The spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. is creating a new age of anxiety and it’s no surprise. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all K-12 school buildings closed to students beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through Sunday, April 5, 2020. There is also a ban on all large gatherings and events over 250 people amid the coronavirus outbreak. This difficult decision has been made as a preventative measure, to keep exposure to the virus at a minimum.
It is “OK” to have a moment of panic, as this impacts most every person who lives in Michigan in one way or another. This anxiety can push some people to jump to a “worst case scenario”. Ironically, feeling stressed like this not only feels bad, but increases the risk for becoming or feeling ill.
This can be offset, as to encourage and empower a person, a family and a community to take positive action and move in a direction to take adequate and reasonable precautions.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Take a media break. Don’t immerse yourself in news about the coronavirus 24/7. Stop scouring social media and the internet for the latest twists and turns. Stay up to date using trusted sources, like the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, then step away.
- Acknowledge that you may be anxious and/or worried. It is normal to be concerned about the challenges you are facing. As opposed to catastrophizing, write down the things you find yourself thinking about and reflect on them. Challenge your own thinking, and to move it to a place that is balanced and reasonable. Be mindful that your attitude can and will rub off on your children. When you make choices, as a family, everyone wins.
- Check in and communicate with loved ones. Email, Skype or send a homemade card via snail mail to a grandparent, college student or other extended family member.
- Embrace being able to stay home. Finish a project at home you always think about getting done, but never do. Clean out that “catch all” drawer in the kitchen or re-arrange your linen closet. You may be pleasantly surprised how short a time it takes, plus the instant gratification you feel from seeing orderliness coming out of chaos.
As a family, play Uno, Go Fish, Scrabble, build Legos or read books. Teach your kids to sew on a button or tie their shoe. Allow your children to give you clothes they do not wear anymore to donate. You may be surprised how generous they may be.
- Go for a walk or bike ride outside. Fresh air is great for so many reasons! When was the last time you did this as a family? This can soothe your mind, lower blood pressure and help active kids. Enjoy a little sunshine and soothe your soul.
- Take sensible steps and use self-care. Eat as healthy as you can, even though there has been a run at the grocery store for supplies. Practice good hygiene and remember that soap and water while washing your hands is as effective, if not more so, than using hand sanitizer. Ready.gov is a good resource for more information.
Hopefully, this time of disruption will pass and life will return as we knew it. Be prepared in the best of ways and take care of yourself and those you love.