during little league practice. These theories are sometimes helpful for our safety. The idea that covid-19 may live on surfaces for longer than we first thought helps us to be more cautious. After you wash your hands, use that paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door in public restrooms. And if you already do this, you are vindicated after all these years.
Other theories can cause harm, either by inciting panic or by leading us into harm’s way. Telling people that breathing in sauna air will kill the virus is not only incorrect, it could be harmful. While saunas offer excellent health benefits, if used in excess or incorrectly, they can substantially dehydrate the body, leaving us more vulnerable to any virus.
Not listening to everyone’s theories and ideas is an important piece of staying sane and smart; and we all need to be sane and smart right now.
Listening to experts and arming ourselves with accurate and useful information is an excellent tool to maintain peace of mind and combat hysteria.
And last but definitely not least…
Have a Backup Communication Method
One final tip for now… There will be times when our communication networks get overwhelmed, so it is wise to have backups. I have Mom set up with and trained on Google Hangouts as our backup. I also have some Skype minutes set aside for emergency calls. WhatsApp and FaceTime are also options.
As frightening as all of this is, there is so much we can each do to keep ourselves safe and to foster calm in ourselves and in our communities.
Live Science, How fast can the coronavirus mutate?
NIH, Alcohol Sanitizer
CDC, Coronavirus: Clean & Disinfect
Popular Science, Why sanitizer works, but hand washing works better
TEDx, Alanna Shaikh, Coronavirus is Our Future.
WorldOMeter, Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreak.